Under-pressure Wales coach Pivac says no discussion over his future

(Reuters) - Wales coach Wayne Pivac said there had been no discussion over his future despite a run of five successive defeats and the surprise departure of his defence coach at the weekend.

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Byron Hayward left his post after what Pivac said had been a “tough and difficult conversation” in the wake of a poor Six Nations campaign in which Wales lost four matches out of five and finished second-bottom of the standings.

“But there has been no conversation around my future and the future of any of the (other) coaches after these results,” he told a news conference on Monday.

New Zealand-born Pivac, 58, said his objective remained to build a side capable of winning the next World Cup in 2023.

“Obviously we’re not entirely happy with the results but, from my point of view, the pressure is always on because we are very competitive and we want to win all the time,” he said.

Pivac took over from Warren Gatland after the last World Cup in Japan, where Wales were semi-finalists, and began the Six Nations with a 42-0 victory over Italy on Feb. 1, only to then lose to Ireland, France and England.

“We were three tries each with England and with France in games we could have won and I don’t think going into the (COVID-19 enforced) break, we were too far off with the changes we were making.”

But after the resumption of test rugby last month, Wales lost a warm-up test to France and finished their Six Nations schedule with a home defeat by Scotland.

“Clearly we are very disappointed with the way we’ve come out of COVID,” Pivac added.

Former Wales flyhalf Hayward, who joined Pivac’s coaching staff in November last year, departed by mutual agreement.

“The decision in relation to Byron was one I took and I informed the necessary people at the time... I can see that it looks a mess, but what matters is staying focused on a daily basis,” Pivac earlier told British media.

“The decision was made because we were not heading in the right direction with the defence. Byron has not been made a scapegoat because we always put the team first. It was a tough call, but I stand by it.”

Wales will now meet Ireland, Georgia and England in the Autumn Nations Cup this month.

“We’ll look to make sure we have improved performances over this series and then the acid test will be the next Six Nations. We’ll have to be on our game then for sure,” he added at Monday’s news conference.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Additional reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris