Satisfied Pivac prepares for "formidable" England test

Llanelli (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Wayne Pivac said several of the players who helped Wales end their six-match losing streak with an 18-0 win over Georgia had put their hands up for the game against England.

The New Zealander admitted it would be a far tougher test back at Llanelli next weekend as England are a "formidable side".

England will arrive for their final pool game in the Autumn Nations Cup on the back of convincing victories over Georgia and Ireland.

Pivac professed himself happy with the performance of a side that had three players making their Test debuts in the starting XV.

The Welsh scored two tries -- one through the impressive teenager Louis Rees-Zammit -- but it was a performance that will have satisfied neither the critics nor the fans.

Pivac's Test victories since he replaced Warren Gatland after they reached the World Cup semi-finals last year, having earlier achieved the Six Nations Grand Slam, have been against the Georgians and Italy.

Pivac, though, believed it was a "step in the right direction" and conditions were unfavourable for throwing the ball around.

"England are a formidable side with a lot of talent," he said at his post-match press conference.

"They are a big side and are going to be a handful.

"We need to take the positives out of this tonight and build on that.

"I think that across the board we took a step in the right direction.

"On a drier day the dents we made in their defence we would have been more dangerous."

- 'Far from perfect' -

Pivac highlighted two players he thought had done their chances of playing against England no harm.

"Despite the very wet underfoot conditions and slippery ball, I thought Callum (Sheedy, the fly-half who scored eight points) contributed well on his first start," said Pivac.

"Talking to a couple of the others in the dressing room they were pretty pleased.

"Johnny Williams (centre making his debut) was very excited.

"He did well in the conditions.

"There is plenty to work on, it was far from perfect but a step in the right direction."

Pivac side-stepped responding to how he was feeling after the win and having had serious question marks posed about his future.

"Look, it is about the players for me," he said.

"It is a matter of believing in what we are doing and continuing on that path.

"We made 13 changes (to the starting line-up that lost 32-9 in their opening game to Ireland).

"I am very pleased for them."

Pivac, speaking at the ground where he enjoyed success as head coach of Welsh region Scarlets, was not so pleased about the incident that saw a dazed captain Justin Tipuric wheeled off the pitch.

Tipuric had been caught by a swinging arm from Georgian flanker Beka Saginadze which saw the offender sin-binned by referee Luke Pearce.

"I thought it warranted a little bit more than a yellow card," said Pivac.

"It certainly looked a nasty forearm to the face and unfortunately it put paid to Justin for the rest of the game.

"I am not sure about the England game but I saw him in the corridor just now and he was chatting away."