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What Jamie Roberts would do to fix Wayne Pivac's struggling Wales

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former Wales midfielder Jamie Roberts has identified what Wales need to do in the Autumn Nations Cup to snap their worrying five-game losing streak under Wayne Pivac – keep changes to a minimum and start winning collisions.


Wales’ run of form left them beaten by Scotland last Saturday in Llanelli and consigned to a desultory fifth place Six Nations finish 19 months after they won the Grand Slam in Warren Gatland’s final championship.

Gatland went on to guide Wales to a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in Japan last November but they have struggled since Pivac took charge, a Cardiff win over Italy in February being followed by defeats to Ireland, France, England, France and the Scots.

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Jamie Roberts and Dylan Hartley co-host the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload
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Jamie Roberts and Dylan Hartley co-host the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload

They next face Ireland in Dublin on November 13 and while disgruntled fans are heaping criticism on Pivac, Roberts has outlined his quick-fix solutions that can get Wales back firing again.

Appearing as co-host on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload, Roberts said: “I don’t see him [Pivac] making too many changes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the likes of Callum Sheedy, Ioan Lloyd given the opportunity but around an experienced core of players.

“He probably needs to role the dice a little bit with some younger players. I don’t think the core of the squad will change. There are some wonderful, established, experienced international players there to do the job for Wales who haven’t had too much rugby.


“So over the next six weeks, hopefully we will see those players back fully fit and fully firing because they weren’t good last week against Scotland. It was a poor performance admittedly from the lads and they need to change that run of form pretty quickly.

“They are going to put more width on the game, there is no doubt about that. Teams that Wayne Pivac has coached in the past, they want to put width on the game, they want to keep athletic back rowers in those 15-metre channels to give them opportunities on the ball in space.

“The problem for Wales at the minute revolves around the collisions and contact area, they just got no change there from Scotland who were brilliant. It’s the only time since I started playing Test rugby and since then that I was quite apprehensive about Scotland coming to Wales,” continued Roberts.

“The last time Scotland won in Wales was 2002 and before the match I just had this sneaky feeling. I thought Wales would win but just in the back of my mind, just the quality that Scotland have built over the last couple of seasons and what Gregor has built there, I was a little bit nervous and unfortunately that became reality.


“Wayne wants to add a bit more width to the game, they want to play with pace and utilise the skillset of the players. However, in the northern hemisphere, the weather tends to be wet, the pitches heavy and when you come up against linespeed, you can’t do that unless you win collisions, get quick ball and you go forward.

“Wales just at the minute are not doing that. In the contact area it wasn’t good enough at the weekend and they will be looking to right those wrongs looking into the Ireland game because Ireland, probably more than any team, come after that contact area.”


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