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Wales coach Pivac critical of England’s Six Nations bluster

Lewis Ludlam said there was “hate” between England and Scotland ahead of their Calcutta Cup clash.

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Wayne Pivac urged a toning down of pre-match exchanges (David Davies/PA)

Wayne Pivac urged a toning down of pre-match exchanges (David Davies/PA)

Wayne Pivac urged a toning down of pre-match exchanges (David Davies/PA)

Wales boss Wayne Pivac believes the use of words like “hate” in pre-match rhetoric is unnecessary.

England flanker Lewis Ludlam upped the ante ahead of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland when he said: “They hate us and we hate them.”

Ludlam bristled at a perception that Celtic nations play with more passion than England.

Wayne Pivac says there was no need for Lewis Ludlam's comments
Wayne Pivac says there was no need for Lewis Ludlam’s comments (Adam Davy/PA)

“I disagree actually,” Ludlam said. “We are emotionally there. They hate us and we hate them. There is no difference.

“It’s just another place to go. It’s a battle. It’s going to be a war and it’s something we are excited for and we will be ready for.”

Ahead of England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against France last weekend – which they lost 24-17 – head coach Eddie Jones said Les Bleus would face “brutal physicality.”

Jones has also described Scotland as “a niggly side” in the build-up to this weekend’s encounter at Murrayfield.

Pivac, though, said: “Hate is a pretty strong word, isn’t it, and I don’t think there is any need for that.

Players are usually reflective of what they are hearing from coaching staffWayne Pivac

“We talk about getting in the trenches and all teams do.

“You are five metres out from their (opposition’s) goal-line and five metres out from your own where you’ve got to dig deep.

“Yes, it’s a contact sport, it’s a gladiatorial sport and you’ve got to have the mindset right.

“Players are usually reflective of what they are hearing from coaching staff.

“It’s the start of a competition, it’s fresh, it’s after a World Cup, so everybody is looking to get a bit of an edge.

Josh Adams scored a hat-trick in Wales' victory over Italy
Josh Adams scored a hat-trick in Wales’ victory over Italy (Adam Davy/PA)

“From our point of view, it has probably been a little bit different.

“There has been a change in terms of what we want to do when we get the ball, so there’s been a lot of talk around the skills we need to hone in on, making sure people understand their roles.

“No matter who is the opposition, we have a job to do and that’s try to win. Usually, to do that, you have to get parity of rugby up front and the basics of rugby have to be done well.”

Wales tackle Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, when they will target a ninth successive Six Nations win in what is the first major test of Pivac’s reign.

Asked if it is the biggest test of his coaching career so far, he replied: “Yes. Yes, definitely. It will be a massive step up in what we’ve had so far.

Wayne Pivac is prepared for his biggest test to date
Wayne Pivac is prepared for his biggest test to date (Ben Birchall/PA)

“I think we’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve had that Barbarians game (in November) which allowed us to iron a few things out.

“We then went into a competition match against Italy, and now we go up against a much sterner challenge in their back yard.

“I think it has built nicely, and this will be a real test to see where we are at and how much work we’ve got to do to be able to play the game under pressure.

“They (Ireland) are very, very strong. I said at the outset, we’ve got to bring a physical edge to the game.”

PA