Six Nations 2021: WRU right to stick by Wayne Pivac - chairman Butcher

Wales coach Wayne Pivac with the Six Nations trophy
Wales coach Wayne Pivac with the Six Nations trophy ahead of the defeat in France

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Robert Butcher has praised coach Wayne Pivac for guiding Wales to the 2021 Six Nations title after a poor 2020.

Wales were crowned champions after Scotland defeated France in the final match of the tournament in Paris.

Pivac has turned things around after winning only three out of 10 Tests in his opening year in charge.

"We knew from the outset we had to stick by Wayne as he was going to have a different approach," said Butcher.

Pivac took over from fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup and finished fifth in his opening Six Nations tournament.

Gatland had overseen a largely successful 12-year period with three Grand Slams, four Six Nations titles and two World Cup semi-finals.

Pivac was under pressure after a poor 2020, but has silenced the critics.

"We're delighted to have the support we have and are well aware of the criticism that arises at times," said Butcher.

"We knew from the point Wayne was selected it was going to be difficult.

"We were realistic enough to realise it wasn't going to be a continual upwards curve and it can be cyclical.

Six Nations table showing Wales top after all games played

"We cling to those great parts of Welsh sport when Gareth Bale is successful, Joe Calzaghe is successful, when Richard Burton is the greatest actor.

"That's what Welsh rugby is like - it has ups and downs, and we'd be unrealistic to think we're going to win the Six Nations or Grand Slam every year.

"It doesn't work like that. I feel, the Welsh Rugby Union board feel, and I think the nation feel as we've gone through this Six Nations campaign we've got better and better.

"We've noticed a new style which doesn't come about overnight, they take time to develop.

"It's there for everyone to see the team has developed, it has a style of its own and that is something that Wayne, we believe, can take us forward on."

Wales missed out on the Grand Slam in Paris with a 32-30 defeat, but still managed to secure the Six Nations trophy that also yields £5m prize money.

"We're unbelievably proud of the players, squad, coaching team, the management and everything that goes with it," added Butcher, who was speaking before Scotland won in Paris.

"We're delighted the way it's turned out. We'd be no less proud of them if things hadn't gone their way."

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