Pivac hails Wales depth as Rennie slams refereeing

·3-min read
Australia's full-back Kurtley Beale (L) and Wales' full-back Liam Williams (AFP/Geoff Caddick)

Wales coach Wayne Pivac hailed the "depth chart" after having seen a team largely rejigged because of injuries beat Australia 29-28 in a last-gasp thriller on Saturday.

But Pivac's Australian counterpart Dave Rennie was outspoken in what he said was "incredibly disappointing" officiating, calling for more accountability.

With some 20 players, many frontline first picks, out of contention through injury, Pivac has been forced to blood perhaps more players than he perhaps would have liked in four tough Autumn games.

Out of the international Test window, Wales lost 54-16 to New Zealand and went down 23-18 to world champions South Africa before rebounding for bragging rights over 2023 Rugby World Cup pool opponents Fiji (38-23) and Australia.

The victory over the Wallabies was based around 16 points from fly-half Dan Biggar, and an injury-time game-winning penalty by his replacement Rhys Priestland.

"Internally as a group, we'll celebrate for the first time in a number of months... after two wins from four in what's probably the toughest autumn we've faced to date," said Pivac.

"If you look at the guys out there at the end and the combinations, I was happy we managed to get one more chance to win it.

"The work we’ve done in the last three weeks in camp, with a game against the world champions and last week, we'll take that tonight and enjoy it."

Pivac added: "The depth chart we've created -- that's where the benefits will lie. Development has been forced on us and we've gone a bit deeper than we'd have liked to.

"That's why it's so pleasing to get the win with the side that finished the game. If you'd have asked me if we'd have done that before the autumn, I'd have thought you were joking."

- More accountability -

Rennie, like Pivac a New Zealander, did not hold back in his criticism of the officiating, notably by South African television match official (TMO) Marius Jonker, although he had no complaints over the 15th-minute red card handed to No 8 Rob Valetini for a high tackle.

He did, however, outline two key moments in a match that went to the death: a yellow card for Wallaby full-back Kurtley Beale for a deliberate knock-on and Nick Tompkins not being called back after knocking down a ball and sprinting away for a Wales try.

"I make a real point not to criticise referees," Rennie said. "But our boys deserve better than that.

"There were lots of decisions today. I felt they had a massive bearing on the game. I'm incredibly disappointed with the officiating."

"It's not emotional, it's not over-reacting," Rennie said. "We deserved a better result than that."

Rennie took aim at Jonker, who was also TMO in Australia's 15-13 defeat by Scotland in which prop Allan Alaalatoa was controversially yellow carded.

World Rugby subsequently apologised for the sin binning, saying it had been the incorrect decision.

Rennie added: "The reason the TMO was brought in was to get the right decision. To get an apology in the week is not good enough.

"If we going to have a TMO there's no excuse for not getting the decision right and we saw another example of that tonight.

"We want to make sure that officials are accountable. Marius' decision a couple of weeks decided a game yet he was appointed again.

"Is there any accountability around guys making errors that are deciding Test matches?"

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