Three Kiwis on Wales' shortlist to replace Gatland
Wales will announce Warren Gatland's successor in the summer - more than a year before the new head coach takes up the position. The Welsh Rugby Union has drawn up a shortlist of three candidates to take over from the 54-year-old, who has been in place for 10 years and will help choose his successor.
The early announcement is designed to ensure the union's preferred candidate is not tempted by other offers.
"We are targeting the summer to make the appointment," said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips. "We have drawn up a shortlist and we have had conversations with one or two others and will be staying in touch with them. The game tends to work in cycles between World Cups, which means people will be available in the summer of 2019. If I was the new coach, I would want to sit down with Warren and find out what things are like."
The shortlist is believed to consist of three of Gatland's New Zealander compatriots: Glasgow's Dave Rennie, the Scarlets' Wayne Pivac and Chris Boyd, who won a Super Rugby title with the Hurricanes. Only Pivac, who was part of Fiji's management team when they beat Wales in the 2007 World Cup, has international experience.
"That is not one of the top criteria," Phillips said. "Having watched Warren on the Lions tour to New Zealand last summer, we want someone who can make really tough calls in selection. We do not have a thing that he needs to be Welsh."
WRU chairman Gareth Davies said Gatland would become involved in the process to choose his successor now that the shortlist had been decided. "We have met a dozen guys over the last 12 months, having fireside chats to find out what they are like as people as well as the rugby element, and have got to the position where three tick the boxes," he said. "They are aware they will be going to the next stage and they will all be available should they be offered the job.
"The chief criterion for me is someone who is successful and has won something. He will have to work closely with our four regions, and all three have bought into that: if any of them had said they saw themselves only as the head coach of the national side, they would not have made the shortlist.
"We want to involve Warren in the process moving ahead because he understands the modern requirements of a coach, being one of the best in the world. Whether the new coach will have a role in the 2019 World Cup will be considered but it would be down to Warren. We are moving quickly because top coaches tend to work in four-year cycles and none of the three would have to break a contract."
Coming Soon: Independent.ie's new GAA newsletter. Sign up here
Sunday Indo Sport