Wales set sight on Wallabies after 'darkest day'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Neil Jenkins has insisted “there is no hiding place” for Wales as they conclude their final year-end Test against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday, a week after a shock defeat to Georgia.
Wales face the Wallabies seven days after the Cardiff capitulation that has piled the pressure on coach Wayne Pivac and led to questions about whether he will still be in charge come next year’s World Cup in France.
Pivac has won just 13 of his 33 Tests as Wales coach since he succeeded fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup.
Georgia’s win over Wales came just eight months after Italy triumphed in Cardiff, with those defeats a far cry from Wales’ 2021 Six Nations title win.
Wales have won their last three Tests against Australia, but even a fourth victory in a row over the Wallabies might not be enough to ease the pressure on Pivac.
“It’s tough. I am not going to lie,” said the Wales assistant coach.
“It is incredibly disappointing, which is probably putting it lightly. It’s one of the darkest days, but you have got to go again.”
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The former Wales flyhalf, 51, added: “We’ve got another Test match on Saturday, and it is important that we turn up and front up.
“We don’t want to be in that position. We don’t want Wayne in that position. None of us want to be in that position.
“There is no hiding place. We need to be ready to go on Saturday.
“It is horrific, absolutely horrific. I am a passionate Welshman. I am desperate for Wales to do well. Whether I’m involved in that or not is irrelevant to me, I want Wales to be successful.”
Pivac’s hopes of a morale-boosting win against Australia have been hampered by the match falling outside World Rugby’s window for November Tests.
That means players based outside of Wales, a list that includes Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, Saracens centre Nick Tompkins and Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza, are unavailable.
Jenkins added: “You have got to look at yourself, it doesn’t matter whether you are playing, coaching, whatever part of the staff you are involved in, and ask if you did enough to win a Test match.
“You don’t want to be in that position [Italy defeat] again, do you? That was March and this is November, and we are back in the same position again.
“We fronted up in South Africa [where Wales won a Test against the Springboks] in July, and we fronted up after New Zealand [by beating Argentina].
“We don’t want to keep fronting up because of a poor display or a poor result. You want to be building some momentum.
“At this level, you have to be consistent. It is a massive part of Test match rugby.
“You need that confidence of winning and getting over the line. How you win is irrelevant.”