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Pivac excited for huge autumn campaign

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac

Pivac excited for huge autumn campaign

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac looked ahead to a huge autumn series after watching two of his team’s upcoming rivals in New Zealand and South Africa engage in a thrilling, see-saw battle.

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Both the All Blacks and Springboks will face Wales in Cardiff in the next two months while Fiji and Australia will also be arriving at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

Pivac is eager for his team to face the best sides from the southern hemisphere at the end of 2021 to help Wales prepare for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

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Wales will face New Zealand on October 30 before South Africa, Fiji and then Australia take to the field in the Welsh capital over the following three weekends.

The New Zealand game is already sold out with tickets for the South Africa, Fiji and Australia games also selling strongly.

“We’re very excited,” Pivac told BBC’s Scrum V programme.

“It wasn’t a lot of fun playing without crowds. Let’s be honest, no-one enjoyed that. We’re really, really looking forward to getting back to the stadium with full crowds.

“The All Blacks are in town and unfortunately we weren’t able to play them last summer due to Covid.

“They’re the best team in the world and No 1 at the moment.

“It’s unfortunate we won’t have the English-based players for that game, but that gives an opportunity for the local players. Some of them haven’t played in front of a crowd yet.

“We’re really looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be as tough as it’s ever been. It’s a good test on us for how we want to play. We’re building towards the World Cup in 2023 and we’re halfway there.

“It’s a great time for us to come up against the southern hemisphere boys.”

Wales are the current Guinness Six Nations champions

It’s going to be as tough as it’s ever been. It’s a good test on us for how we want to play. We’re building towards the World Cup in 2023 and we’re halfway there

Pivac continued: “At the World Cup we’ve got Fiji and Australia in our pool so those two games are massive mentally for us.

“Form is everything. There are a few injuries out there at the moment so we will have a few players who won’t be available to us.

“We’ve looked at about 50-odd players in the last two years so it’s time for us to nail down 40 to 45 players of which 33 will come from that group for the World Cup.

“We’re looking forward to naming our squad, getting back into training, and taking on the southern hemisphere teams.”

To buy tickets for Wales’ autumn Tests, click here.

New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are all currently in action in the Rugby Championship.

On Saturday, the All Blacks edged past the Springboks 19-17 after a late match-winning penalty from Jordie Barrett sealed victory.

Both teams scored a try apiece with Will Jordan crossing for the All Blacks early on after a fine break by all-action hooker Codie Taylor.

Sbu Nkosi responded for the Springboks after New Zealand didn’t deal with a high kick and after that, the two side’s respective goalkickers took over.

Barrett kicked a conversion and four penalties while Handre Pollard added 12 points of his own from the tee.

Barrett’s kick to win the match and with it the Rugby Championship title was far from easy, but he struck it with aplomb to give his team the win and yet more silverware.

The two teams will meet once again on Saturday even if the destination of the title has already been sealed.

Australia beat Argentina 27-8 in the other Rugby Championship match.

New Zealand return to Principality Stadium to face Wales for the first time since 2017 on October 30

We’re looking forward to naming our squad, getting back into training, and taking on the southern hemisphere teams

After the tournament finishes, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will all head to Europe for clashes with Wales and other northern hemisphere countries.

New Zealand remain undefeated in 2021 while the Springboks have now lost three matches in row after back-to-back defeats by Australia.

But All Blacks head coach Ian Foster thinks his team can still improve.

He said: “The performance was not what we wanted.

“We were forced into a lot of errors because of pressure but we showed a determination to keep fighting and got there in the end.

“It’s really significant for us. South Africa are a team we respect greatly. Hats off to Jordie for that last kick.”

Looking ahead to the next two years and the build-up to the next World Cup, Pivac added: “Certainly it’s about giving people a fair trial if you like.

“We want to have a good look at the players out there who have the skillset and can play the game we want to play leading into the World Cup.

“There is a lot to do and a lot of people behind the scenes doing a lot of good work.”

Ticket details for Wales’ autumn fixtures:

Wales v New Zealand, Principality Stadium – Saturday 30th October SOLD-OUT

Wales v South Africa, Principality Stadium – Saturday 6th November CAT A £75 (£37.50) / CAT B £65 (£32.50) / CAT C £45 (£22.50)

Wales v Fiji, Principality Stadium – Sunday 14th November CAT A £35 (£17.50) / CAT B £25 (£12.50) / CAT C £20 (£10)

Wales v Australia, Principality Stadium – Saturday 20th November CAT A £75 (£37.50) / CAT B £65 (£32.50) / CAT C £45 (£22.50)

For the first time, concession tickets are available in ALL categories for ALL matches across the series (shown in brackets).

To buy tickets, click here.

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