What are Wales most short of after their desperately disappointing 38-21 setback against France in Paris?
How much time do you have?
Defeat is never final, as Garin Jenkins once said.
But, right now, Wales are not within a spaceflight of France. Les Bleus have young players settling in Test rugby and making an impact. They appear happy with the way they are playing. Potentially, they could be there or thereabouts to win the World Cup they are hosting in 2023.
It’s going to take a lot for Wales to be contenders.
Indeed, it’s going to take a fair bit for them to even start winning again after four straight defeats.
Here’s a list of what they are most lacking and some ideas of what Wayne Pivac can do.
Josh Navidi’s grit
If there was one individual they missed more than any other against France, it was Josh Navidi.
OK, the front-five were not truly at the races.
They lost the physical battle and that made it hard for the back-row to perform.
But, still, Wales could have done with the uncompromising grit that Navidi brings to every game.
They missed his ability to knock opponents back in the tackle, his relish for doing unglamorous jobs, his skill at slowing down opposition ball and achieving turnovers.
Sadly, no return date has yet been made public after the concussion he picked up in training with Cardiff Blues.
But when he is fit again, it’ll be a major relief for Pivac.
The New Zealander will also be pleased when Ross Moriarty, another who is never slow to put his body on the line, is back in the mix after his injury. Again, though, there is no obvious sign that the abrasive Dragon’s stay on the sidelines will be a short one.
Ball-carriers up front
It isn’t inconceivable the three astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station have offered their views on Wales’ lack of go-forward against France.
Houston, Wales have a problem?
Anyway, everyone else seems to have pinpointed the issue.
France’s starting forwards made 160 metres with ball in hand, Wales’s first eight made 27 metres. The two props who opened for France, Cyril Baille and Mohamed Haouas, made more ground than the entire Welsh pack, while their back row offered a prodigious carrying threat.
The lack of efficient clear-outs was an issue, with Ken Owens and Jake Ball usually at the front of the queue for heavy lifting. Their absence meant Welsh carriers were often easy prey for