By Tom Prosser
Wayne Pivac was full of praise for his star speedster Louis Rees-Zammit after he scored a crucial try in Wales’ 38-23 comeback win over Fiji on Sunday afternoon.
“That’s what he can do and you can’t coach that,” raved Pivac.
“That just shows what an impact express pace can have.
“I was just so pleased for him as he was marked very heavily on the left wing.
“I was delighted he showed his individual brilliance and that raw pace that he has.
“It’s great to have him in your side when he can do that sort of thing.”
Louis rees-zammit is just ridiculous. https://t.co/iZqpOYPYby
— Craig Ellis (@CraggerRagger) November 15, 2021
The match was very tight for the most part and Wales took a while to get going.
Pivac puts this down to some defensive errors and problems in the breakdown, but he expects to see an improvement for his side’s next match against Australia on Saturday.
“There was a lot of offloading going on in the early part of the game,” explained Pivac, who coached Fiji between 2004 and 2007.
“We talked about being accurate in defence and not allowing those offloads to get away but they got a few as they tend to do.
“They started very well. The biggest problem for us during that first 60 minutes was the fact we had separation at the breakdown.
“They were very strong over the ball and we talked about that all week long as well.
“That’s a concern and that’s something we’ll be working on very hard this week to make sure that the ball carrier looks after the ball a little bit better, and there’s no separation between him and the guys who are designated to clean out.”
Fiji’s Eroni Sau was sent off after just 25 minutes for making firm contact with the head of Liam Williams.
Pivac was impressed with how his old side responded to playing with a man less for a large part of the game.
“Fiji threw everything at us and did very well,” said Pivac.
“They went down a man and that galvanised them.
“I think at that point they had everything to gain and nothing to lose.
“Quite often when you go out with that cavalier attitude things can come off for you. They were a player down yes but it still meant in all the breakdown areas they still had big men over the ball and it caused us problems.
“We talked about the extra man, building phases, and wearing them down.
“Ultimately at the end of the game it did wear them down, but it took us a while because of our inaccuracies at the breakdown.”
A very late change with Josh Adams ruled out. He seems cursed never to start at 13!
Nick Tompkins starts and Willis Halaholo comes on to the bench #TheHotStepper #WALvFIJ
— Cardiff Rugby Life (@CardiffRugbyWeb) November 14, 2021
Pivac also gave an injury update with Josh Adams pulling out of the match after suffering a calf strain during the warm up, while tighthead prop WillGriff John left the field early with a head injury.
“Josh just felt something in his leg during the warm-up,” he said. “He wanted to start the game to see how it went but we certainly weren’t going to allow that to happen.
“He was concerned about letting his teammates down and he’s such a good guy Josh that he was putting the team before himself. But the medical staff and myself made that call just before kick-off.
“These things can happen and you just have to adapt. Hopefully it won’t keep Josh out for too long as it was precautionary.
“We also had a couple of head knocks with WillGriff John and Will Rowlands. With a six day turnaround we’ll just have to see how they are tomorrow.
“It could be we dig a bit deeper into our squad.”