THE Scarlets have put their faith in New Zealander Wayne Pivac as the man to take over as head coach from Simon Easterby.
The Llanelli-based region have confirmed that Pivac will be handed the reins for the coming campaign following Easterby’s decision to take up the job of forwards coach with Ireland.
Easterby is set to link up with Joe Schmidt’s Irish squad in October and will remain at Parc y Scarlets until then, but it is Pivac — originally appointed as forwards coach — who will be at the helm as the Scarlets’ first southern hemisphere head coach.
“Joining the Scarlets was an exciting challenge for me,” said the former Auckland boss.
“I am honoured that the Scarlets have the faith and belief in me to take the squad forward and build on the good work and solid foundations that Simon and his team have put in place.
“The supporters here are probably no different to back in New Zealand. They’re very passionate and love their rugby and really want the team to do well. I’m looking forward to hopefully giving them something to cheer about this season.
“There were two factors why I chose Scarlets — the fact that Simon Easterby jumped on a plane and came to New Zealand rather than a lot of talks going on for a long period of time.
“And as a young boy growing up, listening to the All Blacks play Llanelli in 1972 on the radio back home, I’ve never forgotten that moment.
“Knowing the Scarlets has a proud history, like the union I’ve come from, was important to me and coming to an area where they live and breathe rugby like home.”
Pivac boasts an impressive CV. He won three provincial titles during his time at Auckland and was named New Zealand Rugby Union’s coach of the year in 2003. He was also director of rugby of the Fijian national side.
Originally appointed forwards coach, Pivac arrived in West Wales three weeks ago, and has already brought some fresh ideas to the squad.
“Training has been fantastic so far, obviously the weather’s helped! It’s been very much like home to be honest,” he added.
“Now we’ve had three weeks with the team, the players are responding to what we’re putting in and I’m looking forward to the season starting.
“Players are itching to implement some of the new plays that we’re throwing in and we’re itching to see them do that. There are exciting times ahead.”