Was this the moment when the first green shoots of the Wayne Pivac era finally emerged? Finding positives from a defeat is never an easy thing to do, especially when Saturday night’s 24-13 reverse was a seventh in eight this year under Pivac. As Eddie Jones said, when results turn against you “you start looking for shadows in the corners and start seeing meetings between people. It’s a tough time.” Yet on Saturday it seemed at least that Pivac had brought his torch with him. Ultimately his side never truly threatened England yet it was hard not to admire elements of the resistance his inexperienced side put up at the Parc y Scarlets, even if the match itself lacked the tension, colour and drama of Six Nations encounter. This was far from the cricket score victory that most had expected, indeed going into the final quarter the result was still on the line before the impact of England’s ‘bomb squad’ bench took the game away from Wales. And yet a closer examination of the match statistics showed that Wales managed to counter many of the threats that England posed. It was their set-piece problems proved fatal, losing four line-outs and conceding five scrummage penalties but in open play Wales managed to go toe-to-toe with his ferociously physical England side in a manner that Ireland could not managed at Twickenham last weekend. Pivac knows that results will have to come. Taking over from Warren Gatland was never going to be an easy ride but with just victories over Italy and Georgia this year, he desperately needs more credit in the bank to allow him more reconstruction time. Yet despite the lack of stability in the Welsh Rugby Union and regions, the signs are that he has some talented young players who have the potential to be shaped into a competitive force by the time of the next World Cup, by which time most of Gatland’s Lions contingent are likely to have retired. “A lot of young guys got an opportunity against a strong England side and did well,” said Pivac. “We're making improvements. Ultimately, scrum penalties went against us and that's something we'll have to look at. “We need to build from this performance. It was a good effort from the guys and we're heading in the right direction.” These were not words of desperation. Pivac needs time to shape this squad in his own fashion and must do so from the bottom upwards. Wales more than any of the Home Unions are facing a long-term rebuilding process and it is a time for patience. What impressed on Saturday was that his side were able to counter England both physically and tactically. The defensive efforts of Shane Lewis-Hughes and Jim Botham and a rejuvenated Taulupe Faletau often forced England to kick away possession after three phases and critically Wales had the patience and shape and discipline — in broken play at least — not to surrender territory or give up cough up possession. Just as England were content to play most of the game without the ball against Ireland, here it was Wales’ turn to do something similar to England, and Jones’ side struggled to find the space in the wide channels to make their dominance count. It was the closest England have experienced of someone showing a mirror in their face and as Jones afterwards admitted his side found it hard to find space. Wales even managed a smash and grab by the impressive Johnny Williams that England would have been proud of to steal an early lead. It came completely against the run of play and yet it Wales’ line-speed on the blindside that forced an error from Henry Slade whose lack of options forced him to chip the ball which Dan Biggar was able to charge down and start a kick-chase to the line, with Williams nudging the ball away from George Ford to finish. And even despite England’s set-piece dominance and another outstanding performance by their back row, Jones’ side were never able to cut loose, and two second half penalties by Biggar brought Wales back into contention going in the final quarter. There is no question that England were worthy winners, but Wales’ victory was to make it an ugly victory. If crowds are allowed back into the Principality Stadium for the Six Nations, the edge could be back in this fixture and fears that a major gulf is opening up between the two sides may be exaggerated by then. “The boys are disappointed but that was certainly an improvement,” said Wales scrum-half Lloyd Williams. "We knew how hard a task this would be. "We gave it everything and defended hard, but it wasn't enough. It's important we improve and work on our game for next weekend."