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Wayne Pivac: Coach counts on Wales’ cap-record experience against France

Wayne Pivac (left) with Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, who was won 136 caps for his country
Guinness Six Nations: Wales v France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Wayne Pivac hopes experience will hold the key for his Wales side – the most capped in Six Nations history – when they face France on Saturday.

Wales’ starting line-up in Cardiff will have a total 859 caps, the most any country has fielded in the competition.

By contrast, France will have just 234 caps to their name as their young side bid for a third win from three matches.

“I think in tight games, in pressure moments, you can’t beat experience,” said Wales head coach Pivac.

“We’ve got some players there who have been in these tight games in the last few years and have come out on the right side of the ledger.

“We know what it takes and hopefully it won’t come down to one play at the end of the game but with these games and the way that they’ve gone over the last few years who knows.

“We are very happy to have that experience in the team.”

Despite their wealth of experience, Wales have had a mixed start to the defence of their Six Nations title, thrashing Italy first up but then losing in Ireland.

Meanwhile, a relative paucity of Test caps has not hindered France, who have shown signs they might finally fulfil their enormous potential with victories over England and Italy.

Fabien Galthie’s emphasis on youth would suggest Les Bleus are building towards the 2023 World Cup, which will be held in France.

And while it may be a seasoned Wales taking to the field at the Principality Stadium this weekend, Pivac is also planning for his first World Cup.

“Everybody here understands that it’s about the here and now, we need to get results but there is an eye on the future,” said the former Scarlets coach.

“In some cases, we’ve selected with that eye on the future and you’re not seeing the finished product.

“It’s hard. The public want to see results and we want to give them that but we have to develop players in the process.”

Wales aim to put right some of the wrongs – Pivac

Saracens centre Nick Tompkins, who will start against France, and Scarlets back Johnny McNicholl, who will be on the bench, have both made their Wales debuts during this Six Nations.

There is set to be a third new cap on Saturday, with Wasps lock Will Rowlands named on Wales’ bench.

If Rowlands comes on, there is a fair chance it will be to partner Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Jones embodies the gulf in experience between the sides, having made 136 appearances for Wales, more than the entire French pack’s total of 101.

“Hopefully it [experience] will mean a lot this weekend,” said Pivac.

“If we can start well, which is something we’re trying to achieve in both halves, we’ve been a bit slow out of the blocks, then that experience will hopefully come through for us and will test some of the inexperienced players in their side.

“They come full of confidence. We’ve had two weeks to prepare for this game. It’s been about us wanting to get back out there, right some of the wrongs from the Ireland game.

“We know we’ve got a better performance in us. We’re very pleased to be back at home, with a sell-out crowd, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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