Wayne Pivac remains defiant about his position as Wales’s coach after his side blew a 21-point lead against Australia in the last 25 minutes of what ended up as their ninth defeat of the calendar year. Nine defeats equals their previous worst in 2010. Inevitably, the calls for his head have grown in recent weeks and will not abate after this.
“That is a question for someone else,” he said. “I’m contracted through to the World Cup [in France next year].” His predecessor, Warren Gatland, something of a legend in these parts, was in the stadium on media duty and would not be drawn himself on the question of the Wales job, simply replying “no” when asked if any of his former paymasters had been in touch. It had looked less live as a question during the game’s opening hour or so. Pivac preferred to focus on that, after the horror of their defeat to Georgia the week before.
Pivac said: “I thought we played some excellent rugby. We were very pleased round the 50-minute mark, but then it went a little bit pear-shaped. It’s gutting from our point of view, because the players had wanted to go out on a very good note - and I thought for large parts of that game we did.” One of the many turning points, perhaps the crucial one, was the yellow card for Justin Tipuric in the 67th minute for a trip on Pete Samu, but Wales’s captain rued the moment as an innocent mistake.
“Sometimes you do them on purpose,” he said, “but that one, I was literally turning and hit his foot. In the past, as a back-rower, you do put in a few bits of dirty work and deserve your yellow cards. But sometimes when things aren’t going your way, you get calls like that.”
The reverse is also possible, as Pivac acknowledged. “There’s a little bit of luck in this game,” he said. “When we won the Six Nations [last year], a lot went our way. It just feels at the moment, in tight situations, it hasn’t. We’ve just got to keep believing. I think everyone would agree, that particular performance was a marked improvement.” Tipuric agreed. “The Six Nations is a weird tournament. In the past, you go in as underdogs and you come out as champions, or you go in as favourites and end up with a wooden spoon. That’s why it’s so exciting. When we get written off from the start we normally play our best rugby.”