Autumn Nations Series: Wayne Pivac praises Wales for bounce back win against Argentina

Wayne Pivac Wales head coach Six Nations 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Wayne Pivac Wales head coach Six Nations 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Wales coach Wayne Pivac was pleased that his team responded with a 20-13 win over Argentina after a tricky result against the All Blacks last weekend.

Pivac’s men played a solid game against a Los Pumas side full of momentum from their win against England last weekend, particularly after their 55-23 loss against the All Blacks a week before.

A step forward

The coach feels his side has taken “a step in the right direction” and praised the character of his men, especially on defence.

“It was a very good response. We needed a response, and the pleasing part was we knocked them back for 80 minutes,” Pivac said.

“It was not the perfect performance, but it is a step in the right direction. There are still some discipline things to tidy up, but you couldn’t fault the effort.

“These boys were very keen to get out there and put some of the wrongs of last week right.

“It tells you something around the character of the team, because you judge a team’s character by its defence, normally.”

Number eight Taulupe Faletau was outstanding on his 32nd birthday and led the charge for Wales. However, victory came at a cost.

Dan Lydiate and Will Rowlands both left the field with injuries, and scans in the coming week will reveal the extent of the damage.

“Will Rowlands is a shoulder, so we will get a scan on that on Monday and we will know more then. Dan was an arm (injury), so we will know more about that next week,” said Pivac.

Continuity

With Georgia the next clash, Pivac declared he would not be making huge changes as he looks to build continuity in selection.

“We are not going to make wholesale changes,” he explained.

“We’ve got a game against Australia the following week, so we want to put out a side that can go again against Australia. We will see how we scrub up on Monday.

“We want to learn as much as we can in this window about the guys in the squad.

“Where we can, we will have a look. But certainly we have to make sure that we are building results as well. That’s very important to us.”

Pivac was full of praise for speedster Louis Rees-Zammit, who was solid in his first Test at full-back, saying the successful transition provides further depth at 15.

“It was his first Test match in the 15 jersey, and I think he did exceptionally well,” Pivac added.

“I thought first up, he made a pretty good fist of it.

“It is pleasing for us because Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny have dominated that jersey for a good part of 10-12 years probably, so to have Louis step up and play the way he did, it’s great for us and gives us more depth.”

Wales skipper Justin Tipuric feels there is still more to come from his team but is delighted with the progress made thus far.

“There is still a lot of improvement, but the great thing about this squad in the last 10 years or so is the character it shows,” he said.

“We knew we would have stick after last week’s performance, and rightly so.

“That is not what we are about, especially the way we got beaten, so to come out swinging against such a good physical Argentina side is something we are proud about.”

Lost the kicking battle

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Michael Cheika thought his side were not at their best in Cardiff and lost the kicking battle, which proved costly.

“I just think we lacked a bit of edge today. Our defence was solid, but I would have liked to see more pressure on the opposition,” Cheika said.

“Their tries came from a maul and a charge-down. We lost the kicking game.

“Even though we weren’t happy with how we played, we must have had half-a-dozen opportunities to score. We took one.

“A team like us needs to take those opportunities. We had our eye off the ball today and it costs you at this level.

“We were in the game, but our aim is to be more than that.”

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