Wales never lost three Six Nations games in a row under Warren Gatland… despite an experienced team they were well beaten by England, so are their bellies now softer with Wayne Pivac in charge?
- England beat Wales by 33-30 in their Six Nations clash on Saturday afternoon
- Under previous coach Warren Gatland Wales rarely lost games that mattered
- However, Wayne Pivac’s Wales have now lost three Six Nations games in a row
Are Wales now dashing instead of dogged?
At Twickenham you looked down the list of Welshmen and their tally of caps and it made for impressive reading. Leigh Halfpenny 88, George North 94, Liam Williams 62, Dan Biggar 82, Ken Owens 76, Alun Wyn Jones 137, Justin Tipuric 75.
Together it totalled 839 – the second most experienced team to ever take the field for anyone in this Championship, only behind the team Wales put out against France last time.
Wales have now lost three Six Nations matches in a row after their 33-30 defeat to England
In trying to play more under Wayne Pivac, are Wales’ bellies now softer in the bigger games?
Wales players look on as they fall to defeat in what has been a disappointing Six Nations
Warriors all over the place, wins, Lions tours and epic achievements everywhere but suddenly there seems something missing from this Welsh team.
Under Warren Gatland they were rarely, if ever, easily beaten in a game that mattered.
Not in the Six Nations anyway. They also never lost three in a row in this tournament.
Early in Wayne Pivac’s era they have now achieved the latter straight away after a three-point defeat to England that flattered them enormously.
They attacked nicely, scored three tries and it was the first time they had ever scored 30 points at Twickenham, but with two scores so late they did not truly matter it all felt a little false. In trying to play more have their bellies become softer?
Looking at the team, not much has changed. All those named above are Grand Slam winners, World Cup semi-finalists and stalwart Gatland guys.
Wales’ highly experienced team were well beaten by England at Twickenham on Saturday
There is always resistance with Wales, and when the length-of-the-field try from Tipuric came 27 seconds into the second-half they would have been dreaming of days to match 2008, 2012 and 2015.
But despite finishing so close to England on the scoreboard they were well beaten. They were gone before the late in-vain surge.
The alterations from the conquering side of 2019 are subtle, but important.
Without Gatland they have lost their galvaniser, without Shaun Edwards their defence looks less mean and miserly, without those trainers in their corner they look short of a knock-out punch.
Nick Tompkins will become a star in the centre. He did well in patches against his old mates from Saracens, but losing Jonathan Davies has been a bitter blow for the Welsh too.
The disappearance of George North’s form is a worry and the front-row have been poor
The disappearance of George North’s form is also a worry and the front-row have had a poor tournament in the scrums.
But they have had moments and chances. They could have beaten France if refereeing calls had gone their way, and stayed close to Ireland until Hadleigh Parkes dropped one over the line and Andy Farrell’s men won by more than a score.
With every week Gatland’s achievements grow. His team often won those tight moments – this one do not right now.
It took forever for the public to fully embrace their greatest ever coach, and now they will love him even more watching their boys.
When the New Zealander left at the World Cup he said it would ‘break his heart’ if Welsh rugby returned to the ‘doldrums’ under Pivac.
Late tries flattered Wales on the scoreboard, but it’s too early to say they are doomed
It is far too early to say they are even approaching that doomsday scenario, but they look to have lost something intangible. Their special ingredient.
It was less that they could not deal with England’s power, that their front-row was left in bits or they were constantly turned around by George Ford’s kicking, but more that they could not stick in.
Manu Tuilagi’s red-card would not save them and despite Biggar and Tipuric’s consolation tries the result was clear. Have Wales substituted daring for winning?
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