Wales head coach Wayne Pivac . Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

Wayne Pivac Says He Took Feedback From Players Over Axed Wales Coach Byron Hayward

By Paul Jones

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has admitted that talks with players formed part of the backdrop to his decision to get rid of Byron Hayward.

Defence coach Hayward left by mutual agreement on Sunday after just a year in the job and just weeks after Sam Warburton’s decision not to continue as part of the national coaching set-up.

Addressing questions over the decision for the first time since the announcement, Pivac – who worked closely with Hayward for six years at the Scarlets and pushed hard for his appointment by the Welsh Rugby Union – admitted that the views of players had been taken, but insisted that was just part of the normal review process.

“I am continually talking to players on a daily basis as to what we do in terms of the attack, the defence, the whole lot,” said Pivac.

“We are constantly talking and reviewing. The decision in relation to Byron was one that he and I sat down and discussed, and it was a decision that I took. It was my decision, and I informed the necessary people at the appropriate time.

“It was a very hard decision. We have known each other for six and a half years now, working together for that period of time. It was a difficult conversation.

Byron Hayward worked alongside Wayne Pivac at the Scarlets. Pic: Kristian McDonald.

“We reviewed the Six Nations, as you would expect. It was a very healthy and honest conversation, and we just felt now was the time to make a change with the start of a new season, if you like, going into this new Autumn Cup series that the time was right for us to make that change.

“It was a decision that was taken by Byron and myself. We looked at what was best going forward to the World Cup in 2023, and we felt that we weren’t getting what we wanted from our defence, and so the change has been made.

“In the case of Byron, we have worked together closely and he is a friend away from the game. It’s a tough conversation, but one where we both respect each other’s views, and it was a mutual agreement that basically what we are doing is putting the team first.

“It was a very mature discussion, and that’s the result we came up with.”

Hayward joined Wayne Pivac’s coaching team in November 2019, succeeding Shaun Edwards as defence coach, but he departed “by mutual agreement” just five days before Wales’ game against Ireland in Dublin.

Gethin Jenkins. Pic: Craig Thomas/Replay Images

Wales finished fifth in this year’s Six Nations, conceding 11 tries, and are on a five-game losing run.

“We’ve got basically 12 training sessions to get through, four games of rugby, so we will manage from within the group,” added Pivac.

“Gethin Jenkins will step up and take some more responsibility with the defence. It will be a collection of thoughts going into that process.

“We will certainly be looking and seeing what is out there and what is available. With this sort of thing, a few names have come across the desk already, so that’s something we will be looking at at the end of this competition.

“What really counts from our point of view is making sure that we stay focussed on what we do on a daily basis. We need to make sure we get back to where we were, play a bit more rugby and back ourselves.”

 

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