Warren Gatland reappointed Wales head coach as Wayne Pivac sacked

Warren Gatland was previously head coach of Wales from 2007 to 2019. Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Wales' former head coach Warren Gatland has been reappointed for the 2023 season as Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) part ways with Wayne Pivac.

WRU CEO Steve Phillips confirmed on Monday that Gatland -- who served as Wales' longest standing coach when he left in 2019 after 12 years in charge -- will take over for the 2023 Six Nations and next year's Rugby World Cup following a review of the Autumn Nations Series.

"This is one of the toughest calls to make in sport," Phillips said in a statement, "but the review process has reached its conclusion and we have acted quickly and efficiently in the very best interests of our national team.

"Ultimately we are in the results business and we have agreed with Wayne that the current trajectory for Wales is not where we want it to be and we thank him sincerely for his time, enthusiasm, diligence and effort, which is unquestioned, as head coach over the last three years.

"In Warren we are bringing in one of the very best coaches in the international game. We were sorry to see him go when he left and we are delighted that he has agreed to return. We know him well and, most importantly, he knows us well too.

"This appointment is no quick fix, nor sticking plaster, it is part of our long term planning for the game in Wales. We have been able to take swift action in difficult circumstances and that is testament to the good grace and professionalism of Wayne and the efficiency of our review process," Phillips added.

Gatland, 59, leaves his native New Zealand Super Rugby side, the Chiefs, with immediate effect. During his original tenure, he was Wales' most successful coach and oversaw four Six Nations titles and three Grand Slams between 2007 and 2019.

He said in a statement: "I'm very much looking forward to returning to coach Wales. This is an opportunity to achieve something with a talented group of players in a country so passionate about rugby. A country which made my family and I so welcome, when we first arrived 15 years ago, and all the time we were there."

"There is little time for sentiment, professional sport is all about preparation, values and results. There will be new challenges as there always is with a change in head coach, but for me the environment, the players and their families will always come first.

"We must prepare to the best of our ability in the time available. We will value and respect each other, we will work hard and, if we get this right together, performances and results will follow."

Meanwhile, departing Wayne Pivac said: "I am obviously extremely sad to stand down from the role.

"It was a speedy review process post-Autumn Nations Series as time is of the essence with the Six Nations fast approaching. Unfortunately, the results or performances this year were not all as we hoped. As a group we all take responsibility for that, but me in particular as head coach.

"We have played some really good rugby at times, but needed to do that more consistently. However, I know that there is a strong foundation for the squad to progress to great things in the future.

"I would like to thank the players, coaches, management and the WRU for their commitment, support and hard work in my time as head coach and to all the people in Wales for making me feel at home here over the past eight years."