Wayne Pivac walking in Graham Henry and Warren Gatland's Welsh footsteps

Wayne Pivac will link up with a host of Scarlets players including Leigh Halfpenny as coach of Wales. Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

You can't say that the Welsh Rugby Union have not moved on. From sacking coaches in car parks because of panic over possible headlines in the following morning's regional press, they're now appointing them a year in advance.

They have moved to secure the candidate they want ahead not only of the scramble for coaching talent which occurs around World Cups, but of the possibility of some other nation deciding it needs a late change ahead of next year's tournament.

The achievements on which Wayne Pivac's appointment is based may have happened in Wales with Scarlets, but we can be sure they have been noticed in every other major rugby nation. This is succession planning, in one sense at least, with a vengeance.

And it looks like the right choice. Pivac's record, in terms of results and style, at Scarlets made him the outstanding candidate. His appointment also continues a pattern of evolution over the 20 years in which New Zealanders have dominated the national coach role.

Graham Henry brought in New Zealand knowhow and hard-headedness, but came with limited previous knowledge of the European scene, and seemed after a brilliant start to make minimal attempts to learn.

Warren Gatland arrived with both a serious first-hand knowledge of European rugby from his formidable achievements with Wasps and international experience from coaching Ireland.

Pivac brings international experience from Fiji, a track record of coaching Welsh players successfully at Scarlets and, perhaps as importantly, some forewarning of the politics of the Welsh game. There will no doubt be times when politics frustrates him, but it is unlikely to take him by surprise -- he'll have seen most of it before.

There is also, on the basis of his time at Scarlets, reason to hope that we'll see an evolution in playing style. Gatland will depart, rightly, to the thanks of the nation. The first duty of a national coach is to get the best possible results and, barring some spectacular collapse over the next year, Gatland will leave Wales as the team he has made them, one which has to be taken seriously by any opponent.

But the trade-off for better results has been, at times, some pretty unmemorable rugby. Most recent Wales v France matches, once a guaranteed Five Nations highlight, could have been prescribed as a cure for insomnia.

Still worse has been that succession of narrow defeats by Australia, not least because the difference was so often the touch of craft or imagination that was at one time the hallmark of the Welsh game at its best. Gatland, nobody's fool, has tried to moved on, but as yet -- in spite of picking numerous Scarlets -- failed to ingrain the more imaginative style developed by Pivac at Parc y Scarlets.

It may be that it will take the Scarlets coach, as well as Scarlets players, to fully turn the page. And that so many Scarlets are already in the Wales set-up will serve Pivac well when he starts. Any coach with a background in the Welsh game risks being accused of playing favourites.

His first squads may see Scarlets heavily represented, but that will merely represent continuity with selection under Gatland. So where are the downsides? One is the rider attached to any international appointment, which is that none comes with a guarantee.

No Wales coach came to the job with better credentials than Gareth Jenkins, whose record with the Scarlets, Wales A and the Lions might easily have earned him the job some time before but instead presaged the short, unhappy tenure ended in that car-park in 2007.

And then there is the matter of the transition. The authority of a coach rests on many factors. Gatland, by virtue of achievement and personality, has more authority than most. And everything suggests that he has built a strong team culture, founded on grown-up leaders like Sam Warburton and Alun-Wyn Jones.

But one element in authority is uncertainty, with every player knowing the incumbent could be choosing teams and tactics not only today, but for the rest of his career. Once that ceases to be, and his departure date is known, the strongest coach is at risk of becoming a lame duck.

There is also the longer-term issue of the state of coaching in Wales. It would be futile to complain in principle about the appointment of an overseas coach. That particular pass was sold even before Henry, with the short and resoundingly unsuccessful tenure of Alec Evans at the 1995 World Cup.

Any newly appointed national coach has to be the right man at the right moment, and Pivac gives every appearance of being that. But it is perfectly reasonable to be disappointed that no Welsh coach appears even to have been in contention.

Dai Young's broadening of both experience and credentials with Wasps appear to have cut no ice this time, and he will be 56 -- older than Pivac is now -- after the 2023 World Cup. Steve Tandy's early promise at Ospreys fizzled, and none of the four regions has a Welsh head coach.

If the regions, for the same reasons as the national team, go on looking abroad and there is no longer a Wales A team to offer bright young coaches the route taken by both Mike Ruddock and Gareth Jenkins, it is hard to see where future Welsh contenders will come from.

This may just be a short-term glitch. Maybe by 2023 there will be three or four serious homegrown runners for the Wales job, should Pivac step down then. After all, nobody would have seen him coming in 2015.

But it could point to something more worrying. To have no Welsh coach in any of the big jobs in Welsh rugby suggests something is lacking either in the calibre of recruits to coaching or of the way they are developed.

Either would have longer-term consequences for the quality of coaching, and therefore player development, in Wales. So here's a warm welcome to Wayne Pivac as the right man for Wales now, but a few longer-term worries about what the reported list of runners says about the future for Wales.