Kiwis on European rugby coach merry-go-round

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:24 15/07/2014
Wayne Pivac
Getty Images
EUROPE-BOUND: Rugby coach Wayne Pivac.

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New Zealander Wayne Pivac is poised to take over the top coaching job at Llanelli Scarlets as the famous Welsh club takes a ride on the coaching merry-go-round.

Pivac quit Auckland to link with the Scarlets earlier this year as assistant coach to Simon Easterby.

Easterby was now being courted by Ireland's coach, New Zealander Joe Schmidt, to come on board as the national team's forwards coach heading into next year's World Cup.

The Ireland forwards coach job became vacant when another Kiwi, John Plumtree, made a shock exit to link up with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby next year where he would assist Chris Boyd.

The Irish job would be massively tempting for former Irish skipper Easterby and the Scarlets apparently wouldn't stand in his way. That would pave the way for Pivac to land a top job in the lucrative European scene.

Pivac was vastly experienced having coached Northland, North Harbour, Auckland and Fiji, but he was never able to land a Super Rugby position to further his cause in New Zealand.

There's an ironic twist to Pivac's rise; as he prepared for a major role in Wales, the man he replaced for his latest stint at Auckland, Mark Anscombe, was ending his time at Irish club Ulster.

Anscombe, 55, guided Ulster to two Heineken Cup quarterfinals, a Pro 12 final and semifinal, but after signing a one-year extension to his contract in February he has been released early after reports of player unrest.

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss has been handed a caretaker role while Ulster sort out their long-term strategy.

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