Warren Gatland appoints two new coaches to complete Wales set-up

Warren Gatland completes his Wales coaching set-up with the additions of Mike Forshaw from Sale and Alex King, as he now sets his sights on upsetting world No 1 Ireland at the Six Nations

  • Warren Gatland made a dramatic return as Wales head coach in December 
  • He has completed his coaching set-up with appointments of two coaches
  • Mike Forshaw makes the switch to Wales from high-flying Premiership side Sale
  • King had a stint as Wales attack coach in 2017 and played for Gatland at Wasps
  • Wales get their Six Nations campaign underway on February 4 against Ireland

Warren Gatland set his sights on upsetting world No 1 Ireland after completing his Wales coaching set-up for the Six Nations with the appointments of Alex King and Mike Forshaw.

Gatland made a dramatic return as Wales head coach in December to replace the sacked Wayne Pivac and immediately stamped his mark by removing Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins.

That pair have been replaced as attack coach and defence lieutenant respectively by King and Forshaw, with the latter joining from high-flying Premiership side Sale.

Warren Gatland has completed his coaching set-up with Wales ahead of the Six Nations

‘I’m delighted Alex and Mike are joining the Wales coaching team,’ said Gatland.

‘They both have plenty of experience as players and coaches which will be hugely important to the development of the squad through the Six Nations and beyond.

‘I’d like to thank Sale for their co-operation in the process and allowing Mike to take up this position with Wales.

‘We have less than a month to our first Six Nations match against the No 1 side in the world which is a great challenge to have first up and one we are very excited about as a coaching group.

‘Having our first match this Championship at home will be very special and I’m really looking forward to getting back out at Principality Stadium in front of the best fans in rugby.’

Gatland led Wales to an unprecedented period of success in his first spell in charge, winning three Six Nations grand slams between 2007 and 2019.

They have appointed Mike Forshaw and Alex King (pictured) who has played under Gatland

Forshaw (pictured) has been brought in as Wales new defensive coach from Sale

He has kept Jonathan Humphreys (forwards) and Neil Jenkins (skills) from the team he inherited from Pivac but King and Forshaw are new faces.

Gatland had wanted his former Wales assistant Rob Howley to take charge of his attack, but the move is understood to have been blocked by the Welsh Rugby Union board.

Senior WRU figures were concerned about how the appointment of Howley would have been received after he was banned for betting breaches in 2019.

Former England assistant Paul Gustard was also of interest to Gatland as a defence option, but he is under contract at Stade Francais so Forshaw is the choice.

‘I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead. I can’t wait to meet the players and start working with a really talented squad,’ said Forshaw, another defence coach with a rugby league background.

‘I want to get these lads defending with real energy and I want them to be excited about their defensive work. If we can do that then I really think we can achieve something special.

‘I had never met Warren before but he’s obviously one of the game’s great coaches.

Gatland is hoping his Welsh side can cause an upset when they play Ireland in the Six Nations

‘I can’t wait to start working with him. This is probably one of the only jobs I would have left Sale for but I know I’m leaving a club that’s going in the right direction.

‘It’s a really special club and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve this season and beyond.’

King had a previous stint as Wales attack coach in 2017 and played under Gatland at Wasps.

‘I am immensely proud to be part of the Wales coaching team again,’ King said.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed my previous time working with the squad. There are some talented players in Wales, so I am really excited by this new opportunity and can’t wait to get stuck in.’

Wales had a shocking 2022 which cost Pivac his job, but with Gatland back at the helm there is hope of a revival when they kick-off the Six Nations on February 4.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland, currently top of World Rugby’s rankings, will be Wales’ opponents in Cardiff.

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