Pivac continues Guinness PRO14 coaching conveyor belt to international game

Charlie Talbot-Smith
10 July 2018

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Monday’s announcement that Wayne Pivac is to take charge of Wales after the 2019 Rugby World Cup is another feather in the cap for the Guinness PRO14.

The league has produced a multitude of coaches that have cut their teeth at this level and proven their worth for the international stage.

Go back in time and of course the likes of Andy Robinson – who went from Edinburgh to Scotland – and Declan Kidney – who went from Munster to Ireland – have made the jump.

But with Pivac – who has led the Scarlets to consecutive Guinness PRO14 finals and one title – the latest to make the step up there are now a number of current international coaches from the league.

Joe Schmidt

Schmidt has led Ireland to a Grand Slam, a Test series win in Australia and the No.2 position in the world rankings.

But the Kiwi first made his name on the Emerald Isle in his spell from 2010-2013 in charge of Leinster.

During his time at the helm of the boys in blue, Leinster enjoyed an unparalleled run of success.

They reached six finals, won four trophies and did it all with a swashbuckling style that charmed neutrals and partisans alike.

Gregor Townsend

Now the Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend’s first serious foray into coaching came with the Glasgow Warriors.

And he proved his mettle by leading a Warriors side to the promised land of a Guinness PRO14 final after years of coming so close.

After season upon season of semi-final disappointment that spanned both Sean Lineen and Townsend’s time in charge – the latter took over in 2012 – they broke through in 2015.

And that led to their first-ever title as Leone Nakarawa inspired them to victory over Munster in the final.

Fast forward to 2017 and while the Warriors were to miss the play-offs, they did make a first European quarter-final in 19 years to continue their upward curve and prepare Townsend for international coaching.

Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus was only at Munster for a year and a half, but he made an incredible impact in his time at the helm.

The South African turned a province that were resting on former glories into a European heavyweight all over again.

And while he didn’t claim any silverware for the team, they made the Guinness PRO14 final and a European semi-final in his first season in charge.

For his immediate influence at Thomond Park, Erasmus was named coach of the season at the end of year awards.

And it was not long before the Springboks, looking to re-build after the disappointment of Allister Coetzee’s reign, came calling and charged Erasmus with preparing their journey to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and beyond.

Danny Wilson

Few people know the Welsh regions better than Danny Wilson – he has after all coached at three of them.

After spells as forwards coach at both Newport Gwent Dragons and Scarlets, Wilson impressed in his role in charge of the Wales Under-20s team.

But it is as the boss at Cardiff Blues since 2015 that the man who also enjoyed a spell at Bristol has earned his step up to international rugby.

Wilson will now become forwards coach for Scotland under Townsend and it will be with a spring in his step after a fine final season in charge in the Welsh capital.

The Blues ended the season as the in-form team in Wales, returning to the European Champions Cup for the first time in four season and claiming the European Challenge Cup title in Bilbao.

And all that meant that Wilson, who had originally intended to commit to Wasps next season, turned heads north of the border and will link up with Scotland next season.

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