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Assistant coach Gareth Williams to leave Wales for Scarlets

Wales' Assistant Coach Gareth Williams during the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday February 26, 2022. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Wales assistant coach Gareth Williams is set to leave Wayne Pivac’s backroom team to become the Scarlets’ new defence guru.

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Williams has been Wales’ contact area coaching specialist for the past year but looks likely to jump ship just over a year out from the Rugby World Cup in France. He has previously been Wales under 20s head coach, while Williams has also been in charge of Wales Sevens.

And the 43-year-old is close to leaving the national set-up to become Dwayne Peel’s assistant at the Scarlets subject to final approval from Wales boss Pivac. Peel will be hoping Williams can help shore up the Scarlets’ defence after the west Walians finished in 10th spot in the United Rugby Championship table, missing out on a place in next seasons Heineken Champions Cup.

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The Scarlets are one of the most potent attacking sides in the URC, scoring 65 tries, but they also conceded 73 tries, and a total of 534 points. Current defence coach, Hugh Hogan, will leave the Scarlets at the end of the season, and the Llanelli based club are close to appointing Williams. The hope is if Williams can tighten up their defence, they will become URC play-off contenders due to the amount of tries they score.

Should the deal get rubberstamped Williams will join Peel, forwards coach Ben Franks, and scrum coach Emyr Phillips as part of a revamped back-room team in Llanelli. The Scarlets may also be on the lookout for another addition to their coaching team with Dai Flanagan expected to join the Dragons to work underneath Dean Ryan, while head analyst Joe Lewis has re-joined the England set-up.

It is unclear whether Pivac will look to replace Williams in the Wales set-up given Gethin Jenkins’ speciality as a defence and contact area coach.

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Jon 1 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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