Rugby

Shambolic Wales leave boss Wayne Pivac on the brink as Georgia revel in their greatest victory

Shambolic Wales leave boss Wayne Pivac on the brink as Georgia revel in their greatest victory – the WRU should act decisively but that looks unlikely

  • A 13-12 home loss vs Georgia was the darkest day in recent Welsh rugby history
  • The result surely leaves under-pressure head coach Wayne Pivac on the brink 
  • But beating Wales in Cardiff is cause for celebration for the battling Lelos side 

The drinks were still flowing at Georgia’s Cardiff hotel on Sunday morning. 

Sat around a table with a bottle of scotch at its centre, head coach Levan Maisashvili and president Soso Tkemaladze contemplated the greatest result in their country’s rugby history.

Georgia’s party had gone on long into the night. The voices of their players and staff were hoarse. The empty look in assistant Paul Tito’s eyes told its own story. The Lelos deserved to celebrate. For Wales, the post-mortem had already begun.

The drinks were still flowing at Georgia’s Cardiff hotel on Sunday morning after beating Wales

A 13-12 home defeat by Georgia was the darkest day in recent Welsh rugby history. Wayne Pivac’s side have lost to both Italy and Georgia this year. Pivac’s position is now close to untenable.

He has won only three of 11 games in 2022. It is not good enough and the Welsh Rugby Union should act decisively, although that is unlikely. It is not just the results Pivac has presided over.

Some of the performances have been shambolic. Italy in the Six Nations was bad, but Georgia was worse. Wales’ rugby was rudderless and it looked as if Pivac’s players had lost faith in him.

WRU chief executive Steve Phillips must surely now be after a phone number for Scott Robertson who is also on England’s radar to succeed Eddie Jones. Wales can’t continue like this.

‘We have got to stick together as a team,’ said No 8 Taulupe Faletau. ‘We’ve shown we can bounce back from low points like this.’ 

But for Wales, the post-mortem has already begun after a shambolic and disappointing defeat

But for Wales, the post-mortem has already begun after a shambolic and disappointing defeat 

Frankly, Wales should not be hitting such lows. Where they go from here is uncertain. But for Georgia, the path should be clear. Their victory at Principality Stadium followed a home win over Italy in July.

It was yet further proof, as if it were needed, that the Lelos must be given a shot at the Six Nations via a promotion and relegation play-off.

‘We are like a dog that goes hunting and then gets let off the lead,’ Maisashvili told Sportsmail in Cardiff, the morning after the night before.

‘We are hungry. The players are my mates, my life. I have known some of them since they were six-years-old when they couldn’t tie their shoelaces or go to the toilet. That togetherness is our strength. 

‘It is how we can beat tier one countries. We can play for each other much better than any other team in the world.’

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is surely on the brink of the sack after another awful showing

At a Welsh Rugby Writers’ Association event last week, Maisashvili said Georgia’s win over Italy had seen his team ‘knock on the door’ of Six Nations inclusion.

‘I think we have knocked the door down now,’ Maisashvili added. ‘But what is going to change? I’m tired of speaking about it but we need more games against tier-one countries.

‘Italy was the first tier-one country we beat, Wales the second. I promise you there will be a third. Every year we start with the Rugby Europe competition – there is a big difference. It kills us. What does that give us? It’s a joke. 

‘Rugby is not only 10 countries. We had eight players out with injury against Wales and a 19-year-old tight-head. For 40 minutes, Wales did not score.’

Tkemaladze added: ‘We’ve had two games against tier-one countries and two wins. That says it all.’

Eastern European side Georgia proved they deserve a shot at promotion to the Six Nations

Eastern European side Georgia proved they deserve a shot at promotion to the Six Nations

Georgia’s greatest day must be the start of something and not a false dawn. For Maisashvili, it was another moment of joy. In 2021, he contracted Covid-19 in South Africa and was given a one per cent chance of survival.

‘This means everything to me,’ Maisashvili said. ‘When I woke up from my coma I said I want to get back coaching for my country and for my family. The players are my soldiers. This result will give us huge confidence. Nothing is not achievable now.’

For Georgia, the only way is up. Wales, meanwhile, are plummeting like a stone. Former internationals Jamie Roberts and Sam Warburton rightly slammed their latest effort.

The WRU’s poor governance remains a huge issue off the field. On it, the country’s national side is in severe trouble. A loss to struggling Australia on Saturday could be the end for Pivac.

‘I think there needs to be serious questions asked about the coaching side,’ Roberts told Amazon Prime. ‘Wales have lost to Italy and Georgia this year – it’s inexcusable.’ 


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