Sunday Social: Emotional goodbyes and a family affair

Date published: December 1 2019

It is time for Planet Rugby’s Sunday Social, your quirky recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past week’s action.

We start with Wales’ game against the Barbarians, which proved to be an emotional occasion for everyone involved, as new boss Wayne Pivac came up against former head coach Warren Gatland, who was in charge of the invitational side, and this was a lovely gesture from the WRU ahead of the encounter on Saturday.

Another to say goodbye was Ireland legend Rory Best, who played his final game after captaining the Baa-Baas in Cardiff, and he got a wonderful reception from the players, coaches and supporters.

This was also a touching moment in his post-game interview as the Welsh crowd gave Best a magnificent ovation.

Onto the lighter side of the Welsh game and Ken Owens couldn’t quite believe that he wasn’t named man of the match following a two-try display, but the person that awarded it – legendary Welsh wing Shane Williams – had his response.

Passions evidently ran high in the Pivac family as Wayne took charge of his first Wales game. Son Bradley is back home in New Zealand and that meant an early – or late – start to watch the match, resulting in the neighbours complaining about the noise.

In domestic matters, Saracens boosted their survival hopes with a victory over Bath on Friday but much of the talk centred on the West Country outfit’s pitch, which kept cutting up.

As a result of the difficult underfoot conditions, it was an attritional contest, but that suited the Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, to a tee. They were joined by cousin Manu in the squad and this was a nice moment post-match.

In Galway, Connacht faced the Southern Kings and there appeared to be a pitch invader, but it was just Kings prop Pieter Scholtz, who had lost his shirt in the maul.

Elsewhere, Exeter Chiefs enjoyed a fine win and their new full-back Stuart Hogg is adapting well to life in Devon, but he caused a bit of controversy with this question during the week.

Meanwhile, South Africa Sevens revealed their alternate shirt for the forthcoming season and it is fair to say that it hasn’t gone down well.

Finally, South Africa’s Siya Kolisi was invited down to Anfield to watch Liverpool’s draw with Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and it proved to be a memorable evening for the Rugby World Cup-winning captain.