Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
3 minute read
4 Jul 2022
5:21 pm

Wales must work on discipline ahead of second Test, says coach Pivac

Ross Roche

"Four yellow cards is a pretty tough one to take, but that’s how it panned out, and unfortunately we didn’t get across the line.”

Referee Nika Amashukeli from Georgia sends off Dewi Lake of Wales during the match against the Springboks at Loftus on Saturday. Picture: Gallo Images

After coming agonisingly close to upsetting the Springboks in the opening Test at Loftus, Wales will be aiming to improve their discipline ahead of the second Test in Bloemfontein this weekend.

Having held an 18-3 lead at half-time, the visitors, who had seen captain Dan Biggar sent to the sin bin for a high tackle just before the break, conceded a further three yellow cards in the final 15 minutes of the game, allowing the hosts to fight back and sneak a win after the full-time hooter.

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“It was very disappointing for the players and staff alike. We did what we wanted to in the first half, our plans worked well. We put a lot of pressure on the Springboks and they made some early errors and we were able to capitalise and score some points,” said Wales coach Wayne Pivac.

“The biggest thing going into half-time was to focus on our discipline. I think we had given away nine penalties in that first half.

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“It’s hard playing the world champions in their backyard with 15 vs 15, and we made a pretty good fist of that, but we will have to go away and look at our discipline.

“Four yellow cards is a pretty tough one to take but that’s how it panned out and unfortunately we didn’t get across the line.”

Diplomatic skipper

Asked whether he thought his team had been hard done by in terms of the refereeing, Biggar was diplomatic, declining to say too much while admitting they did feel some calls didn’t go their way.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves first. We probably gave some easy ins and easy decisions with some of those penalties. It is difficult to say too much when you are emotional. I think when we go back and have a look at it we will be better placed to make a judgement on it,” said Biggar.

“But certainly some of them felt a little bit harsh. But conversely when you give a team like South Africa an in and a bit of momentum, it’s very difficult to stop and it’s probably quite easy to referee them as well.”

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Biggar himself had a mixed night, originally starting well before struggling after the break, and along with his first-half yellow card, he missed a crucial conversion and gave away the match-winning penalty in the end.

“It was just one of those nights. I have been around the game long enough to have had some good moments and that’s probably a disappointing moment not to have nailed off,” admitted Biggar.

“But as a group we are incredibly proud of the effort we have put in. I don’t think anybody would have predicted how the game panned out. So we are really proud of the effort, but it was a definite missed opportunity.

“I will say it was an absolute privilege to play out there. It was one of the best grounds I have ever played at, so for us to put up a show in the first Test at altitude – with that crowd against us, against the world champions – there is no doubt we can get better next weekend.”