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Wayne Pivac Insists Young Wales Props Will Find Their Feet

Wayne Pivac insists he will keep faith with the young props who were given a testing time in Wales’ defeat at Twickenham.

Dillon Lewis, 24, and Leon Brown, 23, were used on the tight-head, while 27-year-old Rob Evans was replaced on the loose-head by 22-year-old Rhys Carre as Wales mounted a fightback on the scoreboard before losing 33-30.

But Pivac’s pack still appeared vulnerable in the scrums – a feature throughout their Six Nations campaign has been the penalties given away – and the coach admits there is work to be done by himself and forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys.

He said: “It’s something that Jon [Humphreys, forwards coach] has focused on, scrummaging square and to the letter of the law. We’re trying to avoid giving away penalties.

“It’s a work in progress. We’ve got some young props that we’re putting a lot of faith in with Leon Brown and Dillon Lewis.

“Leon coming on today had to dig deep and I thought he did really well. I think those guys have got big futures in the game and we’re just going to keep working hard in those areas.

“We’ll be tough on ourselves and we are obviously looking to improve. But we’re here to win Test matches and we haven’t done that in recent weeks.

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“So we need to make sure that we have a very good look at the game and take the learnings from it. We’ve got a game against Scotland and that’s an important game for us to continue to build the way we want to play the game.”

Saturday’s final game against Scotland is scheduled to go ahead as planned, despite the France v Ireland match becoming is the latest major sporting event to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As it stands, the Wales v Scotland match is the only game in the final round of the Six Nations due to go ahead as originally scheduled, after the Italy v England game in Rome was postponed last week.

Sports governing bodies in the United Kingdom attended a meeting with broadcasters and Government officials on Monday to discuss contingency plans in the event that advice around coronavirus changes here in the coming days or weeks.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said there was “no medical rationale” as things stood to postpone sporting fixtures within the UK, or to play them behind closed doors.

“The basic message coming out of today is let’s not panic, let’s monitor the situation and carry on as normal,” he said.

“It was a very good meeting. The start of dialogue together. There was no medical rationale for cancelling events or behind closed doors yet, but clearly it is a moving situation so we’ll keep talking and go from there.”

While England have no game this weekend, their prop Joe Marler has been cited for his bizarre grabbing of Alun Wyn Jones’ groin at Twickenham.

The Harlequins prop could now face a suspension as long as 24 weeks after Six Nations bosses convened a disciplinary hearing in Dublin on Thursday.

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Marler’s England colleague Courtney Lawes will also face a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, having been cited for a dangerous tackle on Jones.

Manu Tuilagi’s automatic hearing following a red card will also be held at the same time, with the centre also set to discover if he will be suspended.

Six Nations disciplinary chiefs confirmed Marler would face a hearing, charged with infringing laws on sportsmanship, with the Quins front-rower called into question over allegedly “twisting or squeezing genitals”.

England coach Eddie Jones could still find himself in trouble and open to a charge of bringing the game into disrepute after he rubbished a clutch of refereeing calls and suggested Ben O’Keefe was favouring Wales.

Jones claimed “at the end we were 13 against 16 and that’s hard”, and branded Tuilagi’s red card “absolute rubbish”.


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