Rugby-Wobbly Wales will show improvement in Six Nations, says coach Pivac

·2-min read

(Reuters) - Wayne Pivac will know that whatever allowances may have been made for Wales’ poor performance in 2020 will not extend into this year’s Six Nations as he looks for improvement in all areas, but maintains his side are in a "good space".

Wales won just three of their 10 tests last year, with those successes coming against Italy (twice) and Georgia.

It was a huge step backwards from the form of the previous two seasons under Warren Gatland, but a change to a more ball-in-hand style and injuries to key individuals have been a factor.

"During that last campaign there was a lot talked about us defensively and we made a change there (after losing defence coach Shaun Edwards). But there were other areas of our game that didn’t function," Pivac told reporters on Wednesday.

"Clearly the set-piece was an issue. We’re doing a lot of work on that to make sure we have a platform to operate.

"No matter what you do in attack, if you don’t have the platform to launch from then it makes things very difficult. So to improve in that area is a big drive for us."

Pivac will be able to call on experienced campaigners in hooker Ken Owens and back row Josh Navidi, who return from injury and should be available for their 2021 season opener against Ireland in Cardiff on Feb. 7.

"Those players have played a big role in the past and are very experienced. We’re in a good space," he added.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones is hoping to be fit for the Ireland match and believes the side will be more settled this season and should be considered potential Six Nations winners.

"We’re over 12 months into a change in regime and we’ve experienced a bit of everything. We saw a lot of new caps in the autumn series but we come into this campaign with a strong squad," he said.

"Any captain sitting here is going to say they want to win the championship."

Pivac received support from England coach Eddie Jones on Wednesday, who urged the Welsh Rugby Union to show patience with him.

"He’s a good young coach, has some good young players there," Jones said.

"I think it’s always hard to change styles, particularly when you’ve been successful.

"A team’s style is a compromise between a coach’s ideology and the players’ potential, and you try to find the right sweet spot for that, where the players can be at their best and as a coach you have ideas on how you want to play the game.

"Sometimes it takes longer and I’m sure Wayne will find that right balance and the team will flourish."

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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