- Nov 29, 2011
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Yeah, everything I've said is my thought process / rationale coupled with what I can glean from how he has treated players in the past. He's party to a lot more information than I am and presumably by has decided how he wants his team to play to win the series.Again, I agree with a lot of what you say but it’s all about getting inside Gats head and I just wonder whether with people like the ones mentioned whether their poor form won’t be a major issue for him.
I would take even a part fit Sam Underhill on tour as long as the prognosis is good. I rate him that highly and think he matches up well against the Springboks. I'd be surprised if Gatland doesn't hold him in high regard too.There’s also players like Simmonds, Marler and Underhill who have played no international rugby recently that a lot of people seem to believe are in his thinking. I actually think if Rhys Webb wasn’t injured he’d have a half decent chance of going. He’s no different to most coaches, he has his favourites but we’ll see how much credit they have with him come squad selection/first test.
I'd be on the phone to Marler asking if he wants to tour, he's at least the third best option out there IMO. I'd want to do a lot of talking to make sure that him going is right for both player and team though. Given that he didn't want to commit to the 6N, I'd be surprised if he said yes though.
I'm not sold on Simmonds for this tour. All he brings that you can't get from elsewhere is a crazy amount of pace / acceleration for a back rower. I wouldn't see that as a sufficiently valuable asset to take him in favour of the experienced internationals available. He looks good for Exeter playing at the base of a dominant pack with the space if affords. Behind a pack who will be doing well to get parity, I can't see him looking good. The only time I really remember him standing out for England was against Italy, who gave him a platform to use his pace.