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Today’s rugby news as Wayne Pivac’s hopes end in destruction and All Black fly to Wales

By Vaseline May27,2024

Here are the latest rugby headlines for Sunday, May 26.

Pivac’s hopes ended

Former Wales coach Wayne Pivac’s hopes of promotion with his new team ended in a 55-point annihilation.

Pivac aimed to return NEC Green Rockets to the top division in Japan, but things went seriously wrong in the play-off second leg against Hadleigh Parkes’ Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo.

The Green Rockets were tasked with overturning a 19-point deficit from the first leg defeat to Japan Rugby League One side, but didn’t even come close as they were defeated 55–0.

Pivac was appointed to the role in August, with the aim of promoting the side, which includes former Wales player Jake Ball.

“It is a great honor and privilege to work with fantastic people at NEC Green Rockets,” said Pivac.

“Our slogan, ‘always above’, embodies everything we stand for throughout the 2023-2024 season as we rebuild to be better and stronger than we have been in seasons past.

“We will aim to return to the top division of Japanese rugby. Along the way, we want to give our supporters a lot to cheer about with an exciting brand of rugby.”

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All Black Tiatia planes are coming in

Former All Black and Ospreys legend Filo Tiatia will fly to Wales next week to get a first look at the Dragons players he will coach next season.

Tiatia has been announced as Gwent’s new defense coach for the 2024/25 season, but he will attend training and the Judgment Day match against the Scarlets next week.

His appointment is being billed as a major coup for Dai Flanagan’s side, who have made a number of major signings both on and off the field for next season.

“Filo will be in the stadium, probably among the fans I can imagine,” said head coach Flanagan. “He will have the opportunity to take a closer look at the squad earlier (than planned) and I hope the squad shows what they can do against the Scarlets.

“It’s a short assignment because we have a technical staff, he will come and observe a few sessions from outside. He might jump in with me for a moment and also come along to the match on the outside. He will be shown a number of behaviors and areas of focus that I will teach him so he can give me feedback.”

Ospreys insist on four teams staying

Ospreys chief executive Lance Bradley insists that Welsh rugby bosses remain committed to four professional clubs.

His assurance comes after Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) executive director of rugby Nigel Walker said reducing the number of regions to three is still a possibility and “remains on the table”.

A meeting was held this week between senior figures at the WRU and all regions, with Bradley saying a Wales team is not going anywhere in the near future. The WRU will publish its long-term strategy for the game in June.

“I wasn’t concerned about Nigel’s comments because this is part of a process,” Bradley told BBC Radio Wales Sport. “Abi said she wanted the WRU to work more closely with the four professional clubs and that is what happened.

“We have been working on a thorough review of rugby in Wales, including looking at everything. With such a major review you don’t start by saying you are not going to look at this opportunity.

“What Nigel said was that it doesn’t mean you wake up and find out one of the clubs is no longer playing.

“That is not the case. It will take years if something happens. You would expect everything to be in a review and the four professional sides are included.

“The plans that we are going through and we met with the WRU on Wednesday, the absolutely clear assumption that we are working towards is that we still have four professional clubs.

“But Nigel is right. You cannot or should not rule out the possibility and you have to look at all options. But the very clear preference is for four professional sides.”

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