Tonight's rugby news as Wales to change tactics amid warning some could find it 'boring'

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is going back to basics
-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)

These are your evening rugby headlines on Monday, July 1.

Fans may find Wales 'boring'

Wales star Nick Tompkins says he and his teammates will be going back to basics in Australia this summer.

Warren Gatland's side are preparing for the first of two clashes with the Wallabies this month, with the initial showdown taking place in Sydney on Saturday. After a woeful Six Nations and defeat to the Springboks at Twickenham last month, the pressure is on Wales to get a win and end their seven-game losing run.

Tompkins is understandably keen for Gatlands side to give themselves something "to be proud of" Down Under and says the key to doing so will be "stripping it right back" and working on the fundamentals of their game. While he warned that some fans may view their style of rugby as "boring or tedious," he said it was what needed to happen to get resuls and "breed confidence".

"We are probably going to have a more simplified game," he told the Rugby Union Daily podcast. "You are going to see what some people might find boring or tedious but we are going to go back to the roots, working hard and making sure our defence is dominant once again and our kicking game and how we compete for the ball is dominant again.

"We are trying to strip it right back and try to give ourselves something we can hang our hat on and just be proud of," he added. "You have to give yourselves an identity, you have to give yourself something you can get after as a team and that's how you breed confidence. Then you start moving on to other aspects but you have to start with the fundamentals."

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Joyce-Butchers: We're back where we belong

Wales Women star Alisha Joyce-Butchers says her team are back where they belong after qualifying for WXV2 and the World Cup.

Ioan Cunningham's side scored eight tries as they beat Spain 52-20 in Cardiff on Saturday, ensuring their place in the second tier of the WXV competition, in which they will face the likes of Scotland, Italy, South Africa and Japan this September. The win also means they have automatically qualified for next year's World Cup in England.

It is a much-needed boost for Wales after a dismal Six Nations campaign which saw them pick up the dreaded wooden spoon. And Joyce-Butchers, who picked up the Player of the Match award against Spain after scoring two tries, is keen for her teammates to build on the crucial victory in the coming months.

“It’s very exciting to see what we can do when we spin the ball, especially with Lleucu George in our side who is one of the best No 10s in the world," she said.

“We have stayed very close and maintained belief in ourselves. WXV2 is where we should be, it’s where we belong and we will get some great competition there, rather than in WXV1.

“We have yet to show an 80 minute performance and we know we need to be a little bit more disciplined," Joyce-Butchers added. "We need more game understanding, and if we can nail those things we will be very difficult to beat in WXV2.”

Welsh back signs for Pirates

Welsh back Iwan Price-Thomas has signed for Cornish Pirates ahead of the new season.

The 23-year-old, who can play full-back and fly-half, has represented Wales at under-19 level while he has also played for England Students. Price-Thomas, who has also spent time playing in Hong Kong, has starred for the University of Bath in the BUCS competition but will be joining up with the Championship side for the new campaign.

"Iwan has been playing at Bath Uni where he has been a standout player at BUCS level," said Pirates joint-head coach Gavin Cattle. "Possessing versatility as someone who is an exciting back three player, he can slot in at 10 as well, besides goalkicking being another string to his bow."

Furbank calls on English courage for All Blacks clash

By PA Sport Staff

George Furbank insists England will hunt for opportunities against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday as they look to continue sharpening their attack.

Steve Borthwick's tourists followed a rousing end to the Six Nations against heavyweights Ireland and France by plundering eight tries in their summer opener against Japan. World Cup runners-up New Zealand will provide a sterner test than anything faced so far this year, but Furbank insists England must retain the courage to play they discovered during the Championship.

"There's definitely a sense of seeing opportunities and then backing ourselves to take them," Furbank told reporters in Auckland. "We've got a very exciting young backline who want to be able to do that and the coaches have fully bought into that as well.

"We've got some very good and accurate kickers and some wingers who are pretty happy going and getting the ball back in the air. That's a big strength of ours that's clear to see. We've added some really good layers on to our attack as well. We've got a better understanding now as a group of where we want our attack to go and what we want our attack to look like."

England sprang a surprise a fortnight ago by naming their team to face Japan 48 hours early - and Borthwick could take the same bold approach in the build up to the first of two Tests against the All Blacks. While players appreciate knowing earlier in the week where they stand with selection, the move was also seen as a sign of Borthwick's growing authority in his role as head coach as a well as a tactic to minimise mind games from Japan boss Eddie Jones.

Changes are expected to be kept to a minimum following that 52-17 win, with Marcus Smith continuing at fly-half and while the Harlequins playmaker will oversee the attack, he is likely to be operating amid a core of Northampton's Gallagher Premiership champions in Furbank, Alex Mitchell and Tommy Freeman.