Former Wales captain Gwyn Jones has hit out at head coach Wayne Pivac and says the Red Dragons could be ‘humiliated’ in the upcoming three-Test series against the Springboks in July.
Pivac goes into the tour of South Africa under pressure after presiding over a poor Six Nations campaign, which ended in a historic loss to Italy in Cardiff.
Wales have never beaten the world champion Springboks in South Africa in 10 previous attempts, and Italy’s stunning 22-21 victory in Cardiff condemned Pivac’s defending title holders to a lowly fifth-place finish in the Six Nations. It also meant Pivac had overseen just four wins from 12 Wales matches since last year’s title triumph.
Writing for Wales Online, Jones, who captained Wales five times before a spinal injury brought his rugby career to a premature end at 25, said that while he was once a big supporter of Pivac, he could not understand some of the selections for the squad for the Test series, which he thinks the Springboks will be favourites to win.
“Wayne Pivac’s national side were embarrassed in the Six Nations, not one of the regions managed to get into the top half of the United Rugby Championship and the future of the professional game descends into further chaos, as the in-fighting between all the stakeholders intensifies,” Jones wrote.
“With that as a backdrop, Pivac has announced his squad for the daunting tour to South Africa. The abject failure of the regions to be competitive on their recent visits to the southern hemisphere is still fresh in our minds.
“Wales managed one win in the Six Nations, a turgid and low-quality victory against Scotland. As the leading countries in the world such as France, Ireland and New Zealand develop the up-tempo attacking style, Wales look rudderless.
“I suspect Pivac has been spooked by the systematic demolition of the Welsh regions in South Africa over recent weeks. The gulf in power was striking and a three-Test series could end in humiliation.
“Pivac could go into a Test match with Dan Biggar at 10, Tommy Reffell at 7 and Dan Lydiate at 6. That is not a side that is going to be able to open up the game in the way Pivac has always talked about. That is not a side moving to a high-skill, high-tempo game. That is a side that wants to go toe-to-toe with the Boks, and there will only be one winner in that contest.”
The first Test between Wales and the Springboks is in Pretoria on 2 July, with the series continuing in Bloemfontein before finishing in Cape Town.
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