Wales need ‘a lot more discipline’ says Pivac after four yellow cards in the first South Africa test
Wayne Pivac accepts that Wales need to show “a lot more discipline” when they target a Test series-levelling victory over South Africa on Saturday.
Wales face the Springboks in Bloemfontein after a pulsating first Test that world champions South Africa won 32-29 following Damian Willemse’s penalty with the game’s final kick.
While Wales went toe to toe with South Africa and produced arguably their finest performance of Pivac’s coaching reign, they were also punished by referee Nika Amashukeli.
The Georgian official yellow-carded four Wales players – Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn Jones, Louis Rees-Zammit and Rhys Carre – with the tourists briefly reduced to 12 men during a frantic finale.
Wales also conceded 15 penalties to the Springboks’ seven, plus three free-kicks, with a cumulative effect of that indiscipline ultimately costing them.
Pivac said: “It is really a matter of focusing on what we can bring to the game, and hopefully that is going to be a lot more discipline than last week, because we let ourselves down clearly in that area of the game.
“To hold South Africa as close as we did for as long as we did, with the penalty count as it was, is a testament to some of the good work we did do.”
Pivac, who confirmed that Wales had sought and received feedback from World Rugby, underlined his disappointment with Rees-Zammit’s sin-binning, which came seven minutes from time.
The Gloucester wing was penalised after a try-saving tackle on Springboks replacement Willie Le Roux, having been adjudged to have intentionally slowed play down.
“I think that was the most unlucky play in the match,” Pivac added. “Clearly, from our point of view we thought it was an excellent play.
“That was a big moment in the game for us and very disappointing.
“We know there were areas in the game which we need to improve on in terms of our discipline, but we felt also that there were some things which didn’t go our way.”
Pivac has called up wing Alex Cuthbert as a solitary change to the starting XV, replacing Josh Adams.
Adams is on the bench, where an enforced switch sees uncapped Saracens prop Sam Wainwright taking over from Tomas Francis, who was stood down by Wales’ medical team and has returned home after suffering concussion during the first Test loss in Pretoria.
North Wales-born Wainwright, 24, was drafted into the tour squad last month as a replacement for the injured Leon Brown.
And his Test debut now awaits as Wales target a first win against the Springboks in South Africa.
Wales centre George North, meanwhile, will equal Stephen Jones’ record as the most-capped Welsh men’s international back with 104 appearances.
In stark contrast to Pivac, his Springboks counterpart Jacques Nienaber made 14 alterations from the series opener, retaining only lock Eben Etzebeth.
Wales great Sir Gareth Edwards has been among the critics of South Africa’s selection approach, believing that it disrespects the tourists.
Pivac said: “They will have their reasoning. They have depth and quality throughout their squad, and they have experience in this team.
“We do know the team we will be coming up against will be full of enthusiasm. When you give rugby players an opportunity, most of the time they will take it with both hands.
“We are expecting a South Africa side full of ambition, full of intensity, and we know that they will be coming with one thing in mind and that is to win a Test match.
“We can’t really gauge the South African team because the team we are playing isn’t the XV we played last week.
“When a coach does what South Africa have done, it is a big pat on the back for their squad.
“For us, it is about getting our own house in order and making sure we can start as well as we did last week.”
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