Six Nations: Wales coach Wayne Pivac enjoys 'special' Triple Crown day

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales

Wales coach Wayne Pivac said he was proud of his players as they won their first silverware under him by beating England 40-24 to take the Triple Crown.

Wales followed up wins over Ireland and Scotland by scoring a record amount of points against England to move within two matches of a potential Grand Slam.

Controversy surrounded first-half tries from Josh Adams and Liam Williams, before Wales pulled clear late on after England rallied to level at 24-24.

"It was a special day," said Pivac.

"We talked about it being a special day for a lot of reasons - George North's 100th Test match, some silverware on the line and the opportunity to go deeper into the competition and push on.

"The weather was good and we went out there and got a bonus-point win. You have to be proud of the performance. It feels great, the players are feeling good about the performance.

"To get the bonus point at the end, we're happy. We're happy for the players because they've put in so much work and worked hard."

Pivac refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding the tries scored by Adams and Williams, instead praising his players' contributions.

Adams' score was allowed after a quickly taken tap penalty kick from Dan Biggar, while Williams crossed despite suggestions of a Louis Rees-Zammit knock-on in the build-up.

"From a Welsh point of view, the cross-field kick was pinpoint," said Pivac.

"It was good skill. Josh Adams did his job by hanging out there to give us the option and I thought it was well taken once the referee said time on.

"If it was against us, we'd be having a little bit of a look at ourselves and why we didn't react quicker."

Pivac said it was surreal to pick up the Triple Crown trophy in front of no fans, with the stands empty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The players were joking about doing a lap of honour for the fans at the end," he said. "I'm sure everybody in their homes will be celebrating that one."

Victory was vindication for the New Zealander, who suffered a disappointing first year in charge as Wales lost seven out of 10 games in 2020.

His side will win the Grand Slam if they beat Italy in Rome and France in Paris.

"It's very satisfying, but we've stayed focused on our jobs and what we're doing," he said.

"It's well-documented we chose to go down a bit of a development route in the autumn and build some depth in certain positions.

"It was a free hit from our point of view. Our board is across what we're doing and the public will get on board when we start getting results, we knew that.

"For me, it's about the players and providing them with an environment where they can come in and get the job done, keep improving.

"Hopefully we're doing that and people are seeing that the hard work is starting to pay off. But there are still two big games to go."

Wales visit Rome on 13 March and Paris seven days later, but Pivac said his team had their "feet on the ground".

"The players have talked about that in the changing room already," he said.

"The next game is the most important one because there's a chance it could undo all this good work.

"We'll be working hard, looking at the Italians and doing all of our usual reviewing of our performance and previewing them.

"Then we've got to make sure we put out a side that can not only get a good result, but give a good performance, which is ultimately what we're after."

Bristol outside-half Callum Sheedy impressed with a 13-point second-half haul after coming on as a replacement for Biggar.

"I thought he was fantastic," added Pivac.

"After missing a couple of kicks up in Edinburgh, to come on in that situation, a very tight game, he had three difficult kicks and hit all three of them well.

"I'm just pleased for him. His general play was solid and all the boys coming on added something to the game.

"Callum's doing everything that we're asking of him and he's enjoying being in the environment, expressing himself and doing well, along with a lot of other players."

A Six Nations table showing: Wales P 3, W 3, PD 22, B 2, Pts 14; France P 2, W 2, PD 42, B 1, Pts 9; Ireland P 3, W 1, PD 31, B 3, Pts 7; England P 3, W 1, PD 2, B 2, Pts 6; Scotland P 2, W 1, PD 4, B 1, Pts 5, Italy P 3, W 0, PD -101, B 0, Pts 0
Wales lead the Six Nations standings from France, whose game at home to Scotland was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in their camp

Watch Scrum V Six Nations, BBC Two Wales and online, Sunday, 28 February from 19:00 GMT and later on demand.

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