Pivac ready for first step with Wales

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Having been appointed earlier in the year, and being an observer of Wales' Rugby World Cup campaign, Pivac was keen to get into action.

 

Pivac told walesonline.co.uk, "Everybody enjoys first games. Usually the players are up for it, they want to impress the new management. So hopefully we get a win first up.

 

"There's a lot of first happening. It's getting your head around the role, making sure you stay focused and doing, I guess, the position proud," he said.

 

"Following in behind Warren, those are big footsteps to walk in. We will do the best we can.

 

"We are looking at the three sides, South Africa, England and New Zealand, who finished ahead of us at the World Cup, what they have in common and what we do in the areas we need to make up ground on them," he said.

 

"We want to see if we can evolve the attack over the next few years, make sure we defend well but also strike when it's one and put teams away," he said.

 

Pivac said Wales would be using the week as part of their preparation for the Six Nations and as a result he regarded it as a bonus week. They had been able to get the players together and put in some of the foundations for how they wanted to play in the future.

 

"We are looking at players who can fit into the style of game we want to play moving along," he said.

 

One of those players is former Crusaders outside back Johnny McNicholl who will be making his debut.

 

"Johnny McNicholl brings a lot of x-factor. He's got a high work rate and gets around the park so it will be interesting to see how he goes in this particular match. Hopefully he gets a bit of ball," he said.

 

"We have got the roof closed so we should have good conditions and no excuse for us not to get plenty of ball into those wide channels when we have the opportunity. I would like to think he can show what he can do."

 

Part of the build-up to the game has been dominated by criticism of non-Welsh players being selected in the side, something Willis Halaholo reacted to when forced out of the squad due to a knee injury suffered playing for Cardiff Blues.

 

Pivac's reaction to that criticism was that when it came to selecting a player who arrived through the residency route it was his belief that they needed to be better than local players.

 

The public reaction towards a player like another New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes had been supportive.

 

"The man in the street thinks Hadleigh is a pretty good bloke, represents the country very well and puts his body on the line every time he takes the field.

 

"I don't think they ask too much more of the individual. I think that's what people want to see when you pull the jersey on, you do it proud.

 

"You fully buy into everything, this Welsh team's culture, the culture Warren [Gatland] has created when he selected Hadleigh," he said.

 

Having played for the Scarlets for three years McNicholl was aware of what was expected of him.

 

 

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