BLAINA'S Byron Hayward is on Wayne Pivac's "short shortlist" to become his Wales defence coach after next year's World Cup.

Scarlets head coach Pivac has been chosen to replace his fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after Japan 2019 and yesterday confirmed his first assistants.

He will take attack coach Stephen Jones with him from Llanelli while former Ospreys coach Jonathan Humphreys, currently with Glasgow, will look after the forwards.

Skills coach Neil Jenkins and conditioning chief Paul Stridgeon will also continue their roles under Pivac.

Pivac is yet to confirm who will take up the role of defence guru, which is currently held by Shaun Edwards, but Hayward is front-runner.

The 49-year-old, who won two caps in 1998 and scored a hat-trick against Zimbabwe, cut his coaching teeth with Ebbw Vale before enjoying roles with the Dragons academy and Wales Under-20s.

He headed to the Scarlets in 2014 and was a key figure in helping the west Walians win the Guinness PRO12 in 2017.

"Byron is in the frame for the same reasons that Stephen got the job in that I know him very well. Clearly he ticks a lot of boxes and there is a short shortlist," said Pivac.

"But there have been a lot of things going on and I can't do everything, that's a position where there have been club jobs being looked at. The Scarlets are doing their own thing and Byron's been in and around that as well.

"It's just having clarity in terms of who is available, where people are at and what they are wanting to get out of the game going forward.

"He is one that is definitely on the shortlist and I want to make a decision sooner rather than later.

"Get these things done and it's good for everybody; whoever we get in is going to leave a post somewhere and giving as much notice as possible is the best thing to do."

Former fly-half Jones won 104 caps for Wales and six more for the Lions while ex-hooker Humphreys led his country in 19 of his 35 international appearances.

However, New Zealander Pivac says it is their coaching success rather than nationality that earned his job offer.

"I always had an open mind looking at the different positions, we wanted to get quality people with experience of operating at this level and who have had successful coaching CVs," said Pivac.

"I was open to those people coming from anywhere but if there wasn't a great deal between individuals then I wanted to go with Welsh coaches.

"These two got to the top of the list pretty quickly and it wasn't a difficult decision for me."

Meanwhile, the Scarlets boss has refuted Sir Clive Woodward's suggestion in a newspaper column that he has taken his eye off the ball since earning the Wales job.

The Llanelli side have lost all four European Champions Cup games and although they are second in Conference B of the PRO14, they are a long way behind Leinster and scrapping with Ulster, Benetton and Edinburgh for the play-offs.

"Most coaches are pretty proud people and I don't know too many who would just give up on a job with 12 months to go," said Pivac.

"We do a lot of hard work and go through a lot of highs and lows. You know how long our seasons are but I don't think many people would drop from a 100 to 90 per cent in their effort."