Test match pile-up a possibility
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wales coach Wayne Pivac said his players would “relish the opportunity” to play several Tests in quick succession if Rugby Union could resume this year following the coronavirus lockdown.
Pivac’s men saw their Six Nations finale against Scotland called off just a day before kick-off in Cardiff in March.
The Wales coach said the spread of COVID-19 meant it was “unlikely” that matches in Japan in June and a two-Test series in his native New Zealand in July would go ahead as planned.
Wales are also scheduled to play four home Tests, against Fiji, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa, in November.
“We’re preparing as if July is going ahead, but with a serious view it may not,” Pivac said in a conference call on Wednesday.
“If games get pushed out there is a scenario where they will be postponed. We’ve looked at that as well.
“It could be we go to New Zealand a little later on in the season. If that’s pre-autumn [November] we’d have to play them, come back and play another series of matches.”
He said Wales could end up with the New Zealand games, the postponed Six Nations match against Scotland and a full end-of-year programme crammed into just a few weeks.
“Every nation will be in the same boat – it’s not that Wales would be singled out or have more games,” he said. “It would be even across the board and the same preparation for all sides.”
Former Scarlets boss Pivac, who succeeded Warren Gatland as Wales coach after last year’s World Cup, said the coaches and players wanted to get back to “some sort of normality”.
“Speaking to them now, if you had to play six or seven Test matches over eight to ten weeks then they’d relish the opportunity,” he added.
But he warned that players, currently training individually at home, would have to be somewhere near their usual standard of match fitness first.
Story continues below…
Pivac said one major benefit for his squad from the unexpected halt to the season was a much-needed break from the rigours of international rugby.
“Talking to our players the feedback is they are feeling great for having the break because they had pre-World Cup camps, the World Cup and coming back into club and regional and international rugby,” he said.
“A lot of them have been feeling beaten up but are now feeling good physically and mentally.”
Pivac said the novelty of life under lockdown in Britain had worn off.
“I am married with two twin 14-year-old stepdaughters so I have become a bit of a teacher, as well as what is going on with the rugby,” he said.
“There has been some adjustment and I have a new-found respect for teachers…. There is a lot of work going on from home because there are a lot of challenging things to consider.”
In other news: