Wayne Pivac urges leadership from Wales players on return to regions

Wayne Pivac urges leadership from Wales players on return to regions

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has urged his players to take the high standards he believes they have set in South Africa back to their regions.

“It’s something we’ve talked about and I’m going to address them again before we break up,” said Pivac.

Wales lost the series decider 34-10 in Cape Town.

Pivac’s side had earlier become the first Wales team to defeat the Springboks in South Africa in the second Test in Bloemfontein.

The majority of the 34-man squad ply their domestic trade in Wales, where none of the four professional sides registered a win in Europe last season or finished in the top half of the United Rugby Championship.

Pivac believes the international players must show an example.

“The standards they set for themselves on this tour in terms of the way they manage themselves, their training and their performance, we need these guys to go back to their clubs and be genuine leaders, to lift the standards,” said Pivac.

“It’s going to help us in the long run if we’ve got our clubs performing well, which is what we want to happen.”

Pivac believes Wales are in a much more encouraging position before the World Cup in France next year compared to when they were defeated by Italy at home in the Six Nations in March.

“This tour has been fantastic for us on a number of fronts,” he added.

“It’s the first time we’ve toured and the camaraderie on and off the training field, as well as the performances on the field – the positives clearly outweigh the negatives from a coaching point of view.

“We talked about this in the huddle after the game, but we’ve set a bit of a standard for ourselves now.

“It wasn’t the most clinical rugby on this tour, but we certainly had a bit of an edge about us in terms of our defensive efforts.

“We’re talking about being in South Africa’s backyard with two of those games at altitude.

“I thought with the preparation we did coming in, we ticked the right boxes.

“We competed in both Tests at altitude and then came down here and it was probably just a bridge too far.

“We were a pretty banged up group but, again, we showed a lot of resilience. We’re just disappointed that the scoreline crept out at the end.”

Pivac believes some of the experiences in South Africa could be replicated in France.

“We originally selected 33 as we will do for the World Cup,” he added.

“We had some challenges in terms of numbers at training this week, which is what is likely to happen in France.

“It was a good experience for us. We had Gareth Anscombe’s late withdrawal and then Taulupe Faletau’s very late withdrawal.

“Guys had to step up to the plate without giving it too much thought. The players who were put in that position did very well.”

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