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Gatland homes in on English scrum

Discussion in '2018 NatWest Six Nations' started by Bullitt, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

    Warren Gatland is relishing the prospect of sending an all B&I Lion front row into battle against England's newbies next week.

    Wales boss Warren Gatland is poised to name an all-British and Irish Lions Test front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones.

    And that revered unit could find itself opposite a largely untried England combination of Tim Payne, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson.

    It is an obvious area for potential Welsh domination, and Gatland did not shy away from it at today's Six Nations launch in central London.

    "We will target certain areas, depending on who they (England) pick up front," he said.

    "I am happy with our experience in the front five. Games are won up front, and it is important that our tight five fronts up."

    Crucial to Welsh victory ambitions - it would be only a second Twickenham triumph in 22 years - is the return of Ospreys tighthead Jones.

    He enjoyed a magnificent Lions tour of South Africa last summer before a serious shoulder injury suffered in the second Test prematurely ended the 28-year-old's trip.

    Jones missed Wales' four November Tests as a result, but he is now back and in full destructive mode, as illustrated by his powerful display against the Ospreys' Heineken Cup opponents Leicester last weekend.

    "It is good to have Adam back," said Wales skipper Ryan Jones.

    "You cannot win Test matches without a set-piece, and Adam brings a certain stability to our scrum."

    Gatland will name his starting line-up for Twickenham next Sunday evening, although those plans could now be affected by Wales full-back Lee Byrne's disciplinary hearing two days earlier.

    Byrne must answer a misconduct complaint following his brief appearance as a 16th player for the Ospreys against Leicester.

    If Byrne lands a ban, then Gatland might have to retain James Hook in the number fifteen shirt he wore during November, rather than consider a possible alternative role of centre.

    "We haven't settled on where James Hook will play," added Gatland, speaking before news of Byrne's hearing broke.

    "He prefers to play at ten, but his performances for the Ospreys in midfield have been pretty good and the balance between James and Andrew Bishop against Leicester was very good.

    "Bishop's defence was outstanding, and James dictated. He did a good job at full-back against Australia, and he is a player you have got to find a position for and get him the ball.

    "He can play ten, and he is equally capable at fifteen. You have got to find somewhere for him to play."

    Despite Wales opening their Six Nations campaign at a stadium where they suffered some serious beatings during the past two decades, Gatland is relishing the contest.

    "It is a great game to be starting with," he said.

    "I just hope it will be the catalyst it was two years ago (when a Wales victory kick-started a Grand Slam campaign), which gave us the confidence and momentum for the rest of the championship.

    "Both teams are very similar, and whoever wins will go in with a bit of confidence for the rest of the championship.

    "The two sides will be desperate to win the game. and both sides realise how important it is to win the first game.

    "Our performance against Australia (Wales' last game in November) was disappointing, and we need to be a bit smarter.

    "But the pleasing thing, both against Australia and New Zealand, was our territory and possession increased from the previous year. We had them under pressure."

    Ahead of Sunday's team announcement, Gatland will keep a close eye on players he has temporarily released from Six Nations squad duty to gain important game time during this weekend's LV= Cup action.

    The list includes Adam Jones and Rees, plus star wing Shane Williams, who has played little rugby since being hurt during the Wallabies encounter.

    Gatland added: "Adam Jones and Matthew Rees have not had a lot of rugby, and Lee Byrne and Shane Williams not a significant amount of time.

    "The weekend will be pretty critical with a number of players playing for their regions.

    "Shane is definitely under-cooked, but for a player who has not played a lot in the last six to eight weeks, his performance against Leicester was pretty good.

    "He played a lot better than one might have expected. He was error-free and pretty dangerous."



    Defelcting attention from himself again... Or getting excuses in early?
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  3. First of all, I very much hope the front row won't be

    Payne Hartley Wilson

    More likely to be

    Mullan Mears Wilson

    with the Mears/Wilson Bath link hopefully bolstering the performance up front.

    Mullan is a good scrummaging unit and Wilson is superb. If things are going pear-shaped Hartley and Cole are good options from the bench to fix things up.

    The whole pack looks much more rosy now that White is out of the frame, hopefully Payne is unavailable for the whole 6Ns too by some miracle, so England end up with a front row for the summer of:

    Sheridan Mears Wilson
    Mullan Hartley Vickery
    Flatman Thompson Cole
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

    Sod it... I'm not having the debate about fat ******* Mears again.
  5. Olyy

    Olyy Guest

    I think the best scrum we could have is
    Mullan Hartley Cole,
    With Mears/Wilson more likely to start, with Hartley/Cole on the bench (maybe Cole won't even see that? Don't know anything about front rowers really, so don't know whether they prefer someone who can play either sideof the scrum on the bench/if Wilson/Mullan can play either side etc.)

    If Payne doesn't see game time i'll be very very happy,

    Mullan, Hartley, Cole could be one of the best scrums we've had in recent times...
    If Sheridans on form when he's back (though that's unlikely as he's had a fair few months out), then add him to the equation and it's a decent enough scrum (not amazing, but a damn sight better than the AIs)
  6. Thingimubob

    Thingimubob Guest

    Can Byrne actually get banned for an Ospreys back-room staff mistake :huh: If that happens we're screwed, really dont want Hook at 15. Am expecting our front row to have the upper hand, especially with Tim Payne there who isn't that good tbh.
  7. gingergenius

    gingergenius Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (ali12 @ Jan 27 2010, 07:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I know f*** all about Mullan, but there's no way in hell he could be worse than that useless f.ucker Tim Payne. And Mears is a better player than Hartley.

    So, I agree, that would be a nice front row.

    Unfortunately, there's not a chance that it will be picked - we'll be stuck with Payne, and White/ Vickery when they're fit, for as long as they can stand up.
  8. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    To be fair Hartley is pretty goo-

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/4QTcKdzcoiE&hl=en_GB&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/4QTcKdzcoiE&hl=en_GB&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


    On second thoughts...

    EDIT: Okay, what about Mears? How will he shape up against Wales in the first...10 seconds?

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/LbSjKjjObLg&hl=en_GB&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/LbSjKjjObLg&hl=en_GB&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    .....okay now we're buggered. Can we just not have scrums?

    (2nd video had Dylan Hartley, Shtove & Prestwick arguing and a very very very very very very very very very very very tall Getofmyland guest starring)
  9. david0404

    david0404 Guest

    we're screwed if byrne is banned. hook has shown reasonable quality playing at fullback in the past but he is not even comparable to the talent of lee byrne at 15. it is essential that he gets out of the osprey cock-up without a ban otherwise i think we will get trounced on by england.
  10. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (david0404 @ Jan 27 2010, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>

    A good excuse to shoehorn Henson back in at the last minute though...
  11. Sir Speedy

    Sir Speedy Guest

    Wales aren't going to win this game, supremacy up front or not.

  12. david0404

    david0404 Guest

    i think that if we do win it will be a very sweet and special victory, simply because it will be with half our normal team and no way near our strongest team but to be quite honest, i don't know if our strongest team exists.
  13. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    It's actually comforting to see another nation struggling with problems in the front row, but that won't help us against Wales, Scotland or France. Italy are going to struggle this year though, the scrum has been their biggest advantage for years but I think others are catching them now.

    England and Ireland are both starting off with a handicap, depending on who the referee is/what side of the bed he got out of in the morning, a superior scrum can be worth from 3 points a game to 12-15 with the opposition playing with 14 for 10 minutes.

    I predict plenty of uncontested scrums in the 6N's :(
  14. King_D'Arcy

    King_D'Arcy Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (david0404 @ Jan 27 2010, 10:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yes I'd like to see this mythical "strongest team" that England have been waiting to come out of injury since 2003. I'm sure they'll take us all by storm
  15. Sir Speedy

    Sir Speedy Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (King D'arcy @ Jan 28 2010, 09:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yes I'd like to see this mythical "strongest team" that England have been waiting to come out of injury since 2003. I'm sure they'll take us all by storm
    He was talking about Wales.
  16. Bullitt

    Bullitt Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sir. Speedy @ Jan 28 2010, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yes I'd like to see this mythical "strongest team" that England have been waiting to come out of injury since 2003. I'm sure they'll take us all by storm
    He was talking about Wales.
    So was he...
  17. Sir Speedy

    Sir Speedy Guest

    The word "England" confused me. :huh:
  18. Olyy

    Olyy Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sir. Speedy @ Jan 28 2010, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yes I'd like to see this mythical "strongest team" that England have been waiting to come out of injury since 2003. I'm sure they'll take us all by storm
    He was talking about Wales.
    But his flag is English?
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