Wales coach Wayne Pivac waits on New Zealand & Japan summer tour verdict

Alun Wyn Jones led Wales to fourth place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Wales finished in fourth place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup after defeat by New Zealand

Head coach Wayne Pivac says preparations are continuing but accepts Wales summer tour is looking less likely to go ahead as weeks go by.

Wales are scheduled to visit New Zealand for two Tests in July after a one-off Test in Japan on 27 June.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson says no decision is imminent despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"The decision around July is still a little way away," Robinson told Newstalk ZB.external-link

Speaking to the same organisationexternal-link Pivac said: "At our end we're preparing to go should it arise, but as each week goes by it probably looks less likely.

"We just have to keep preparing until we're told otherwise by the respective governments who make these decisions."

Pivac took over the reins as Wales head coach from fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland last November, but his first Six Nations campaign has been put on hold because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

His side have won just one of their four games with a fixture against Scotland postponed.

The pandemic has also seen domestic rugby across the world suspended.

"We would like to think we'll be playing some rugby hopefully, even if it's June/July period in the northern hemisphere, whether or not summer tours go ahead that's another story," Pivac said in an interview on Sunday, 5 April.

"But we're sort of gearing up to maybe get some rugby around that time and looking at what that might look like in terms of club rugby which would get our players back into playing the game and preparing them for internationals.

"Obviously if it starts up in the northern hemisphere and not the southern hemisphere we'll have to look at opponents from this area, but certainly we'd like to think things will be up and running but it's a bit of a guestimate."

An announcement on the tour is expected by the end of April, but New Zealand coach Ian Foster has also cast doubt on Wales facing the All Blacks this summer.

Pivac's side are due to travel to face 2019 World Cup hosts Japan, before facing the All Blacks in Auckland on 4 July with a second Test in Wellington seven days later.

Wales are also supposed to also host New Zealand in Cardiff in November. They have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

"We are hopeful the All Blacks will play this season - whether that be on our shores or overseas we will have to wait and see exactly what that might look like at the moment," said Robinson.

"The conversations with the northern hemisphere are encouraging with the flexibility for later in the year but that will depend on a closer understanding when we get back on the field."

Speaking last month, WRU chairman Gareth Davies said he thought planned international rugby this summer could make way to allow suspended domestic competitions to be completed.

"I suppose a good outcome would be the pandemic subsides and is over by May, June," he told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

"Then this season could be completed if you like in terms of early summer.

"Obviously I expect the overseas tours to the southern hemispheres would be aborted but then they [southern hemisphere rugby] would be able to play their delayed Super Rugby and Rugby Championship so it could fit in nicely but that's obviously presuming the virus has been eradicated."

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