After announcing his team to face South Africa in Pretoria, which includes a new cap in Leicester Tigers flanker Tommy Reffell, the Wales head coach admitted he has focused all his attentions on the opening game when he hopes his side can make the most of some potential rustiness in the home camp.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves, and we’ve got a job to do over the course of the 80 minutes, but both teams have just come together,” pointed out Pivac.
“A lot of our players haven’t had a lot of rugby because of the performances of our clubs in URC. They (Springboks) would have come together from an array of countries.
“For us, it is probably a level playing field, whereas at other times of the season it may not be, especially when we come together for our autumn series. We are excited by the fact that it is pretty much a level playing field in terms of time together as a squad, so it makes the first Test a vital one for both teams.
“Everybody does their homework and we are no different. We have looked at South Africa and know what we think is coming.
“We’ve looked at the last time that we played them when it was in wet conditions. We are at altitude in the first Test, and sea level in the last Test, so we factor in those things and see how we have trained in the conditions that we have been in.
“There are a couple of guys missing in our side, but we’ve got to focus totally on this first Test, on ourselves and make sure we get our game in order.”
The Welsh side will have six players who were in South Africa with the British & Irish Lions last summer, with a further two on the bench, but Pivac wants them to doesn’t believe what happened 12 months ago will be relevant this weekend.
“It’s a different team with three other countries missing, so it’s not really that relevant for me. It’s about our group and how we can improve our performance from our last outing, which was a poor one,” said Pivac.
“It’s about the players coming together as a Welsh group. Clearly, there is motivation for those that were on the Lions tour, they will want to play well and know what is coming.
“It’s great having that experience from some of the players to share, but ultimately it’s the XV that have to get it right and have to play well, particularly in that first 20 minutes.
“We have to make sure that we don’t let South Africa get away on us, we have to get oursleves into the game and accustomed to the conditions.”