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Pivac points to the future after Hayward departure

Pivac points to the future after Hayward departure

Pivac points to the future after Hayward departure

Head coach Wayne Pivac admitted Wales’ long-term prospects played a part in the decision for defence coach Byron Hayward to leave his post less than a week before the start of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Hayward joined Pivac’s coaching team in 2019 having worked with the New Zealander for five seasons at Scarlets but has departed by mutual consent off the back of a frustrating Six Nations campaign.

Four consecutive defeats in the series yielded a fifth-place finish, and Pivac explained his team’s defensive performances weren’t at the level expected of a side who had claimed the Grand Slam just a year earlier.

Breakdown and technical advisor Gethin Jenkins will step up his responsibilities ahead of Wales’ Autumn Nations Cup curtain-raiser away to Ireland on November 13, before home clashes against Georgia and England and a placing match that will determine their final position.

And though he will wait until after the Cup to name Hayward’s permanent successor, Pivac believes it was important to make the change before a new international campaign, with thoughts on laying the right foundations ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“Byron’s a friend away from the game and it was a difficult decision, but it’s a mutual agreement” the 58-year-old said. “We felt we weren’t getting what we wanted from our defence and we made a decision we weren’t heading in the right direction.

“We just felt that now was the time to make a change, obviously with the start of a new season, if you like, going into this autumn series, and looking at what was best going forward to the World Cup.

“What we need to do is make sure we get back to where we were and play a bit more rugby. We’ve got 12 training sessions to get through, Gethin will step up and take some more responsibility and it will be a collection of thoughts going into that process.”

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