THERE can't have been too many rugby coaches that looked enviously at Dean Ryan when he took up the monumental rebuilding task at the Dragons.

Yet Wayne Pivac must have had a tinge of jealously at being able to take the reins of a job with almost a total absence of expectation.

Director of rugby Ryan was able to come in last summer demanding patience and dampening expectations – Caerleon wasn't built in a day.

That is a luxury that Pivac doesn't have. Pluckiness, resilience and just not being terrible won't earn him plaudits.

The new boss would have been excused cracking open a bottle of South African red to toast match-winner Handre Pollard on the morning of October 27.

The Springboks ensured that Pivac merely has to take over a team that won a Grand Slam in 2019 and not one fresh from lifting the World Cup.

The bar has been set high and make no mistake, there will be glee in some quarters should Wales stumble under the new boss.

A failure under Pivac will be used as evidence of miracles achieved by Warren Gatland.

It is undeniable that Wales have had things good in the Six Nations in recent times with four titles in the last 12 years.

A player strives to leave the jersey in a better place, Gatland did the same with the coach's blazer even though there were some testing times.

He was able to come in after the 2007 debacle at the World Cup, pinpoint the failings and get an immediate bounce. Eddie Jones did likewise with England after their 2015 shambles.

A raft of Wales players have the medals to show the strides made under Gatland and now the national team enters the tournament with expectations of a title tilt, with fourth and down seen as a failure.

Gatland hit the ground running in 2008 with a Grand Slam despite it being a year featuring England and Ireland away.

South Wales Argus:

Pivac has that same schedule with Dublin in round two and London in round four.

Last year's efforts show that he has the players to match his compatriot with a clean sweep but this is a tough competition, one that is all about momentum.

The Aviva Stadium fixture is the one that holds the key for Pivac in terms of silverware, yet the new boss doesn't just have expectations of glory to cope with.

He arrives with the hope of a more fluent, vibrant Wales after the years of tenacious and resilient rugby.

The Scarlets' successes have led to an expectation of Pivac's team playing with a swagger, with width, attacking intent and invention.

That simply cannot come overnight in Test rugby – especially in the Six Nations – and Wales will have to retain the defensive discipline that was the foundation of the Gatland era.

Pivac and his management team need a few international camps and tours before things really take shape.

Yet they cannot adopt the same mantra as Ryan, who has pleaded indifference to the win record of his Dragons side during his first season at the helm.

"My pace is a two, three, four-year timeline while you guys (in the media) put it on weekly timelines!" said the Rodney Parade boss at the end of last year.

"Staying on short-term cycles is what has put the Dragons in this place and it needed people to have the courage to put it on a longer timeline, and have the courage to fight against people that say it's not working.

"That takes a lot because sport is a short timeline business."

A sad truth, meaning Pivac & Co have to mix wins with long-term ambitions or they will feel heat.

But Wales have the right man for the job and now he needs time to mould things to his liking.

South Wales Argus:

THE Dragons have a healthy contingent with Wales for the Six Nations and have made progress under Dean Ryan, yet they still have an image problem.

Last week Andrew Coombs made valid points in the Argus when he talked about Matthew Screech being unlucky to not be alongside Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Elliot Dee and Leon Brown at the Vale Resort.

"I think that Screechy is really unlucky to not be in that squad," said the former Wales forward.

"They've been asking players to stay in Wales and play well in Wales, and he has ticked every box.

"Instead they have picked somebody who is playing in the Gallagher Premiership over him and that's pretty hard on Screechy."

That wasn't Coombs picking on Wasps' Will Rowlands, who qualifies through his father from Pontllanfraith, it was just him highlighting that displays for the Dragons can sometimes go under the radar.

That's especially the case when up against the glamour of the English league.

Had Sam Davies put in this season's performances for Sale rather than the Dragons he may well have got the nod for the Six Nations.

If the dependable Adam Warren was at the heart of the Northampton midfield then people would be touting him for a call-up.

If Screech was in the Bath boilerhouse then he could well have been more of a contender.

The same applies for players at the Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues and that could turn into a problem for the regions when they are trying to retain talent.

Those that are overlooked will have the temptation of enhancing their reputation - and earning power - with a couple of years over the border.

Sadly PRO14 displays just aren't valued as greatly as Premiership performances.