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Paul Gustard's 'other opportunities' don't include Wales defence role

By Ian Cameron
Paul Gustard at work. Photo: Getty

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Former Harlequins head coach Paul Gustard – who dramatically departed the Gallagher Premiership club mid-season – had not been lined up for the Wales defence coach.


Yesterday Wales head coach Wayne Pivac confirmed that job would be offered to Gethin Jenkins.

In a statement, Harlequins said that it had ‘been mutually agreed between Paul and the club that he will leave with immediate effect to enable him to pursue other opportunities.” RugbyPass understands that the former England defence coach was told by the club that they were not going to renew his contract at the end of the season and that he didn’t leave the West London side for another role.

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Immediately after the news, rumours began to circulate around Gustard and the vacant Wales defence coach role; however Pivac has confirmed that former Wales and Cardiff prop Jenkins, who took over from Byron Hayward in the Autumn on an interim basis, is set to take up that role.

“I spoke to Gethin in the review of the autumn series and it was felt he did a good job,” said Pivac. “He would want to do it full time and he is certainly keen to do it full time. I think he’s going to be a very good defence coach.”

“We’re in a situation right now where it’s just about putting paperwork in place and making that happen. I’m very comfortable he will be the guy going forward.”

In terms of raw results, Harlequins have struggled for consistency under Gustard, who took over the reins in 2018 from John Kingston, who also departed mid-season. They finished sixth in last season’s Premiership and currently sit seventh in the table. Having lost four games on the trot, the club ultimately took the decision to part ways with Gustard sooner rather than later.


Billy Millard, General Manager of Rugby, has taken over in the meantime, supported by Jerry Flannery, Nick Evans and Adam Jones. Millard coached the Australian Sevens team for four years, had been Head Coach and Director Rugby for Sydney University, Head Coach for Melbourne Rebels, Attack and Backs Coach at Cardiff Blues and Connacht, and Backs Coach with the USA Eagles National Men’s team.


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