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'Clueless': Pivac's Wales squad slammed over omission of URC's turnover machine

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Wayne Pivac named his 33-man squad for Wales’ upcoming tour of South Africa which has not gone down well with Welsh fans on Twitter.

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The contentious decision was the exclusion of 23-year-old Jac Morgan who has been one of the standout No 7s in the United Rugby Championship. The Kiwi head coach selected Taine Basham, Josh Navidi, and the uncapped Tommy Reffell as his options at openside flankers and excluded the Ospreys’ openside.

However, it was Pivac’s explanation for the omission that has drawn the ire of Welsh fans as he suggested Morgan needed to bulk up and work on his ‘physicality over the ball’ despite being one of the leaders at winning turnovers in the URC.

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“I had a good chat to Jac around what we want him to do in the off-season and that’s a big work-on in terms of what he can do in the strength and conditioning area,” Pivac said of the decision.

“The game’s a really physical game. Where we’re going, South Africa, there are a lot of very big men. We’ve asked him to improve, if he can, in that area of physicality when he’s over the ball, being even stronger than he is.

“He’ll go away and work hard at his game, I know that. He’s a young guy and he’s desperate to get back into the side. It’s all ahead of him.”

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Many fans believed Leicester Tigers openside Tommy Reffell was deserving of his call-up, and so made comparisons between Jac Morgan and Taine Basham who are of a similar size.

Josh Gardner highlighted that Morgan has the most turnovers in the URC while Basham ranks 46th in the competition.

Pivac was labelled a ‘charlatan’ by another Welsh fan who suggested the coach might be in his last season as the national head coach.

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The harshest reaction came from journalist Siân Lloyd who said the squad shows ‘zero ambition’, was ‘clueless’ and asked ‘does Pivac actually understand rugby?’

Welsh rugby writer Owain Jones highlighted the history of Wales in South Africa which has not been great, and suggested that expectations are now so low that the side might just surprise some people.

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