Justin Tipuric wants Wales to ‘start well’ against Georgia
Wales captain Justin Tipuric has said that he wants his team to “start well” against Georgia in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series clash.
Wales was bulldozed by New Zealand in their first Autumn international and struggled in the first half-hour against Argentina before pulling back into a winning position.
They will meet Georgia at the Principality Stadium just under 11 months before a World Cup encounter in Nantes.
Georgia’s last two visits to Wales saw them prove dogged opponents, as the home side prevailed 13-6 in 2017 and 18-0 two years ago.
“They are big physical men, a very good set-piece team and they are just getting better and better all the time,” said Tipuric, who along with prop Dillon Lewis took no part in Wales’ final training run on Friday, although their absence was understood to be purely precautionary.
“Their players are playing in the top leagues now, and that is only going to make them better.
“They are a tough, nitty-gritty team, and if you let them into the game they are going to stay there all game.
“We have got to make sure we start well, do everything right and not let them into the game with our mistakes.”
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made six changes from the starting line-up that defeated Argentina last weekend.
Wing Josh Adams’ return from injury is among them, with Scarlets back-row forward Josh Macleod making his Test debut at number eight, packing down alongside Tipuric and Jac Morgan.
The 26-year-old was selected for Wales’ 2020 autumn squad, but then suffered a hamstring injury, before being picked to start against Scotland in last year’s Six Nations, only to rupture his Achilles tendon in training just a few hours later.
Tipuric added: “It is horrible what has happened to Josh in the past.
“But it just shows his resilience and his attitude and the type of person he is to just keep coming back, no matter what.
“I am looking forward to going out there with him and Jac on Saturday.”
With Australia looming as Wales’ final autumn opponents next week, Pivac’s 2023 World Cup squad continues to take shape.
But second row is one area where fierce competition sees the likes of Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Ben Carter, Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza and Alun Wyn Jones – rugby union’s world record cap holder – among those contesting places.
Rowlands is now out injured, with Carter and Beard starting against Georgia, but Exeter pair Tshiunza and Jenkins are making rapid strides, although they will not be available against Australia due to that game falling outside World Rugby’s autumn Test window.
Pivac said: “For Ben, he is the young guy in the mix, with Daf coming through, and they are the future.
“The few opportunities he (Carter) has had, he needs to back them up with a solid performance on the weekend.
“He is just a very honest player. He does not say a lot at training, he just gets stuck in and rolls his sleeves up.
“That is what you need in the engine room from time to time, that sort of player who gets on with his business.
“We are trying to build depth, and that has been going on since we took over. If we don’t get many injuries between now and the World Cup, the depth will be quite nice.”
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This aged badly