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Wales v Australia: Head coach Wayne Pivac accepts ‘rather a lot at stake’ in opposition to Wallabies

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Wayne Pivac took over as Wales head coach after the 2019 World Cup
Wayne Pivac took over as Wales head coach after the 2019 World Cup
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 26 November Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Cymru and updates on BBC Radio Wales; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says he knows the importance of the final autumn international against Australia with his position under scrutiny.

Pivac’s job has been questioned following the historic 13-12 defeat against Georgia last weekend, eight months after losing at home to Italy for the first time.

Wales host the Wallabies needing a win to help secure his long-term position.

“We know there’s a lot at stake, clearly,” said Pivac.

The Wales coach says his long-term planning for next year’s World Cup in France is going ahead with a trip to the country planned on Sunday.

When asked whether his job would be on the line should Wales fail to beat Australia, Pivac added: “Other people make those decisions.

“What we do internally is make sure we prepare the best we can. I can’t get sidetracked by those sort of things.

“At the end of the day, it’s the professional environment we’re in. We know there’s a lot at stake, clearly.

“We’re here rolling our sleeves up this week to try and get the result everyone wants.

“It’s very disappointing to be in this position. As head coach, the responsibility lies with me for a lot of the decision-making.

“I don’t shy away from that. What we do is look at what we can control.

“That’s been every day we come in this week, maximising how we get the team right mentally and physically.

“That’s certainly been the focus of everyone this week. Players have been very honest in reviews and gone out and been physical in training.”

Pivac says the Welsh Rugby Union will conduct a review after the autumn series, which he insisted was normal practice.

The New Zealander says he has spoken with bosses at the governing body this week following the Georgia defeat.

“It’s just the standard, focusing on the here and now,” added Pivac.

“We review campaigns at the end of the campaign, not during.

“So it’s just standard things discussing what we’re doing this week and how we can improve the performance, normal conversations we’d have.

“We have weekly contact in every camp and this week has been no different.”

Pivac’s overall record since taking over from Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup is 13 wins, 19 defeats and a draw.

There has been some success with the 2021 Six Nations title and Pivac becoming the first Wales coach to achieve a Test victory over the Springboks in South Africa.

Wales, though, have lost eight out of 11 games in 2022, with victories coming against Scotland, South Africa and Argentina.

Pivac’s side began the autumn campaign with a 55-23 hammering by New Zealand, before recovering to defeat Argentina 20-13. That was followed by the Georgia humbling.

Pivac accepted criticism over Wales’ lack of consistency after watching the squad repeat what happened earlier in the year against Italy.

“100% (I can see that),” said Pivac.

“If I was on the outside, without all the information, on the straight results, I’d be asking the same questions.”

Wales start the 2023 Six Nations at home to world-ranked number one side Ireland on Saturday, 4 February.

Wales open the World Cup campaign against Fiji in France next September before matches against Portugal, Australia and Georgia.

Despite the current turmoil, Pivac insists he is continuing with World Cup preparation and will be travelling to France on Sunday.

“There’s always the big picture in the background. Martyn Williams (Wales team manager) has been in France [in the] first few days of this week,” said Pivac.

“Things go on, there’s been a big conference in London the last few days for chief executives and coaches that aren’t involved in matches this week.

“Things go on for World Cup planning in the background. We’re off to France on Sunday. Nothing changes in that respect.

“All the bases have been signed off. Now we go to the four pool venues and quarter-final venues.

“It’s a whistle-stop tour. You have to select hotels, training venues, recovery pools, all those sorts of things. There’s a team of people that go.”

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