Fans thirsty for more after the Rugby World Cup in Japan will be treated to a homecoming clash which pits current head coach Warren Gatland against his successor, Wayne Pivac – with Pivac having officially picked up the Wales reins just weeks earlier.
Fresh from his RWC exploits in Japan Gatland returns to Cardiff in charge of a Barbarians side set to feature the likes of Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira and Mathieu Bastareaud, alongside a host of other World Cup talent, ably assisted by newly confirmed fellow coaches Robbie Deans and Rob Howley.
He goes head-to-head with incoming boss Pivac, as the former Scarlets supremo makes his debut at the helm, and faces an inevitably new look Wales in the second leg of a double-header clash, after the mirror fixture from the Women’s game starts proceedings.
It will be the first time Wales Women face the Barbarians and the forwards coach for the invitation team will be former Wales captain Rachel Taylor, setting up another intriguing coaching clash – between the 67-times capped flanker and her old head coach Rowland Phillips.
Despite the looming RWC challenge for Wales, which will of course be watched with studious interest, Pivac is already in planning mode for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, having took up office at the Welsh Rugby Union in July, and he can’t wait to get his hands on the team to prepare
“I’m looking forward to kicking off my tenure with Wales, at home in Cardiff, in what will be a really special game,” said Pivac.
“The Barbarians are a special side and it will be a great way to start my Wales career facing the Baa- Baas and, of course, Warren.
“It’s 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 show.”
Whatever happens in Japan, Gatland can expect a hero’s send-off in before he returns to his home town of Hamilton, where he will coach the Chiefs in the Super Rugby tournament next year before taking up the challenge of a third British & Irish Lions tour in South Africa in 2021.
“It goes without saying that this match will have huge significance to me. Wales has been my home for the last 12 years and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” said Gatland.
“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.”
A further unique move will see Welsh refereeing royalty Nigel Owens officiate a match involving his native country for the first time in his career – after receiving special dispensation from World Rugby.
Wales wing Jazz Joyce scored four tries for Barbarians Women against the USA in April, playing alongside fellow Welsh caps Elinor Snowsill and Alisha Butchers, and Joyce and Snowsill were also in the side that faced England at Twickenham in June.
“Playing the Barbarians for the first time, in a double header at Principality Stadium is a huge statement of intent for women’s rugby in Wales. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase our
game and shows how women’s rugby is moving forward,” said Wales Women head coach Rowland Phillips.
“We saw the quality of the Baa-baas’ side in their recent matches against USA and England and they will no doubt bring a formidable outfit to Cardiff in November. They have a tradition of playing an open, entertaining brand of rugby which will produce an exciting match to both watch and be part of.
“It has been a huge honour to have three current Wales players – Elinor Snowsill, Jazz Joyce and Alisha Butchers – involved in the Barbarians’ first international games. All three made an excellent contribution to the club.
“It’s also great to see two Welsh coaches involved – Liza Burgess in recent matches and now Rachel Taylor. Rachel played in the Barbarians’ first match in 2017 and is cutting her teeth in
coaching as Colwyn Bay head coach and RGC academy skills coach.”
Both matches will be shown live on television screens throughout Wales, with the women’s match kicking off at 11.45am on S4C and Channel 4 taking over broadcast coverage from Principality Stadium for the men’s game which kicks-off at 2.45pm.
“The Barbarians Womens’ team is in its infancy but it is certainly creating an identity of its own. It promises to be a fantastic occasion and we are delighted to be showing Wales taking on a team of global rugby superstars live on S4C. This underlines our commitment to showing high quality womens rugby,” said Sue Butler, S4C Sports Commissioner.
WRU Community Director Geraint John added, “We are grateful for S4C’s continued support of Welsh women’s rugby in broadcasting this historic match against the Barbarians which will culminate the biggest ever series of autumn matches for Wales Women.”
Wales play Spain and Scotland away from home before facing the first Crawshay’s women’s team, coached by Liza Burgess and Rachel Taylor on Saturday 23 November. A fifth match is set to be added to the schedule.
Tickets are available from your local rugby club, online at www.wru.wales/tickets, via the WRU Ticket line: 0844 847 1881 (calls to this number cost 7p per minute plus your company’s access charge) or in person at the WRU ticket office on Westgate Street, Cardiff.
Saturday 30th November
WALES WOMEN v BARBARIANS Kick-off 11:45am
WALES v BARBARIANS Kick-off 2:45pm
TICKET PRICES, Adults: £10, £20, £30 (U16 £10) *AFZ, £40 (U16 £10), £50 (over 40,000, more than half capacity, concessionary tickets are also available to U16s at £10)
*=includes Alcohol Free Zone
Purchases are limited to eight per person and all tickets include access to both games. Please note tickets to the matches cannot be bought independently and, once admitted, will not allow the bearer re-admission. Booking fees (£1 per ticket) and standard postage (£3 per transaction) apply.