Did pitch invader rob Wales of a win?
REACTION: Wales coach Wayne Pivac was unwilling to blame a second-half pitch invader for his team’s disappointing 17-23 loss to South Africa.
With the scores tied at 15-all and 15 minutes remaining on the clock, an inebriated fan – dressed in Welsh supporters gear – made his way onto the park.
Replacement back Liam Williams had to take evasive action and was stripped of the ball, killing any chance of what could have been a match-defining try.
Welsh fans reacted with indignation and poured beer all over him, as he was being led away.
The man was later handed to South Wales police and will be formally charged.
“Look, I don’t know,” Pivac said in his post-match reaction, when asked if he thought his team would have scored had it not been for the pitch invader.
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“We just saw a two-versus-one type situation forming up,” the Welsh coach said adding that you don’t want to see that in the game.
“It is very disappointed that happened, but there was nothing the officials could do about that.”
Pressed again on whether Wales might have scored a try, Pivac added: “I don’t know. I don’t know.
“At the time, I thought: ‘Here we go’.
“We had a one-man advantage.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to the players.
“They might have been distracted.
“The match officials, they just have to deal with the way they did.
“There is nothing they [match officials] could have done about it.”
Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams told PA after the match that the spectator had been swiftly dealt with.
“We condemn this type of behaviour in the strongest possible terms,” Williams told the news agency.
“He was intercepted and immediately escorted from the stadium and handed over to South Wales Police.”
— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) November 6, 2021
— Peter Gillibrand (@GillibrandPeter) November 6, 2021
Pivac was full of praise for his team’s effort in testing conditions.
“It was a massive effort from our boys and we’re obviously disappointed not to hold on in the last 10 minutes.
“We lived on the edge and we gave away a couple of penalties.
“One right on half-time which I thought we didn’t need to give away and then one towards the end which gave them that line-out drive.”
“The guys put in a heck of a shift.
“If you look at the performance [against New Zealand] last week, coming up against South Africa in these conditions was always going to be a big ask, and I thought the boys came up well.
“We could have won that match – it came down to a couple of moments.
“We gave away a silly penalty before half-time, and then another to set up their try.
“Outside of that, we have a bit of work to do at the scrum, but we matched them across the park and led for periods.
“We could have won it at the end.
“It is a big step in the right direction, playing the world champions at their own game. I thought it was a big pat on the back for their effort.
“I think playing South Africa in those conditions, which is ideal for how they want to play the game, was going to be a testing time. I thought we stood up to that test well.
“It was a big tick in the box as far as the coaching group was concerned, but there are always things we need to take away and work on.
“If the [stadium] roof was closed or the sun was out, we would have definitely played more. But that ball was very wet and slippery.
“There was a lot of rain coming down in the pre-match warm-up, so we changed the tactics before kick-off. We had to go with the conditions.”
* Additional reporting by PA