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Wayne Pivac to embark on World Cup planning mission amid questions over future

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Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will travel to France on Sunday on a World Cup reconnaissance mission as speculation continues to swirl over his future in the job.

It remains to be seen whether Pivac will remain in charge beyond the Autumn Nations Series, which Wales conclude against Australia on Saturday.

Heading into the Wallabies clash, Wales have won just three Tests from 11 starts this year under his stewardship.

Those defeats include humiliating home defeats to Italy and Georgia, and Pivac accepts that if he were outside the camp watching “without having all the facts” he would be criticizing some of the rugby played by Wales.

Pivac will visit Wales’ four World Cup group stage venues – Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon and Nantes – and a potential quarter-final base of Marseille, with their tournament opener against Fiji in just 10 months.

But there are many in Wales who believe that whatever happens this weekend, his time may only be up three years after taking over from fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland.

“There’s always a bigger picture in the background,” Pivac said.

Player reaction this week has been nothing but faultless, really

Wales manager Wayne Pivac

“Things are happening for World Cup planning in the background. We are leaving for France on Sunday. Nothing changes in this regard.

When asked if he felt his players still played for him, Pivac added: “That’s a good question. We are always mindful of body language.

“We are looking at things that are very important. If I felt that was the case then that would be a discussion to be had, but the reaction of the players this week has been nothing short of faultless, really.

“Guys like Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn (Jones), who have been around for a very long time, are talking about us, we’ve been in this situation before and we know what we have to do.

“We have to roll up our sleeves and start over, and that’s certainly the attitude of the players that I know of when it comes to training sessions and team meetings that we attend.”

Wales’ results this year have proved wildly erratic, with regular defeats accompanied by a first victory over the Springboks in South Africa and beating another Rugby Championship side in Argentina.

Wales also won the 2021 Six Nations title under Pivac, although for many that is now a distant memory.

“I’m under pressure every week, and it’s self-imposed pressure for the team to do well,” he added.

“If I was away not having all the facts, but seeing this team play, then I would criticize some of the rugby we played. There’s no doubt about that.

“History proves that it’s not always easy, but it’s about how you handle those situations.

“This week has been a classic back-to-the-wall week, and we want to rectify last week’s performance. For one player, they rolled up their sleeves and got stuck.

“Seven days in this sport is a long time, and we’ve seen what happened before when we bounced back.

“We are working desperately hard to make sure we get consistency in our game. We are our own worst enemy right now.

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org