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‘It’s going to take time’: Wales legend Owens calls for patience in Pivac

‘It’s going to take time’: Wales legend Owens calls for patience in Pivac

‘It’s going to take time’: Wales legend Owens calls for patience in Pivac

Wales legend Ken Owens believes patience will be a virtue as the players adapt to the methods of head coach Wayne Pivac.

Owens, who has 77 Welsh caps to his name but has missed the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup through injury, played under Pivac for a Scarlets side who played with plenty of attacking flair and won the Guinness PRO14 – then the PRO12 – in 2017.

Such success has not yet translated to the Test arena since Pivac made the step up to take charge of the national team, replacing Warren Gatland, with Wales winning just twice in 2020 and finishing third in Group A in the Autumn Nations Cup.

But ahead of the fifth-placed play-off against Italy on Saturday which rounds off their year, Owens urged the Welsh rugby public to keep faith with the new set-up.

“It can (take time), but the way we played at the Scarlets, we relied on really quick ball and playing off a lot of turnovers as well,” Owens told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

“The years we were successful we had Tadhg Beirne, James Davies and John Barclay ruling the roost at the contact area, so we scored a lot off turnover ball.

“Probably what you get from international rugby is how competitive the contact area is contested, both sides of the ball it’s very difficult to get that speed of ball consistently.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to adapt the Scarlets way, if you want to call it that, or what we played with at the Scarlets, for it to work in Test rugby.

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“In one way it hasn’t been great, obviously results-wise, but I think in this World Cup cycle, which is what it is now, new coaches coming in, we have blooded some new players.

“It will take a little bit more time for them to get the experience and probably get really confident at this level, but there was enough there to suggest it’s looking good going forward.”

Owens is hoping to be fit for next year’s Guinness Six Nations and the set-piece – particularly the lineout – has come under scrutiny in his absence.

The 33-year-old had encouraging words for those who have taken the No.2 jersey in recent weeks and also hailed his Scarlets teammate, Johnny Williams, who opened his international account against England on Saturday.

“There has been a little bit of change, with some boys coming in and out and not quite getting that consistency,” he said.

“It’s obviously been frustrating for me to be out injured, but I’m not getting any younger either so it’s a great opportunity for the young boys to get stuck in and put their hands up.

“They’ve done really well, all three of them [hookers Ryan Elias, Elliot Dee and Sam Parry] when they’ve played.

“One of the ultimate tests is England, especially from a forwards point of view, and some boys have put their hand up and showed that they can play at this level.

“I thought Johnny Williams was absolutely outstanding (on Saturday).

“He’s been brilliant with us down at the Scarlets and it was great to see him have an opportunity. Defensively, he was great, he carried well, and took his try really well.”

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