Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams and captain Siwan Lillicrap have opened up on Wayne Pivac’s advice after he stopped by a training session this week.
Abrahams’ side begin their Six Nations campaign on Saturday night away to France (8pm kick-off, live on BBC iPlayer), with the new head coach having named a new-look team featuring nine changes from their last match 12 months ago. You can see the full team news here.
Six Nations title-winning coach Pivac spent the morning with his counterpart Abrahams and the squad on Thursday, telling Wales Women they can prove a point to their doubters.
Abrahams believes sharing the experiences across Welsh rugby can only be a good thing.
“Obviously, great to have Wayne in particular down”, Abrahams said. “We’ve learnt a lot from their journey, we saw some similarities.
“Remember, no one’s talking about us at the minute so there’s no pressure on us, there’s only the pressure we put on ourselves, so we can learn some of those lessons. Some really kind words to the girls as well.
“But most importantly we had Wayne down this week, we had Steve Phillips and Rob Butcher down.
“It just shows that although we’re in the women’s programme, we’re representing the Wales badge so it’s important to connect and unite as a country, first and foremost, but we all represent the same badge and sharing those experiences across the board has been amazing for the girls.
“And it’s a great platform for us to take all those lessons and move forward, and who knows where we can go?”
Wales captain Lillicrap revealed Pivac had praised the attitude and effort of the squad after observing training,
“He said that was the first thing that stood out to him was our attitude and effort and how we applied ourselves for the full session, which is key, really,” forward Lillicrap said.
“In international rugby, there’s no sitting back, there’s no hiding, there’s no resting, you’ve always got to work to your absolute best abilities and work hard for that
“He was impressed with the training session and he had words of encouragement for us, and we can take a lot of learning over what the men achieved this championship, and how they did that as well.
“Wayne spoke about how they were written off in the men’s Six Nations and no one expected Wales to go and win the championship, and look where they ended up, inspiring a nation and doing the nation proud with their performances.”
Pivac, who earned his first pieces of silverware this year after being appointed in 2019, told the players and coaching team: “Providing the team is focused, well-prepared and you have belief in yourselves, there’s no reason you can’t go out and show what you can do, no doubt proving a few people wrong on the way.
“Most people would probably have placed our (men’s) squad in about fifth place before the start of the tournament. That’s actually a great place to be when people are writing you off. Our campaign just shows that if everyone knows their roles well and you have a ‘play by play’ mentality, there is no reason you can’t rip up the form book.
“I enjoyed watching the training session and was particularly impressed with the communications skills of the squad, that’s always a great sign.”
WRU chairman Rob Butcher has also spent time with the squad, adding: “We are all looking forward to supporting Wales Women at home on the BBC as they take on France on Saturday evening.
“With the Women’s Six Nations taking place separately from the men’s tournament this year, the focus is now on captain Siwan Lillicrap, head coach Warren Abrahams and the team of players and coaches to represent Wales at this time. The move could have a beneficial effect on girls playing rugby which can only be a good thing, especially after a difficult year for all.”