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Sam Warburton's surprise new role

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Former Lions skipper Sam Warburton has landed a surprise new role

New Wales boss Wayne Pivac has confirmed Byron Hayward and Sam Warburton will join his coaching team as defence coach and technical advisor breakdown/defence respectively.

The defensive duo join Stephen Jones, Jonathan Humphreys and Neil Jenkins on the coaching team with all five of Pivac’s assistants former Wales internationals, three of whom are former Wales captains.

Hayward returns to the WRU where he had a successful stint as Wales under-20 head coach and national academy skills coach before joining the Scarlets as defence coach in 2014. While in Llanelli, he helped the region to their first Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and to reach the PRO14 final and the Champions Cup semi-final a year later.

Warburton, who led his country more times than any other Welshman and led the British and Irish Lions on two successful tours, returns to the international game in a new capacity.  

As a technical advisor, he will bring his vast and recent international experience to the role and will work with the squad on a campaign to campaign basis.

(Continue reading below…)

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“I’m delighted to bring both Byron and Sam into the set-up and add to what is already a vastly experienced coaching team,” said Pivac. “Both individuals are highly respected, knowledgeable and experienced in their disciplines and will add a great deal to the environment.

“Byron has a great coaching CV with experience in England, the club game in Wales, the age-grade system and his five successful years with the Scarlets. Sam is one of the most experienced leaders in rugby with excellent knowledge and communication skills and having only recently retired he has a full grasp on the international game.

“We looked at the coaching structure and the roles of each coach and believed by adding a second defensive role into the team adds value, adds a point of difference and allows a specialist to work in the contact area and I believe Byron and Sam will compliment each other in the roles.”

Hayward said: “I’m very proud and can’t wait to get stuck in and work with the cream of Welsh rugby. I appreciate the privileged position I’m in and I’m looking forward to getting going with the squad and building on the good work that has been done before.  

“Wayne has put together a coaching team with a wealth of experience and knowledge and it will bring a variety on and off the field and I’m excited about what lies ahead.”

Warburton added: “I’m delighted to be part of the senior national coaching team. It is a genuine privilege to be considered for such a role and I can’t wait to do my utmost to contribute to help improve the team and players.  With such a great group of players and management, it is an amazing opportunity which I am very proud to be given.”

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Former Lions skipper Sam Warburton has landed a surprise new role