Wayne Pivac marked his first competitive game as Wales head coach with a 42-0 Guinness Six Nations victory over Italy in Cardiff.
Wing Josh Adams scored a hat-trick and Wales ran in five tries to begin the defence of their title with a bonus-point win.
Here, the PA news agency looks at Pivac’s big day as he eased himself into the shoes of his fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland.
Playing wing George North at 13 was possibly Pivac’s biggest call as Saracens centre Nick Tompkins was kept in reserve. Pivac gave Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl his Test debut and Tomos Williams was entrusted with the scrum-half spot as Gareth Davies nursed a knock. Williams repaid Pivac’s faith with a superb performance, but his mobile pack worryingly struggled to secure possession in the second half.
So-called ‘Warrenball’ brought Wales much success over the last decade or more. Rivals were often bludgeoned into submission. But Pivac’s success at the Scarlets was based on a more enterprising approach and the hope is that a more exciting brand of rugby awaits Wales fans. The early signs were positive as Wales were determined to move quick ball and get their dangerous wingers into the action.
Aside from skills coach Neil Jenkins, Pivac has put a new support team in place. Attack coach Stephen Jones was at the World Cup in Japan, but that was a last-minute necessity after Rob Howley was sent home in disgrace. Byron Hayward (defence coach) will be delighted at ‘nilling’ Italy, while the addition of former British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton as a breakdown technical advisor could prove a masterstroke.
Italy – without a Six Nations win since 2015 – were never going to be the toughest of opponents and Wales’ championship is about to get harder. Much harder. Next week’s trip to take on an Ireland side wounded by World Cup failure is followed by France and the return of Wales’ former defence guru Shaun Edwards to Cardiff. A Twickenham away-day against England and the visit of Scotland concludes their programme.
Wales produced a confident first-half show as Pivac began the process of moving on from the Gatland era. Pivac wants to introduce a more expansive brand of rugby and it was evident that the players have bought into his message. Wales did not press the foot down on the throttle fully in the second period, but the picking up of a bonus point ensured it was job done.
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