Jonathan Davies backs under-fire boss Wayne Pivac

Date published: November 15 2020

Centre Jonathan Davies says the Wales players are firmly behind head coach Wayne Pivac, who has presided over an awful run of form.

Wales have not won a Test match for 287 days, with a 32-9 defeat in their Autumn Nations Cup opener against Ireland being a sixth reversal on the bounce.

That equates to their worst results sequence for eight years, inevitably increasing pressure on Pivac, who succeeded Warren Gatland as Wales boss last November.

Wales face Georgia next Saturday, which should signal the end of that losing sequence even with an expected much-changed team, but Six Nations champions England then arrive in Llanelli seven days later.

Positive change

Asked if the players are behind Pivac, Davies – who has 84 Wales caps – said: “Yes, of course.

“We enjoy preparing the plan he wants in the week. It’s just at the moment we need to make sure we are delivering on a game-day.

“There has been a bit of change, but the change has been in a positive way. We need to make sure all the work we put in during the week comes to fruition.

“Our frustration levels are extremely high because we are not delivering that.”

Wales went into the Ireland game less than a week after defence coach Byron Hayward departed his job and, while there were signs of improvement following an abject loss to Scotland a fortnight ago, Davies and company were still well beaten.

“After the long, long break we had over Covid, I think we’ve been slow out of the blocks,” Davies added.

“We were late coming back to regional rugby and the international game as well. Traditionally, the longer we spend together, the better we get, and we are seeing improvements in certain areas.

“We are not quite there yet with the product as a whole, and the focus has to stay on working together to make sure we deliver higher standards.

“When we turn up to Test matches, we know with the squad and group of coaches we have and the preparation we’ve done that everything is world-class.

“We need to make sure that come game-day we get better results to show the Welsh public.”

Wales conceded a total of 34 penalties across the Scotland and Ireland encounters and Davies accepts it is an area that must show immediate improvement.

“Indiscipline has been a major factor in the last three games we’ve lost,” he said. “It’s cost us a huge amount of points and we don’t accept that at all.

“We need to improve in that area because we can’t afford to piggy-back teams into areas where they can launch attacks or get easy points.

“Test match rugby is a game of small margins and if you give teams easy points you are never going to win. Our indiscipline needs to be addressed immediately.

“I think this is the first time a lot of the boys have had a run of losses and performances we haven’t been happy with.

“This is character-building, and come the next opportunity we get it’s important we get a win.”

Davies, meanwhile, went off during the second half in Dublin after suffering a knock to his knee and he added: “I am going through the recovery protocols and I will have to see how it settles down.

“It’s still a bit early doors at the moment but I have to make sure I look after it now. I need to get my leg up, rest up and recover well.”