Reports in the UK suggest Wayne Pivac has nudged ahead of fellow Kiwi Dave Rennie in the race to succeed Warren Gatland as next head rugby coach of Wales.

An official announcement on Gatland’s successor post next year’s World Cup in Japan is expected soon, with Pivac and Rennie thought to be the leading two contenders.

A report in the Mail on Sunday newspaper said Scarlets head coach Pivac was the “favourite” to take the top Welsh job and the national union was “understood to be at an advanced stage of the interview process and close to unveiling the Kiwi’s successor”.

The UK’s Rugby Paper and Telegraph also reported Pivac could be named new head coach as early as Monday, with former Wales international Stephen Jones, his assistant at Scarlets, said to be the other half of the favoured ticket.

nder Pivac and Jones, the Scarlets have been the leading Welsh region in recent seasons. They won the Guinness Pro crown in 2017 and made the final last season, and were also semifinalists in the European Champions Cup.

Pivac coached Auckland from 2011-14 but headed to Wales to ply his trade after he was unwanted at the higher levels in New Zealand.

Rennie, who is in charge at Glasgow, and Pivac have been widely considered the two main contenders to take over from Gatland but last month WRU chairman Gareth Davies and chief executive Martyn Phillips had said there were more than two candidates.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson had also been linked with the vacancy but quickly ruled himself out, suggesting he was happy where he was.

After over a decade as Wales coach, Gatland is said to be looking to return to New Zealand after next year’s global tournament in Japan.   

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