Warren Gatland has started preparations for the 2023 Six Nations by retaining two assistant coaches from Wayne Pivac’s backroom staff while releasing two.
Forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys and skills and kicking coach Neil Jenkins will continue their roles under Gatland while attack coach Stephen Jones and defence coach Gethin Jenkins have been released.
Humphreys and Jenkins remain
The Welsh Rugby Union confirmed on Thursday that Humphreys and Neil Jenkins would remain in their positions, as will much of the analysis, strength and conditioning and medical staff, most of which Gatland left behind in 2019.
Former Wales hooker Humphreys joined the Wales backroom staff in 2019 under Pivac after working with Ospreys and Scotland as their forwards coach. He continues that role under Gatland.
Meanwhile, Neil Jenkins continues to hold a role in the backroom staff, having initially been appointed as a Wales skills and kicking coach under Steve Hansen in 2004. He worked throughout Gatland’s first tenure between 2007 and 2019 and remained on with Pivac.
“We are delighted that both Jonathan and Neil will stay on and be a part of Warren’s new team,” said WRU CEO Steve Phillips.
Wales greats depart
Wales greats Jones and Gethin Jenkins have been released from their roles as Gatland makes way for new blood.
Jones joined Gatland’s backroom staff ahead of the World Cup in 2019, having been appointed as part of the succession plan along with Pivac. He had stints at Wasps and Scarlets, where he worked with Pivac.
Gethin Jenkins joined Pivac’s coaching staff in 2020, taking over from Sam Warburton following coaching stints at Cardiff Blues, Cardiff RFC and Wales U20.
“The very nature of a changeover at the helm of a national team brings with it the possibility for change and evolution elsewhere in the backroom staff,” Phillips said.
“I know both Stephen and Gethin understand this part of the process, and they should be commended for the good grace with which they have accepted the decision.
“We thank both sincerely for their dedicated services to Welsh rugby as senior men’s team coaches.”
The search for replacements now begins with Wales kicking off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland on February 4.