Louis Rees-Zammit (right) scores his side's first try of the game against Georgia

Credit: PA

Words such as “transition” and “re-building” sound just a little more palatable after Wales finally broke their six-match losing streak with a win over Georgia. However, any sense of positive momentum could quickly disappear if Wayne Pivac’s side do not at least put in a decent performance against England next week, where they are the very obvious underdogs.

This was the sentiment expressed by English born and raised centre Nick Tompkins who went so far as to say his side were “desperate” to put on a good showing against Eddie Jones’ men. They may have gotten a desired win on Saturday but Wales have still not beaten Tier One opposition since they beat Italy 32-0 on February 1.

“Look, obviously it’s nice to win against this Georgian side. But we need to challenge ourselves to up it again to the next tier – that’s a no-brainer,” said the former Saracens player. “You look at this England side and we’re desperate to put in a good performance and keep this good vibe going.

“That’s what we need as a team – we know we’ve got it in there. I think we owe it to people, to fans, to coaches who work hard, and to ourselves as we work hard in training. It’s very important to us. You look no further.”

An interesting talking point ahead of next weekend’s date at Parc y Scarlets, where both sides will be hoping for better conditions than the torrential rain which greeted the Lelos and helped to turn the game into an arm wrestle, is just how well English qualified players performed in this new-look Welsh side.

Tompkins himself played an important role in the build up to 19-year-old Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit’s first Test try, on his start having come off the bench in the friendly against France last month. The teenager, who was a revelation in the Premiership last season with his pace and poacher’s eye for a try, could have waited to become eligible for England on residency but the Cardiff born wing only ever had sights set on playing for Wales.

However, fly-half Callum Sheedy, who like Rees-Zammit was also making his first start, controlled the game well and scored the rest of the first half points through his reliable kicking he developed at Millfield College and later at Bristol Bears. The 25-year-old also grew up in Cardiff but was fully eligible to play for England through residency and for Ireland via his father Phillip. Although he played in an uncapped game for England against the Barbarians last year he finally opted to play for the country of his birth.

Considering Wales’ recent ragged form and how quiet Dan Biggar was in the Autumn Nations Cup opener against Ireland, Sheedy could provide a real point of difference against England based on how he managed the dog fight against the Georgians and how he is perhaps only second to Exeter’s Joe Simmonds as the Premiership’s most consistent fly-half since the resumption of rugby.

Johnny Williams, who played outside Sheedy at no 12, was another player to elicit praise for how he handled the occasion from Pivac and also team-mates. Williams played in the same uncapped Barbarians fixture as the fly half in 2019 before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and then opted to declare for Wales through his father Gareth.

Of Williams’ performance, centre partner Tompkins said: “Yeah he’s good isn’t he? You tell him to run at something and he goes at 100mph. He’s awesome to play with. He’s young, spirited and works hard. What more could you ask for? He fronts up as well. That for me is class to play outside him. He opens up space for you. He’s doing really well, working hard, doing everything he needs to push the guys ahead of him.”

Pivac added: “He thoroughly enjoyed it and enjoyed the workload. By and large, he did a good job.”

Rhys Webb may have scored Wales’ only other try but another player with English roots, debutant back row and grandson of Sir Ian, James Botham, had a chance when he made a burst in the closing passages of the game.

If Pivac is to opt for a side which better represents Wales’ future it could very well have a number of players who have long been on Jones’ radar for different reasons.