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Wales AI 21 Squad

MikeTheNative

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Forwards: Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Rhys Carre (Cardiff), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), WillGriff John (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Ben Carter (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Thomas Young (Wasps), Taine Basham (Dragons), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath).

Backs: Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Cardiff), Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears), Johnny Williams (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Willis Halaholo (Cardiff), Ben Thomas (Cardiff), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Owen Lane (Cardiff), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

Some interesting selection and some 'really' selections.
Don't really think Rhodri Jones is test level, Rob Evans and Nicky Smith would be a better selection. Hooker fine, Ken Owens is clear first choice and there's not much between the rest. Glad that John get's a recall, he's been very unlucky to not get a chap and deserves a chance. 2nd rows is what is expected maybe Rhys Davies could have had a look in over Seb Davies but Ben Carter is the young guy chosen. Back row though, on the day that Tshuinza is playing for Exeter uni! He's been called up to test level, I know he's played a bit for Exeter this season but I don't expect him to play, maybe off the bench vs Fiji. With the all the 7 injuries the Young inclusion makes sense, Jenkins still not fully up to speed after long term lay off but Basham has been playing well and deserves a chance. Jac Morgan and Tommy Reffell must be have be close to being included but I can see why they weren't picked. Moriarty has been a bit average for a while now so he needs some big performances, if Navidi was fit I think he doesn't get in.

9s pick themselves, with NZ being out of the test window and Anscombe only two games in to a two year lay off I can see why there was 4 10s picked. I imagine after the NZ game Preistland get's released back. Centres is a position that has looked a bit weak the past few years and that doesn't seem to get better. Jon Davies hasn't really been in form for years now, Johnny Williams is probably the future at 12 but still quite raw, Ben Thomas is a talent at 12 but he doesn't start in a 1st choice Cardiff team. Michael Collins is injured but I reckon he would have started at 13, just what Wales needs, another late 20s New Zealander to plug the gap...... Not sure who else should been given a chance. There's not many others that really put their hand up. As for the back 3 that's were it get's to really, only 5 players and one is unavailable for the first game (LRZ) and one is injured and not played this season (Liam Williams). Owen Lane looks dangerous with the ball and I fear that's he's turning into another Cuthbert....... deadly with the ball but a turnstile in defence. McNicholl is one as well where I'm still not convinced despite him getting a number of caps. Biggest exclusion for me is Jonah Holmes, thought he was just going to be another squad player when first cap but he's really raised his game, he's probably the inform back 3 Welsh player and somehow not picked.
 

TigsMan

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Wales must really really really rate Tshiunza
 

MikeTheNative

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Wales must really really really rate Tshiunza

Yeah it's a pretty mental inclusion. I suppose they are struggling for out and out 6s. Shane Lewis Hughes is currently injured, as is Navidi, then your looking at just choosing another uncapped youngster like Will Griffiths or a older squad player like Josh Turnball.
It does have a hint of 'cap him before England does' to it.
 

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Wales must really really really rate Tshiunza
Presumably just wanting to get him capped asap in case he comes good and England come sniffing
He didn't look great at u20 and I've not noticed him standout for Chiefs

I suppose they are struggling for out and out 6s
I thought he was a lock who also plays 6 (like Lawes, early-career Itoje etc.)?
Might be mistaken though

Big brain scheduling from the WRU to put the NZ game at a time they can't use any of their Prem players


Great to see big WGJ involved - hopefully gets his shot this series
Thomas Young as well, he's long overdue a proper run at international level
 

TigsMan

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Presumably just wanting to get him capped asap in case he comes good and England come sniffing
He didn't look great at u20 and I've not noticed him standout for Chiefs

I thought he was a lock who also plays 6 (like Lawes, early-career Itoje etc.)?
Might be mistaken though

I think he's in a similar position as Martin is
Talented lock at U18 rugby, just doesn't have the size yet to be trusted at higher level hence why he is starting lock for exeter uni.
 

MikeTheNative

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Presumably just wanting to get him capped asap in case he comes good and England come sniffing
He didn't look great at u20 and I've not noticed him standout for Chiefs


I thought he was a lock who also plays 6 (like Lawes, early-career Itoje etc.)?
Might be mistaken though

Big brain scheduling from the WRU to put the NZ game at a time they can't use any of their Prem players


Great to see big WGJ involved - hopefully gets his shot this series
Thomas Young as well, he's long overdue a proper run at international level

The NZ game is a bit of a joke, it's pure money making move, even management has kind of referred to it in that way. Privac even said;

"The reason for having this game, I wholeheartedly agree with, is that we need funding. Without this funding it would be a lot tougher on clubs, players and the union."

He played 2nd row in age grade. Seems to be moving to back row now though, his Exeter appearances have been in the back row. This is a quote from privac today;


"We’re looking at the here and now and also 2023.

He’s a great athlete, a good skill set on him, lacks senior rugby, it’s a discussion I had with Christ post-U20s Six Nations

We’d been monitoring him.

As a 6 we believe going forward, we believe he can cover second row.

He brings something nobody else in the country has in terms of height and athleticism.

Whether he plays rugby in this series, time will tell.

We want to get him in the environment."
 
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TigsMan

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Honestly feel Jonah Holmes would’ve been really good in the England team.

Shame really.
 

MikeTheNative

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From that squad most of the team to get pumped by NZ picks itself....

Wyn Jones, Owens, Francis, AWJ, Rowlands, Moriarty, Jenkins (I would pick Basham though), Wainwright, Tomos Williams, Anscombe, Adams, Davies, Halaholo, McNicholl, liam Williams
Dee/Elias, Carre, John, Beard, Basham, Hardy, Priestland, Tompkins
 

TigsMan

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Shame no Cory Hill heard he puts in some massive bringing down the house performances
 

Reiser99

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Honestly capping Christ Tshiunza just to tie him to Wales at 19 is exactly the sort of thing that the capping of young players has been building to. Obviously he may just end up training, in which case fair enough, but if he is capped barring unavoidable injuries like George Martin, then it's a joke. He will have all this expectation thrust on him to get another cap and he's barely making the bench for Exeter. How is that good enough for internationals?

I've said before that players should be ineligible to be picked by another country for 3-4 years from U20's level. This gives them time to develop, the country they played u20's for a chance to see how they progress.
 

MikeTheNative

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I'm pretty sure that James Ryan played for Ireland before Leinster and he turned out ok. (I think Ryan was a year or two older at the time though) It's still a massive step for the lad and let's hope he responds well to the challenge.

Privac's comments on Amos make a bit more sense now it's been confirmed he's retiring this season to become a doctor. Decent at regional level (at times) I think he did struggle at test level, especially against the top sides, I don't think it's too much of a loss for Wales but good luck to him.
 

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I’d be surprised if he actually gets capped. No way he’s in the match day squads against NZ, SA or Oz. Best case scenario is 20mins off the bench against Fiji and that is by no means guaranteed. I don’t think we have to worry about him playing for England anyway to be honest.
 

MikeTheNative

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I agree he will not be in the squad for NZ,SA or Aus but I wouldn't be surprised if he does actually get on the field for the Fiji game. It's the 3rd game as well which probably gives him a bigger chance to be ready in time.
 

Welsh Exile

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I agree he will not be in the squad for NZ,SA or Aus but I wouldn't be surprised if he does actually get on the field for the Fiji game. It's the 3rd game as well which probably gives him a bigger chance to be ready in time.
As Pivac said re this subject, time will tell. I’d say he’s got about a 50% chance of being on the bench for the Fiji game which you’d take if you were him but my gut says that unless he’s impressing in training (which we can’t really expect him to be doing) then he’ll miss out.

Another thing to consider is that every man and his dog in Wales knows we’re getting pumped by NZ by 40/50 points and while we’ll have a stronger team playing against SA no one is going to be shocked if we lose that one which really puts the pressure on to get a result against Fiji before we play an in form Australia.
 

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Don't think Anscombe or Ellis Jenkins are ready to go up against NZ. They may need to be in the 23 due to unavailability of English based players, but I think Priestland and Basham will start.

I'm wondering if we'll see a limited role from AWJ this november as Pivac asses his successors. For the first time it feels like we've got some genuine options at lock who may offer more going forwards than AWJ. Rowlands, Beard and Carter in particular, but there's a handful of others pushing their cases too.

My team to lose to NZ

Jones, Owens, Francis
Beard, Rowlands
Moriarty, Basham, Wainwright

Tomos Williams, Priestland
Williams, Haloholo
Adams, McNicholl, Lane

Dee/Elias, Carre, Lewis, AWJ, Jenkins, Davies, Anscombe, Foxy

Struggling a little with 6 and centres. Willis and Johnny are both 12's really, but options are limited. Would have preferred Holmes over Lane on the wing, but there we go.
 

Welsh Exile

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I just hope that if we’re playing foxy (which we obviously will) that we play him at 13 and play Halaholo in his best position at inside center. Likelihood is that J Davies will be at 12, I don’t know what that’s all about to be honest.

I personally don’t get the grief this game is getting. Yeah, it’s clearly a money spinner but we’re ******* skint. Yeah, we’ll probably lose by 30 points but then our first 23 could easily lose by that much to be honest.

I’m going to put my balls on the line and say we only lose this game by 15 points which would be a result given the team we’re likely to play. Obviously I won’t be shocked if we lose by 40 plus, though.
 

MikeTheNative

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Wales' record against NZ is such a sad state of affairs I can't even remember a game where they looked they might nick it.
Compared with Aus/SA where at home I think Wales have got a chance of winning I just can't see it happening with NZ.
 

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