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Wales v Italy - Guinness 6 Nations

Nick Tompkins celebrates scoring a try on debut.

Pivac pleased with tournament debut

A first Six Nations bonus point in seven matches and a first clean sheet in the Championship since 1974 – no wonder Wayne Pivac was a happy man after his tournament debut.

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There was a crowd of more than 68,000 packed into Principality Stadium to watch the defending champions take on the Italians and the new coach, and his new-look side, didn’t disappoint them. After racing into a 21-0 lead at half-time, they add the same number in the second half to secure all five points.

“It was a pretty good performance. We got the five points we were after and I’m pleased to have done that. It wasn’t easy, we had to work hard for it,” said Pivac.

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“I’m also very pleased to have held them scoreless. That doesn’t happen often at this level of the game and I’m happy for Byron Hayward coming in.

“The boys were working very hard and still looking to score more points even after the 80th minute. They want to play a bit more and, at times, we achieved that. At times we might have overplayed and there is still plenty to work on.”

Ireland are up next in Dublin, when Alun Wyn Jones’ side will be chasing a Welsh record ninth successive Six Nations win. The triumph over the Italian extended their record of home wins to seven in a row.

Pivac is hopeful that Elliot Dee and Owen Watkin will be fit for consideration for the game at the Aviva Stadium next weekend, while Liam Williams is also in the frame. That will strengthen his group, but he knows there are things that will have to improve.

“There is plenty to work on which is pleasing at this stage of the competition. The scrum was a bit messy at times and there were times when I thought we had numbers defensively, but we were holding rather than pressing,” added Pivac.

“We were caught out quite a lot in the first half in terms of our reaction to a ball going out. There were a couple of quick throw-ins, which meant we had a jagged defensive line and they got too much yardage on us.

“So it’s just little things like that, making sure we’re awake and we don’t expose ourselves like that again.”

The sight of Josh Adams becoming the first Welsh player to score a hat-trick in a Five or Six Nations match at home since Maurice Richards back in 1969 against England was another aspect that please the new coach. Having been the leading try scorer at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Adams now boasts14 tries in 22 games for Wales.

“I liked his last try. He could have easily just parked up out on his wing, but after more than 80 minutes he was in close to the ruck looking for the ball and using his strength to get over the try line,” added Pivac.

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