Neil Jenkins says ‘there is no hiding place’ for Wales in their Autumn Nations Series final against Australia.
Wales face the Wallabies on Saturday seven days after losing at home to Georgia – a result that put pressure on head coach Wayne Pivac.
Pivac has won just 13 of his 33 Tests in charge since taking over from fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup, and is set for a huge encounter against fellow Kiwi Dave Rennie, who has overseen a disappointing tour for Australia.
And while there have been major highs, like winning the 2021 Six Nations title and defeating the Springboks in South Africa, Georgia’s success against Wales came just eight months after Italy also triumphed in Cardiff.
Wales have won their last three Tests against Australia but even a fourth victory on the rebound may not be enough to assuage Pivac’s critics.
“It’s tough – I’m not going to lie,” said Wales assistant coach Jenkins, their former great kicker.
“It’s incredibly disappointing, which probably says so lightly. It’s one of the darkest days, but you have to come back.
“We have another test match on Saturday, and it’s important that we show up and face it.
“We don’t want to be in that position. We don’t want Wayne in that position. None of us want to be in that position.
“It’s important that collectively – the players, the staff, everyone – come together quickly, which I think we did, and show up on Saturday.
“There is no hiding place. We have to be ready to leave on Saturday.
“It’s awful, absolutely awful. I’m a passionate Welshman. I desperately want Wales to succeed.
“It could be winks, I want Wales to win and succeed. Whether I’m involved or not doesn’t matter to me, I want Wales to succeed.
“I want to win Test matches. That’s what I’m here for, to succeed and win. I’m desperate to win – starting on Saturday.”
Georgia, courtesy of substitute Luka Matkava’s 78th-minute penalty, followed fellow underdogs Romania (1988), Canada (1993) and Samoa (2012) to embarrass Wales at home.
And Pivac’s cause against Australia is not helped by the game falling outside of World Rugby’s autumn fixtures window.
This means players not based in Wales – the list includes Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit, Saracens center Nick Tompkins and Exeter striker Christ Tshiunza – are unavailable.
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