Gatland-led Baabaas to test Wales after World Cup
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wales will take on the Barbarian for the first time since 2012 in what will be incoming head coach Wayne Pivac’s first match in charge of Wales.
Pivac, who will take over the Welsh reins following this year’s Rugby World Cup, will oversee his side for the first time in Cardiff and will be up against his predecessor in his opening match with Warren Gatland named as head coach of the Barbarians for the fixture.
Wales national men’s and women’s sides will face the Barbarians in a double-header in back-to-back matches at Principality Stadium on November 30.
Gatland, who has been at the helm of Wales for the past 12 years will leave his role following the conclusion of this year’s World Cup but will make an immediate return to the Welsh capital and the Principality Stadium for the clash.
Commenting on the occasion and his return to Principality Stadium as Barbarians head coach, Gatland said: “This is set to be a very special and hugely exciting double-header.
“It will be an honour to coach the Barbarians, they symbolize the very best of rugby tradition and are an important part of the international game and I’m hugely looking forward to being part of the Baabaas club.
“It goes without saying that this match has huge significance to me. Wales has been my home for the last 12 years and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
“We have had some great success with Wales and we are currently in a hugely important year, culminating at the Rugby World Cup.
“To have the opportunity to return to Cardiff post RWC 2019 is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to coaching the Barbarians in what I believe is the best rugby stadium in the world and against the best fans in the world!”
The fixture will kick off Pivac’s reign as Wales coach and he added: “It is fantastic this doubleheader has been announced and the day will be a great showcase for Welsh rugby.
“The Barbarians are a special side and it will be a great way to start my Wales career facing the BaaBaas and of course, Warren!
“Wales have an important five months ahead of them with the Rugby World Cup on the horizon but post that tournament, I’m looking forward to kicking off my tenure with Wales, at home in Cardiff, in what will be a really special game.
“It is an opportunity for us as coaches to get the squad together ahead of the Six Nations and it will be a great day for all the fans with two great matches on the show.”
Commenting on the fixture announcement, Barbarians chairman John Spencer added: “The Barbarians have strong ties with rugby in Wales stretching back more than a century so we’re delighted to be returning to the Principality Stadium for two matches in November.
“Warren Gatland has been a marvellous Head Coach for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, and personally he was a delight to work alongside during the 2017 tour to New Zealand. We’re honoured that he has accepted the invitation to coach the Barbarians.