Warren Gatland appoints new Wales attack and defense coaches

Alex King and Mike Forshaw will take on the roles vacated by the departure of Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins

Warren Gatland appoints new Wales attack and defense coaches

Warren Gatland has appointed Alex King as Wales’ attack coach and Sale Sharks’ Mike Forshaw as defense coach to complete his coaching staff ahead of the Six Nations.

Gatland’s second stint in charge begins against Ireland on 4 February in the 2023 championship with King and Forshaw joining forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys and kicking and skills coach Neil Jenkins in his backroom staff.

The New Zealander acted swiftly after replacing sacked compatriot Wayne Pivac following a disappointing Autumn Nations Series that saw Wales lose to Georgia and squander a 21-point lead against Australia. Gatland removed Stephen Jones from the attack post and moved on Gethin Jenkins who had previously taken charge of defence.

King has experience in the role having coached Wales’ attack during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour when both Gatland and then attack coach Rob Howley were on sabbatical.

Former dual-code player Forshaw has spent the best part of a decade at Sale having joined under Steve Diamond in 2013 and has helped Alex Sanderson’s side boast the meanest defense in the Premiership.

Read more: Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins part ways with Wales

Gatland said: “I’m delighted that Alex and Mike are joining the Wales coaching team.

“They both have plenty of experience as players and coaches, which will be hugely important to the development of the squad through the Guinness Six Nations and beyond. I’d like to thank Sale Sharks for their cooperation in the process and allowing Mike to take up this position with Wales.

“We have less than a month to our first Six Nations match against the number one side in the world which, as I’ve said before, is a great challenge to have first up and one that we are very excited about as a coaching group .

“Having our first match this championship at home will be very special and I’m really looking forward to getting back out at Principality Stadium in front of the best fans in rugby.”

Hear from Wales’ attack and defense coaches after their appointments

King knows Gatland well from his time as a player at Wasps and the former fly-half has also worked in the Top 14 with Clermont and Montpellier before his most recent role came at Gloucester.

“I am immensely proud to be part of the Wales coaching team again,” King said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my previous time working with the team. There are some talented players in Wales, so I am really excited by this new opportunity and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Wales new attack and defense coaches

Wales’ new attack coach Alex King (second from left in white) was at Wasps with Warren Gatland (far right, Getty Images)

Forshaw admitted he had never met Gatland before his job came up and can’t wait to get cracked. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead. I can’t wait to meet the players and start working with a really talented squad,” he said.

“I played in Cardiff in 2003 and it’s an incredible place to play rugby. I want to get these lads defending with real energy and I want them to be excited about their defensive work.

“If we can do that then I really think we can take some big steps as a team and achieve something special, because the talent is there.

“I had never met Warren before but he’s obviously one of the game’s great coaches. I spoke to him on the phone and I can’t wait to start working with him and getting to know him personally too.

“This is probably one of the only jobs that I would have left Sale for but I know that I’m leaving a club that’s going in the right direction. It’s a really special club and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve this season and beyond.”

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