Today's rugby news as Wayne Pivac's hopes end in annihilation and All Black jets in to Wales

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

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

Pivac's hopes ended

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

Pivac was aiming to get NEC Green Rockets back to the top division in Japan, but things went majorly awry 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 against the Japan Rugby League One side, but didn't even come close as they were thumped 55-0.

Pivac was appointed to the role back in August, with the target for the side, which contains former Wales player Jake Ball, being promotion.

"It is a great honour and a privilege to be able to work alongside some fantastic people at NEC Green Rockets," Pivac said.

"Our slogan, 'always above', embodies everything we will be about throughout the 2023-24 season as we rebuild to be better and stronger than we have been in past seasons.

"We will be striving to return to the top division of Japanese rugby. Along the way we want to give our supporters plenty to cheer about with an exciting brand of rugby."

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All Black Tiatia jets in

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

Tiatia has been announced as the Gwent side's new defence coach for the 2024/25 campaign but he will attend training sessions and the Judgement Day match against the Scarlets next week.

His appointment has been heralded as a major coup for Dai Flanagan's side, who have made a number of major signings on and off the pitch for next season.

"Filo will be at the stadium, probably in with the fans I would imagine,” said head coach Flanagan. "He gets the chance to run his eye over the squad earlier [than planned], and I hope the squad show what they can do against the Scarlets.

“It’s a watching brief because we have a coaching staff in place, he will come and observe a couple sessions from the outside. He might jump in with me for a bit and will also come to the game on the outside. He will get to see some behaviours and areas of focus that I will task him with so that he can feedback to me.”

Ospreys insist four teams to remain

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

His assurance comes after Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) executive director of rugby Nigel Walker said cutting 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 the regions, with Bradley saying a Welsh 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 with 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's been happening.

"We have been working on a thorough review of rugby in Wales and that includes looking at everything. With any huge review of that nature, you don't start by saying you are not going to look at this possibility.

"What Nigel said was that it doesn't mean you might wake up and find out one of the clubs is not going to be playing anymore.

"That's not the case. It will be years away if anything does happen. You would expect everything to be included in a review and the four professional sides have been included in that.

"The plans we are going through, and we had a meeting with the WRU on Wednesday, the absolutely clear assumption we are working towards is still having four professional clubs.

"But Nigel is right, you can't or shouldn't rule out the possibility and you must look at all the options, but the very clear preference is to have four professional sides."