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Men’s Rugby Union Shane Williams backs Wayne Pivac to take Wales to the next level

SHANE WILLIAMS has predicted an exciting era under Wayne Pivac as Wales move on from Warren Gatland’s 12-year reign.

Gatland enjoyed huge success with Wales, which  won four Six Nations titles and three Grand Slams and reached two World Cup semi-finals during his tenure.

But Williams, Wales’s all-time top try scorer and a former world rugby player of the year, believes Pivac will develop a more expansive style to build on Gatland’s success.

“Having spoken to Wayne I know he’s going to put his own stamp on it,” Williams said.

“He’s got a lot of expectation on him and big boots to fill. But that’s the personality he is.

“We’ve already seen that he’s not frightened to make big decisions.

“He’s going to blood new players and that’s what we want to see in Wales.”

For all his success, Gatland’s style of play — which was termed “Warrenball” — came in for a fair amount of criticism for being too structured and predictable.

Former Fiji coach Pivac has been lauded in Wales for the attacking approach he implemented at the Scarlets between 2014 and 2019.

“Let’s hope there’s a combination of both styles,” said Williams, who was speaking at the Pro14 media day in his capacity as a Premier Sports analyst.

“Warren’s teams won Grand Slams, even if it wasn’t pretty at times, so they’ve been doing something right.

“But they didn’t win the World Cup so they’re obviously lacking something, and I hope Wayne can fill that gap in between.

“If he can blend the two styles together — ‘Warrenball’ and ‘Pivacball’ — it could be something special.

“He’s done a great job with the Scarlets, I like the style they’ve played with.

“They’re very attacking-minded and that’s what we want in Welsh rugby.”

On the end of Gatland’s reign after a fourth-placed finish at the 2019 World Cup, Williams added: “Warren said himself that it was time for a change.

“I know the players — most of whom have only ever played under ‘Gats’ for Wales — can’t wait to see what new ideas Wayne’s going to come in with.”

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