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bristol-iain

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Thingimubob @ Jul 14 2009, 08:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (dundeesmiffy @ Jul 13 2009, 11:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Roberts can operate at 13 just as well as he can 12.

Proof; BOD and Roberts switching during the Lions tour for certain set pieces or just generally playing left/right instead of inside/outside like flankers do.

Henson could easily be incorporated into the current Welsh squad as a 10, 12, 13 or 15. He's shown himself to be a decent from hand kicker, goalkicker and ballcarrier in Wales colours.

Sure, he's maybe a bit of a twat for the media to get attention but so did David Beckham and he's regarded as one of the best football players of recent times. Don't blame him just because the media makes a big deal about him and his bird.

Oh, and his tendency to rile up the public on trains doesn't help either, but he's not a bad player by any means.[/b]

Tbf, he didn;t actually do anything on the train. It was his mates. A family came forward when Henson faced court action and explained that Henson actually didn;t do anything (i.e. **** on the floor). That's why he didn't get punished.

Bristol-iain - I think Wales are just a better team with him at 12, and I really want to see him and Roberts together in the centres. The only time we've actually seen it though was Italy v Wales where our pack just couldn;t get any clean ball so we didn;t see any of him. I am a massive fan of Roberts though and think he is really gonna be fanastic for Wales and the Blues, it's just I think he works so much better when he's lined up with someone with a bit of creative genius in the midfield, which is why I think him and O'Driscoll worked so well.
[/b][/quote]

I do see what you mean and there doesn't, to my immdeiate thoughts, seem to be an abundance of creative centres.
 
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dullonien

Guest
Have to agree with Thingimubob, if we are to see the best from Roberts in the Wales jersey, he needs a centre alongside him that threatens defensive lines in a different way. There's no doubting he's the best crash ball centre in rugby at present, with his ability to run through 1-2 players and offload. But as was evident towards the end of the 6 nations, alongside Shanklin (very similar kind of player to Roberts, but not as good) Wales became predictable. On the Lions tour we saw the best of Roberts because O'Driscoll offered the perfect foil, Roberts runs through people, O'Driscoll runs round / get's the ball wide.

Imo Henson is still the best candidate to fill the role O'Driscoll played in SA. When he get's a few games under his belt, he usually shows that he's a class act. He's been an important player in two grand slams, the O's are also a much better team when he's playing. I understand that people don't like him or don't rate him, but he's still just 27 and if he can get some injury free years under his belt he'll fulfill some of the potential he posseses.

The other candidates to play alongside Roberts are:
Shanklin - already mentioned that they are too similar.
Jamie Robinson - could work, but not quite as quick as he once was, possibility imo.
James Hook - could well become a better outside centre than an outside half, certainly offers the creativity.
Jonathan Davies - another crash ball centre, poor defense at present.
Andrew Bishop - not quite good enough I'm affraid.

None of those provide the distribution skills Henson does (Hook can, but he tends to crab too much). So basically, I think it's stupid to write Henson off just because Roberts has emerged. I for one am still praying Henson can get fit and stay that way (is he carrying too much weight? O'Driscoll showed how much difference loosing a stone can make!), because then I have would have no doubt he and Roberts would produce an outstanding midfield partnership.
 
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monkeypigeon

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (dullonien @ Jul 14 2009, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Have to agree with Thingimubob, if we are to see the best from Roberts in the Wales jersey, he needs a centre alongside him that threatens defensive lines in a different way.[/b]

It's also important to have a wing that comes into the midfield looking for space, creating diversions and being a general nuisance like Tommy Bowe did and I don't think that Halfpenny or Williams do quite that.

That said though, Halfpenny could develop that side of his game over a couple of years and I see no reason why he won't.

On the shortage of outside centres in Wales, has Tom James ever been given a game there? He's fast, strong and does damage when he has the ball. And he's still what...22/23? Anyone who knows better think that could work?
 
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bristol-iain

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Scarlets fans- Rob Higgitt, has he shown potential that he had when he was at Bris, him and Sam Cox was a decent centre pairing. Not that I'm suggesting Wales pick him, just on the subject on 12's and 13's got me wondering.
 
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MunsterMan

Guest
Or you could move Hook to 13, you haz loadz of young fly halves, Biggar, Owen and yer man from the Dragons for example, and Hook has looked good the few times he has played 13, and he will never make first choice Welsh fly half IMO.
 
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dullonien

Guest
Tom James could work at centre, he's certainly the right build for it. His problem lies with his inexperience, most top flight players have been playing the game since an early age (I'm sure there are a few exceptions), whereas Tom James started playing in his late teens. He's therefore very raw at many of the complexities of rugby (passing, offloading etc. etc. He sure can run though, and that's why I think he's better of staying where he is. He's already a top class winger imo, and often wonders into midfield to do some damage. Pitty he's just picked up a 6 month shoulder injury!

Regarding the wingers comment, I think Shane Williams certainly comes infield looking for work. The amount of tries Wales have scored due to a Williams break in midfield is rediculous. Maybe he doesn't pick hard running angles, but then he hasn't got the size for that, that's where Lee Burne comes in from fullback.

I am starting to think James Hooks best position could be 13. His main weakness at fly half is controlling the game, why not let somebody else do that, Biggar certainly looks to have that side of his game sorted. His defence has improved tenfold from what it was a couple of seasons ago, and he's added a few stone as well. Definitely worth a try.
 
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monkeypigeon

Guest
Fair enough. In that case I'd love to see Roberts and Hook together in the centre;. I can only manage thw damage taht would be done with Roberts crashing through a couple of players and then Hook floating onto the ball.

And with Shane Williams and Mark Jones getting on a bit you might need Tom James on the wing in the next couple of years with Halfpenny.
 
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DuncTheDoodle

Guest
On the subject of wingers, I do feel sorry for Mark Jones. he's a fantastic player, but looks set to have lost his Wales place to LH and TJ. The Scarlets Captainship seems almost like a consolation prize.
 
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Nickdnz

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (dullonien @ Jul 15 2009, 09:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Have to agree with Thingimubob, if we are to see the best from Roberts in the Wales jersey, he needs a centre alongside him that threatens defensive lines in a different way. There's no doubting he's the best crash ball centre in rugby at present, with his ability to run through 1-2 players and offload. But as was evident towards the end of the 6 nations, alongside Shanklin (very similar kind of player to Roberts, but not as good) Wales became predictable. On the Lions tour we saw the best of Roberts because O'Driscoll offered the perfect foil, Roberts runs through people, O'Driscoll runs round / get's the ball wide.

Imo Henson is still the best candidate to fill the role O'Driscoll played in SA. When he get's a few games under his belt, he usually shows that he's a class act. He's been an important player in two grand slams, the O's are also a much better team when he's playing. I understand that people don't like him or don't rate him, but he's still just 27 and if he can get some injury free years under his belt he'll fulfill some of the potential he posseses.

The other candidates to play alongside Roberts are:
Shanklin - already mentioned that they are too similar.
Jamie Robinson - could work, but not quite as quick as he once was, possibility imo.
James Hook - could well become a better outside centre than an outside half, certainly offers the creativity.
Jonathan Davies - another crash ball centre, poor defense at present.
Andrew Bishop - not quite good enough I'm affraid.

None of those provide the distribution skills Henson does (Hook can, but he tends to crab too much). So basically, I think it's stupid to write Henson off just because Roberts has emerged. I for one am still praying Henson can get fit and stay that way (is he carrying too much weight? O'Driscoll showed how much difference loosing a stone can make!), because then I have would have no doubt he and Roberts would produce an outstanding midfield partnership.[/b]
Roberts a better crash ball center then Nonu on his game? I doubt it to be honest. Though he is still an amazing talent.
 
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Sir Speedy

Guest
You're right, Roberts is more of a 'break the line every time' sort of player.

Almost a perfect centre, in honesty.
 
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dullonien

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Nickdnz @ Jul 18 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Roberts a better crash ball center then Nonu on his game? I doubt it to be honest. Though he is still an amazing talent.[/b]

Player of the Lions tour begs to differ. If you watched the Lions v SA tests and the warm-up games you'll see why I stand by my statement. Roberts was consistently awesome, not to mention doing the same week in week out for the Blues and having many similar performances for Wales. He is an utter powerhouse that's better than the majority of number 8's at taking the ball into contact. We've also gotta remember that he only switched to centre on the summer tour to SA a year ago, quite some rise! Will he get even better? I'm sure he will :)
 
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dullonien

Guest
Back to the subject of who will partner Jamie Roberts in the centre for Wales. Now that the Ospreys have actually got proper fullback cover for Lee Burne in the shape of Barry Davies and the youngster Tom Prydie, this should hopefully end the stupid experiment of playing Gareth Owen there. With James Hook and Dan Biggar first and second choice fly-halves, I think we'll see the ridiculously talented Owen played in the centre from now on. He has all the potential to develop into a top class centre and may well be the future partner for Jamie Roberts on the international stage. He should break into the Ospreys first fifteen this season with Henson out and Parker being his main rival, so he will hopefully get lot's of game time.

Lee Halfpenny has shown all the youngsters playing, that if or when they start playing consistently well, Gatland is willing to bring them into the Welsh set-up with little hesitation. Just how it should be. I can see a further 3-5 players breaking into the Welsh squad this season to follow on from Halfpenny and Roberts last year. Warberton, Ben Lewis, Gareth Owen, Tom James (when he returns) and Jason Tovey.
 
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DuncTheDoodle

Guest
I wouldn't be too suprised to see Mark Jones dropped in favour of Tom James...
 
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Blindside6

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (dullonien @ Aug 26 2009, 11:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Back to the subject of who will partner Jamie Roberts in the centre for Wales. Now that the Ospreys have actually got proper fullback cover for Lee Burne in the shape of Barry Davies and the youngster Tom Prydie, this should hopefully end the stupid experiment of playing Gareth Owen there. With James Hook and Dan Biggar first and second choice fly-halves, I think we'll see the ridiculously talented Owen played in the centre from now on. He has all the potential to develop into a top class centre and may well be the future partner for Jamie Roberts on the international stage. He should break into the Ospreys first fifteen this season with Henson out and Parker being his main rival, so he will hopefully get lot's of game time.

Lee Halfpenny has shown all the youngsters playing, that if or when they start playing consistently well, Gatland is willing to bring them into the Welsh set-up with little hesitation. Just how it should be. I can see a further 3-5 players breaking into the Welsh squad this season to follow on from Halfpenny and Roberts last year. Warberton, Ben Lewis, Gareth Owen, Tom James (when he returns) and Jason Tovey.[/b]

I agree with you that Gareth Owen is wasted at fullback. Personally I'd like to see him as back up 10 to Hook. I've got a horrible fear that the clown management at the O's will use Biggar at 10 and stick Hook at 12 until Henson returns then move Hook to 13.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (DuncTheDoodle @ Aug 26 2009, 12:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I wouldn't be too suprised to see Mark Jones dropped in favour of Tom James...[/b]

Tom is injured at the moment, so Mark Jones might still be in with a shout for the AIs. But longterm definitely the wingers should be Halfpenny & James.
 
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bgrugbyfan

Guest
I'm probably one of the only ones on here that likes Henson. I think when he's fit, he's amazing- he has that glide that enables him to get past anyone, his handling skills are good, and his kicking (again, when in form) are dead on. I also find him exasperating because I know he's capable of more and I don't know whether it's ****ling injuries or a lack of ambition- or both- that have been eating at him for the last two seasons. I wish he'd find whatever it is because he is an asset to any team when he's fit. I also think he's a confidence player and I wish he and the coaches could hit upon a strategy that would help him get there.
 
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dullonien

Guest
Nah, most of us Welsh posters think Gav is a great player when fit (although understandibly, you'll be hard pushed to find a non Welsh person who doesn't think he's an over rated tw*t). The thing is, with the emergence of Jamie Roberts we've finally got someone to take his place.

Owen has the all round game to become a great outside half or centre, with pace, strength, vision, a great hand-off and a kicking game. He however finds himself in a team with two other great outside halves, and unless Hook is converted to outside centre (which I doubt after the Lions tour) it's Owen who'll make the move. From a Welsh perspective it also makes sense for Owen to play centre, with Stephen Jones, Hook, Biggar, Nicky Robinson and Tovey? in line for the 10 spot.
 
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bgrugbyfan

Guest
Jamie Roberts continues to impress me. He just keeps adding to his skills and improving.

Re Nicky- I'd like to see him in a Wales shirt this year but even though he did a good job in the summer tour, I'm still hesitant to think GEH will pick him. We'll see. Playing for Glaws this season probably won't help his case.
 
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bristol-iain

Guest
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (bgrugbyfan @ Aug 26 2009, 05:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Jamie Roberts continues to impress me. He just keeps adding to his skills and improving.

Re Nicky- I'd like to see him in a Wales shirt this year but even though he did a good job in the summer tour, I'm still hesitant to think GEH will pick him. We'll see. Playing for Glaws this season probably won't help his case.[/b]

Yeah, cos didnd Gatland say that players playing outside of the Regions would struggle to get picked. Thats why Peel's move to Sale looked particularly ridiculous. In the end he got pickedcos all the Region's 9's got injured apart from Mike "chaaarrrrgggeee" Phillips or they were crap like Gareth Cooper.
 
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DuncTheDoodle

Guest
I actually think that Wales should go and play Roberts on the wing again. As then he'd either be drawing all the defenders outwide, and freeing up other players inside him, or smashing through the few defenders down the flank.

...That, and I can raise the Mark Jones point I seem to have annoyingly made about four times in this topic.

Tovey's always looked stronger at 15 than 10 to me, and Biggar simply doesn't have the experence yet to be at the magnitude people are trying to launch him into. Best thing is to begin to play him in Heinkein Cup games before in Internationals. I hope Robinson is the 3rd choice fly half for the AIs, personally. Or even second, depending on where Hook plays.

Centre-wise, I honestly can't see what's wrong with ol' Shanks, besides his toothless smile. He was up there as one of Wales men of the tournement in this year's 6N. (I'd say alongside Byrne and Stephen Jones) Jamie Robinson has had his day, though. He single-handedly lost the Blues that game against Edignbour at the end of last season. That single hand that deliberatly knocked the ball on and got the Scots a penalty try and himself a yellow card. (Mind you, if I'm honest Yapp helped him. Espechially by passing the the wrong team twice.) Anyway, moving on...
 
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