By Tom Jenkins
Wayne Pivac says ending his disappointing first Six Nations campaign as Wales coach with a resounding win over Scotland next weekend is a “no brainer” following the 33-30 defeat by England on Saturday.
The New Zealander has seen his side slip to three successive defeats – after opening with a 42-0 whitewash of hapless Italy – for the first time since the 2007 Six Nations.
That dismal run came just before his compatriot Warren Gatland took over and enjoyed a highly successful 12-year tenure.
Defeat against Ireland ended Wales’ hopes of a Grand Slam repeat which was followed by a home loss to France and Saturday’s latest reverse ended their slim hopes of retaining the title.
Pivac’s side came back strongly at the end on Saturday with two late tries but they did so against an England side reduced to 13 men after Manu Tuilagi’s red card and Ellis Genge’s sin-binning.
“With three defeats in a row, yes, beating Scotland is a no-brainer,” said Pivac.
“We will go back to work and would like to finish the campaign on a good note.
Support for Pivac, who has had criticism thrown at him even in the early days of his reign, came from his England counterpart Eddie Jones.
“It has been a tough period for Wales,” said Jones. “They have been through a fantastic period with Warren.
“However, once you get to 850 caps, which is what they had today, you know there is some regeneration coming. If you were a supporter today you would be delighted by the spirit.
“Pivac is doing a good job there. He is taking some heat but you need to be kind to him.”
Pivac said it was comforting to hear those words but they should not cover over the errors that were made early in the match and which saw his side trail 20-9.
“We did not help ourselves with some of our carries,” he said. “It was a very physical game but we grew into it.
“It is a shame we conceded those 20 points in the first half but we played too much rugby and our management of the game was not terrific.
“We will be tough on ourselves. We are here to win Test matches which we have not done in recent weeks.”
Pivac, who said lock Jake Ball faces a long time on the sidelines with a shoulder injury and Leigh Halfpenny had a bad gash to the knee, believed, unlike opposite number Jones, that Tuilagi deserved the red card late on for a dangerous tackle on Wales wing George North.
He also liked the way his side had created that pressure to provoke such a desperate effort by Tuilagi.
“The last quarter of the game we turned on a lot of pressure,” he said.
“We made them concede a load of penalties, then a yellow and a red card.
“It is to the players’ credit that the created the pressure for that to happen and to score two tries.”
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says he hopes World Rugby review a first-half incident that saw his testicles grabbed by England prop Joe Marler.
Harlequins forward Marler, who has a chequered disciplinary history, escaped sanction following a first-half incident that went unnoticed by the match officials.
But it is likely to be looked at by the match citing commissioner, which could leave Marler in disciplinary trouble.
World Rugby’s punishment for what they term “testicle grabbing or twisting or squeezing” ranges from a suspension of 12 weeks to 24 weeks or more.
Jones said: “I’ve got 138 Tests for my country. If I react, I get a red card. It’s tough, isn’t it?
“Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it. Joe’s a good bloke, lots of things happen on a rugby field.
“It’s difficult as a captain these days because you can’t speak to a ref about anything, it feels.
“I look at the touch judge. Obviously he didn’t see what happened, and that’s fine. There’s a lot of footage that has been shown. It seems like a lot of supporters saw what happened.
“Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it. Joe’s a good bloke, lots of things happen on a rugby fieldAlun Wyn Jones
“It’s very frustrating that we talk a lot about TMOs (television match officials) and footage reviews, yet there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it happening.”
Jones added that he shook hands with Marler after the game.
Flanker Justin Tipuric scored two tries, while fly-half Dan Biggar also touched down as Wales capitalised on England finishing the match with 13 players on the field to outscore the hosts in the second-half.
But they remain without a Six Nations victory at Twickenham for eight years, despite scoring 30 points there for the first time.