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What If... Pivac and Jones Stayed?

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

For a very long time, humanity has pondered what effect a small change in history could make. A ripple in time that can change the course of history. It's been pondered by some of the world's greatest minds; Johann Gottlieb Fichte's 'The Vocation of Man,' Ray Bradbury's 'A Sound of Thunder' and - of course - Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Sliding Doors.'

But, what about the wrinkles in rugby's history. In an alternative rugby-verse, Wayne Pivac and Eddie Jones stayed in the top jobs. But what came next?

On the back of a difficult 2022, the WRU complete a review of the autumn - as they always do, after every tournament alright, so don’t you go spreading rumours - and find Wayne Pivac’s position untenable. The board gather and begin to look for a replacement. CEO Steve Phillips feels a frisson of excitement course through the room, the likes of which he hasn’t felt since he first dragged a formula through all the cells in an Excel column.

Steve runs the numbers on contract terminations and rehiring - perhaps - the greatest international coach, Welsh rugby has ever seen. But, even taking a bit more off the regions, they’d have to pay to fix the roof and buy new Egyptian cotton sheets for the hotel. That’s before the costs for DJ Spoony’s Big Six Nations Foam Party for the England game.

So they stick with Wayne for now. Any extra cash could go to the regions. Or extra foam for Spoony. Probably the foam.

Fearing they will be the only union to change their coach a year out from the World Cup, the RFU change their plans to sack Eddie Jones and opt to continue with him at the helm. The Six Nations passes by without many talking points. France win the title with a mix of efficiency and flamboyance that could have only previously been considered an oxymoron.

Eddie’s England move from mediocre to average.

Wales - meanwhile - lose four games out of five, managing a sole victory over Scotland (because some things never change). Pivac’s tenure would be brought to end, but a review - as they usually do, after every tournament alright, so don’t you go spreading rumours - is cancelled whilst an investigation continues into a mini rugby team from Cefn Coed who go missing in the foam whilst acting as guards of honour at the England game.

Onto a the World Cup. France and New Zealand get the tournament under way with a classic at the Stade de France. Eventual top try scorer Damian Penaud’s last gasp winner setting the tournament off in style.

In Pool B, Scotland start with a brave, battling defeat against the Springboks before bouncing back to beat Tonga and Romania. A losing bonus point from the Ireland game will be enough for the Scots. Gregor Townsend tells Finn he’s not allowed more than three beers so he gets fucked up on 4 bottles of red instead after the Romania game. Toony drops him for the Ireland game and Ireland win to put Scotland out. In the final few moments Jamie Ritchie puts a late hit on Sexton who - being 92 years old - breaks his hip.

Ireland limp out in the quarter final with Joey Carbery at 10. Ewan McKenna calls them a national disgrace who will never soar to the heights of their camogie counter parts and Neil Francis writes an article about how Sexton’s injury reminds him of the time his Austin Allegro broke down in the Galway 80s. Stuck in the snow, Francis claims he was forced to survive on what reminded of a double pack of Cherry Bakewells he’d left in the glove compartment. “TEN KIPLING’S!” exclaimed a surprised Tommy Bowe in a moment of tenuous punnery that I even am shocked made it past even my lax editing process.

Wales crash out in the pools after picking up a record 87 injuries leading to them having to pick Faletau at fullback and Tips at 13. It’s the only time the attack clicks under’s Pivac’s watch. A resounding defeat by Georgia in Nantes, leaves them with a single losing bonus point against Portugal.

Pivac is sacked in the car park outside the stadium and is prevented from boarding the coach. He hitchhikes his way to Calais, however, Suella Braverman says as he doesn’t have a job anymore, he isn’t allowed to enter the country. He spends the next 9 months in The Jungle at Calais, but spends his time recruiting rugby players and starts the Calais Nomads RFC. They replace Exeter in the Heineken Cup after their scheme to cover their debts by selling old totem poles left over from before the rebrand fails.

Eddie Jones gets England to peak just in time for a World Cup again. They start slowly, but peak in the semi final against the Springboks. After the defeat Rassie turns the footage of perceived refereeing injustices into a four part mini series that he pitches to Netflix and appoints Steven Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner in a battle with World Rugby and - inexplicably - Carol Baskin.

France bottle the final at home, England lift the Webb Ellis and Shaun Edwards is arrested on 23 accounts of ABH in the dressing room.

Leaving France under a cloud Edwards takes the Wales head coach job on a four year contract. Amazingly, Edwards coaching means Wales don’t concede a single point for 3 years, despite averaging 2 red cards a game. Edwards claims that playing with 13 men is “more natural” anyway.

Eddie Jones immediately exits England and signs on as head coach for the USA. However, Eddie’s usual style of peaking at the World Cup backfires as the The Eagles finish outside the qualification places for Australia 2027.

Canada - looking at the successes of previous World Cups - base their game plan around famous bears from films which lead them to qualify for Australia 2027. However, their plan unravels when star centre Paddington is arrested for regicide. The subsequent investigation reveals that Paddington had previously declared for Peru and Canada’s points deduction means the USA Eagles take their place.

Peaking at just the right time, Eddie Jones leads the Eagles to the final where they finally succumb to a seemingly impenetrable defence of an Edwards Wales who win their first ever World Cup.

Knowing his 2023 French assault charges means he will be unable to defend the title in the USA, Edwards announces he is stepping away from the game and says he will find a job away from the limelight that he can truly enjoy. He starts his new job in an abattoir in Hindley. He has never been happier.

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