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The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation

Eddie Jones' England weren't far away from making the grade.

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'They're f**ked, basically': Ex-England player slams Pivac's Wales

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Former England out-half Andy Goode has stuck the boot in on Wales after their latest horror show under Wayne Pivac, losing last Saturday to Georgia in the Autumn Nations Series. It was eight months ago when the general consensus about the Welsh was that they had reached their lowest ebb when beaten at home by Italy in the Guinness Six Nations.

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However, despite taking the scalp of a weakened Springboks XV in the middle match of the July tour series they lost 1-2, the soft underbelly that currently exists under Pivac was again exposed by the Georgians in Cardiff and it has left Wales with a record of just three wins in eleven matches in 2022 heading in Saturday’s final outing versus the Wallabies.

It’s a demoralising fall-off in results but it’s a demise that was long predicted by The Rugby Pod, the weekly show co-hosted by ex-England out-half Goode and former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton. No punches were pulled regarding their latest assessment of the Welsh.

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“Wales, it’s appalling,” began Goode. “Sam Warburton said it, it starts at the top, the governance of the game, how it is run, there is no depth in Wales at all now in terms of the player pool, the regions are substantially underfunded – it’s a s**t show, let’s be honest. Wales at the minute is a s**t show.

“Jim Hamilton said it about five years ago, how bad are Wales? Well, it has taken this long and they are (bad), but they have a hero that can come back and save them and they have got one more shot this weekend in terms of playing against Australia. Bring back Alun Wyn (Jones). Where was Alun Wyn when you need him? He would have won that game for them single-handedly (against Georgia).

“You don’t want to go too hard on them. I have got a lot of time for Stephen Jones as a coach. Wayne Pivac, he is getting absolutely pelted left, right and centre for how he is managing the situation. Are the players playing for him, has he lost the whole changing room? Warren Gatland is on the scene doing a bit of Prime Video, floating around. I’m hearing people saying, ‘Just get Gats back for the World Cup now’ because Gats isn’t getting the New Zealand job. They’re f**ked, basically. Jim called it years ago.”

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That was the cue for Hamilton to join the conversion and double down on Goode’s opinion. “There are great people involved in Wales and they have had a great history, but I have always felt they have overachieved because their regions don’t do that well. There is not a huge amount of investment in the game and you look at the grassroots, your Pontypridds and your Pontypools, these old-school clubs that you don’t really hear of anymore.

“There are great people involved, Stephen Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Neil Jenkins, Jonathan Humphreys, who was my coach in Scotland, is a wicked bloke, a lovely bloke. But everything you are reading is Wayne Pivac isn’t going to have a job next week. They have got Australia, who are playing in their fifth game which is again ridiculous, they look absolutely bollocksed and that is a story for another day, but I do wonder whether Wayne Pivac sees it through.

“The question is who do you bring in? Stephen Jones is the obvious one to do that. You are playing for your country and one thing that Wales normally do even if you are struggling with your regions, when you pull on the red jersey it doesn’t matter…

“Fair play to Georgia. I said they played average, that is me being a bit harsh and that is me being a bit analytical about the game but what a f**king win that is, and they beat Italy as well in the summer. People are talking about the Six Nations and whether Georgia should come in. Well, there you go, it has been answered at the weekend – get Wales in tier two.”

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Goode then wrapped up the discussion, starting with the importance of Wales defeating Australia. “It’s do or die,” he figured. “Pivac is always going to have the toughest job ever replacing Warren Gatland at a time when Jim said over and over the Welsh squad is aging and that golden generation of players that were so successful, a lot of them have retired or are at the very end of their careers now and there isn’t a regeneration of players coming out of Wales now.

“That is not Wayne Pivac’s fault, the treadmill of players isn’t there. That is how the game is being run, that is how the regions are being run, that is how the academies are being run. Wayne Pivac is hamstrung by the lack of depth in players coming through.”

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