Press conference: Pivac believes free-scoring Wales can be even more ruthless

Header image
Wayne Pivac has challenged his Grand Slam-chasing Wales side to become even more ruthless as they look to build on a record-equalling campaign.

Wayne Pivac has challenged his Grand Slam-chasing Wales side to become even more ruthless as they look to build on a record-equalling campaign.

Seven tries in a convincing 48-7 win over Italy took Wales’ tally to 17 for the campaign, the joint-highest tally they have recorded in a Championship – with a game still to play.

And while Pivac was delighted overall with how his side performed in Rome, he believes there is still further cutting edge to be found among his free-scoring squad.

“We scored some good tries but we are pretty disappointed that we left a couple out there as well,” he said.

“We talked about being ruthless and clinical and at times we were, but there were a couple we didn’t quite finish.

“I wasn’t aware of that stat (matching the record) but it’s pleasing to score tries, people love seeing tries being scored.

“We like playing a brand of rugby where we give ourselves the opportunity to score plenty of tries and we want to be very positive when we’ve got the ball.

“It was far from perfect today but the intent was there. We want to keep tweaking the attack and getting better and better.”

Two of Wales’ scores at the Stadio Olimpico came from a surprising source, with Ken Owens crossing twice in the space of nine first-half minutes to wrap up Wales’ bonus point inside the opening half-hour.

Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match Navidi hails efficient Welsh display

Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau, George North and Louis Rees-Zammit were more familiar names on the scoresheet while Callum Sheedy dotted down his first international try in the second half.

Sheedy and Rees-Zammit were two players handed Wales debuts in a testing Autumn Nations Cup campaign and Pivac believes his side are reaping the rewards from using the competition to give opportunities to fresh blood.

“We know the pain we went through in the autumn and they were certainly not the results we were after,” he said.

“But seeing some of the players that got opportunities in the autumn playing out there now in the Guinness Six Nations – some coming off the bench, some getting starts – they are better for it and we have a lot more depth.

“We are going to have to keep building on that depth. If you asked this side coming out the autumn whether they’d take four wins from four and going for a Grand Slam, you know the answer.”

Owens double helps Wales to big win in Italy

Wales’ flying start against Italy ensured they could make full use of their bench in the second half and withdraw an array of big guns with next week’s titanic clash in Paris in mind.

Having suffered a 38-21 defeat at the Stade de France in an Autumn Nations Cup warm-up clash in October, Pivac knows the scale of the task facing his side but is confident they can meet it head-on.

Big Interview: Ryan Jones on Grand Slams, leading Wales and living the dream

“The last two times we’ve played France, we’ve been on the receiving end of the result so we know we’ll be in for a massive challenge,” he said.

“We’ve been there and played in a late kick-off in the autumn, so it’ll all be familiar territory for us, which is a good thing.

“We achieved everything we wanted in that first half today and it allowed us to rest some guys – George North, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Ken Owens – who have had a lot of game time.

“At a certain point in the game it becomes a dress rehearsal for next week. Certainly defence was paramount towards the end and we are pleased we held them out.”