Updated: Nov 19, 2020
It's been a turbulent month for Welsh Rugby with poor results on the field and a lot of departures off of it. We have repeatedly said here that it's a time of transition from one long, over-arching tenure to a new era for Welsh Rugby; that takes time, not just a couple games in a muddied and prolonged Six Nations. However, the speculation and discussion doesn't start from nothing, there has been plenty of fuel heaped onto the Welsh bonfire over the last month with 5 members of staff leaving in just 24 days.
The biggest name on the departure list was none other than Byron Hayward, who left with immediate effect this week due to mutual consent. Being the defence coach to follow Shaun Edwards is no mean feat, after all, Shaun is the best in the world at what he does and he's proven that immediately at the French setup. But it's fair to say that Byron didn't plug the hole particularly efficiently this year with the typically tough and resilient side conceding buckets of points to England, France and Ireland (95 in just three games). Whether it was right to make the change this early, it's too soon to say, but it was definitely a huge factor as to why Wales fell so flat this year.
Another huge name, but perhaps less crucial to the setup, was Sam Warburton leaving his role as Technical Coach for Breakdown/Defence. Again, it's a bit difficult to call this early on as to whether Sam was doing the best job possible in that position as Wales' breakdown defence was a bit hit or miss. Even though you have the likes of Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau in that back row, Wales do miss Warburton's jackaling ability, maybe it's time to call up Thomas Young?
Ryan Jones also left his post as Performance Director after a whopping 20 years in the Welsh setup. Previously the captain of the side back in his playing days, Jones has given a lot to the Welsh Rugby community on and off the pitch in the last two decades. This will be a huge loss to what has been a largely stable national outfit for a number of years.
Chief Executive Martyn Phillips also left his post, but this was unsurprising due to him announcing that he would back in January. However with the timing being as it is, was it the right time to leave such a significant position whilst the setup is being broadcasted as 'being in turmoil'?
The last on the list is another significant figure, that being Gareth Davies, the man who has been in the Chairman spot for the last 6 years. He narrowly missed out on re-election to ex-international Rugby hero Ieuan Evans because of a three way vote by national clubs. It's a peculiar choice renouncing stability in favour of presence and inspiration, but perhaps that could be what this Welsh side needs?
It's going to be a telling performance and with the chopping and changing of key figures in the dressing room, Pivac will have to push this side to new heights in order to achieve what has now become an expectation.