Wyn Jones backs Wales coach Wayne Pivac to come good after difficult start

Wales prop Wyn Jones insists Wayne Pivac can turn around his fortunes just as he did with the Scarlets, who he steered to Guinness PRO12 glory despite a poor start to the 2016-17 season.

Pivac has won only two of his seven games in charge of Wales and lost the last five, with the nation still digesting Saturday’s 14-10 home defeat to Scotland and its worst Six Nations campaign since 2007.

But Jones is confident that Wales will bounce back from their poor run of form in the Autumn Nations Cup, starting away to Ireland on Friday week.

Wyn Jones has backed Wales to improve under Wayne Pivac
Wyn Jones has backed Wales to improve under Wayne Pivac (Nigel French/PA)

“It’s the same with any team when you get a new coach, a new set-up slightly different to the old one with new structures and new ideas. It takes time for these things to bed in,” Jones said.

“At the Scarlets, we lost our first three games that year we went on to win the league.

“It’s building from game to game for us now and it’s definitely not time to hit the panic button.

“It’s a case of working on some of the aspects of the game we haven’t had time to work on and right the wrongs for Ireland.”

Pivac’s inauspicious start as Warren Gatland’s successor brought only one Six Nations win, the opening game against traditional whipping boys Italy.

Wales now find themselves up against England, Georgia and Ireland in the group stages of the Autumn Nations Cup, a competition which has replaced customary games against southern hemisphere sides because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“International rugby is down to small margins,” Jones said.

“We said that if we score in the 60th minute (against Scotland) and hold out for the win we are probably having a different conversation today.

“Unfortunately it went against us on the weekend. We know it probably wasn’t our best performance, but we were only one score away from winning as well.

Wayne Pivac (right) enjoyed a successful stint in charge of the Scarlets
Wayne Pivac (right) enjoyed a successful stint in charge of the Scarlets (David Davies/PA)

“We’ve had short, sharp messages and it’s generally been very positive this week. We have trained well, fixed a few wrongs and easy fixes, and look forward to building to Ireland now.”

Wales were badly exposed at the breakdown against Scotland, a recurring and worrying theme of recent games.

But Jones said: “I wouldn’t say it’s going wrong (in the forwards). It’s more a case of trying some new combinations, try new things, and a slightly different style of play as well

“Things aren’t going to come together overnight, we knew that at the start of the campaign.”

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