State of Play: How are Wales set ahead of the Guinness Six Nations restart?

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While domestic competition has provided fans with their rugby fix over the last few weeks, preparations for the hotly-anticipated Championship return are well underway with four mouth-watering fixtures set to bring the 2020 series to its delayed conclusion.

While domestic competition has provided fans with their rugby fix over the last few weeks, preparations for the hotly-anticipated Championship return are well underway with four mouth-watering fixtures set to bring the 2020 series to its delayed conclusion.

Wayne Pivac’s Wales will be among the most eager of the six teams to get back underway, keen to set the record straight after a largely hit-and-miss campaign that sees the 2019 Grand Slam champions just one place off the foot of the table.

A home tie against Scotland presents them with a chance to salvage some pride, as they attempt to leapfrog Gregor Townsend’s men in somewhat unfamiliar home territory, at Parc y Scarlets.

With the Guinness Six Nations finale now only a matter of days away, here’s a look at the state of play for Wales ahead of kick-off in Llanelli…


Entering the fray as reigning Grand Slam kings, Wales picked up where they left off in Round 1, defeating Italy 42-0 in Pivac’s first Test match in charge.

Cardiff Blues winger Josh Adams reminded the rugby world why he finished as top try-scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with an incredible hat-trick at the Principality Stadium, while Nick Tompkins and George North also dotted down to complete the win.

Having equalled their record of eight successive Championship victories, spirits were high ahead of a trip to face 2018 Grand Slam champions Ireland, who were also under new stewardship with Andy Farrell in the hot seat.

But Wales were duly handed their first Guinness Six Nations defeat since their last visit to Dublin two years before, and were immediately presented with an uphill task if they were to lift the trophy for a second successive year.

Tomos Williams and Justin Tipuric got on the scoresheet for the visitors, but tries from Jordan Larmour, Tadhg Furlong, Josh van der Flier and Andrew Conway sealed a 24-14 win for Ireland.

Hungry to get back to winning ways, Wales welcomed France in Round 3, who had impressed with wins over England and Italy in their two Championship openers.

And Wales’ hopes of defending their crown were all but dashed by Fabien Galthié’s charges, who claimed their first win in Cardiff for ten years with tries from Anthony Bouthier, Paul Willemse and Romain Ntamack – who also added 12 points with his boot.

A Dillon Lewis score and 18 points from Dan Biggar were ultimately in vain as Wales came unstuck 27-23, and there was yet more bad news to come two weeks’ later away to England in Round 4.

Biggar again featured on the scoresheet with 14 points, while Justin Tipuric also scored two tries, but England took the spoils 33-30 after scores from Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi – who was later sent off.

Following their third defeat in four games, Wales sit fifth in the standings on seven points ahead of the visit of Scotland, and while Italy below them are yet to get off the mark, Pivac’s men can still climb above some of their nearest challengers.


Currently two points behind Ireland, plenty of Welsh eyes will be focused on how Farrell’s side get on in their rescheduled Round 4 clash against Italy a week before they return to the field.

If the men in green emerge empty-handed, and then go on to lose to fellow title hopefuls France in their last match, Wales could finish the campaign in third place, which would go some way to making up for their disappointment so far.

That eventuality would also rely on a Round 5 victory over Scotland on October 31, who assume that position in the table as it stands, and have already seen off Italy and France.

Already having tasted three defeats in the Guinness Six Nations for the first time since 2007 however, Pivac will be all too aware that his side could still finish bottom of the ranks.

Italy could overtake them if they win both of their rescheduled games, and Wales taste their fourth consecutive loss against Scotland.

Whatever happens, Wales will be aiming to reassert their authority by pushing towards the top of the stakes in the Autumn Nations Cup that starts next month, in which they will take on Ireland, Georgia and England ahead of a play-off contest to determine their final position.


Pivac has cast his eye on building towards the future by naming seven uncapped players in a 38-man squad ahead of Wales’ busy autumn campaign.

Bristol Bears duo Callum Sheedy and Ioan Lloyd will be eager for their chance to impress after stellar seasons in the English Premiership, while Scarlets’ Josh Macleod was the undisputed turnover king in the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 campaign, claiming 23 possession steals.

Dan Biggar will be looking to see off Sheedy’s challenge to his No.10 jersey by adding to the 47 points that make him this year’s leading scorer so far, while Josh Adams will be hoping to add to his three tries, that all came in Round 1.

Nick Tompkins will want to kick on from his four Test caps, which have yielded an impressive 43 carries, 332 metres made and six offloads, while in the back-row stalwarts Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones will be called upon once again to lead their team to victory.