Wales AI

Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by dullonien, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. dullonien

    dullonien International

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    So the squad for the AI's has been selected, and it's a head-turner alright!

    Forwards: R Evans (Scarlets), W Jones (Scarlets), N Smith (Ospreys), L Brown (Dragons), T Francis (Exeter), S Lee (Scarlets), K Dacey (Blues), E Dee (Dragons), K Owens (Scarlets), J Ball (Scarlets), A Beard (Ospreys), S Davies (Blues), C Hill (Dragons), AW Jones (Ospreys), S Cross (Ospreys), T Faletau (Bath), D Lydiate (Ospreys), J Navidi (Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys).

    Backs: A Davies (Scarlets), G Davies (Scarlets), R Webb (Opsreys), D Bigger (Ospreys), R Patchell (Scarlets), R Priestland (Bath), O Williams (Gloucester), J Davies (Scarlets), T Morgan (Dragons), H Parkes (Scarlets), O Watkin (Ospreys), H Amos (Dragons), A Cuthbert (Blues), S Evans (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Scarlets, L Williams (Saracens).

    Unavailable for selection (off the top of my head): Gethin Jenkins, Sam Warburton, James Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Olly Griffiths, Ross Moriarty, Dan Baker, George North, Eli Walker.

    The most interesting selection is in the centres. Ignoring the fact that Parkes is there (he isn't available for selection till the SA game), without Roberts or Scott Williams making the cut, we'll see one of Biggar, Patchell, Owen Williams, or Owen Watkin at 12 alongside Biggar/Priestland/Patchell. That's great to see, and makes it obvious that Gats is serious in moving away from Gatland Ball (at last!). I'd love to see a Patchell/Priestland, Watkin, Davies midfield combo!

    No idea how Lydiate and Cuthbert still made the cut! I suppose we're short a lot of back-rowers, but the likes of Boyde, Cracknell, Young and King are still options more deserving. On that note, why has Thomas Young been left out? Sam Cross has made the cut despite only playing a single Ospreys game.

    Overall, happy with the squad, mainly because it shows a change of approach from Gatland.
     
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  3. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    Thomas Young missing out, especially with Warburton and Tipuric missing, is just crazy.
     
  4. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague First XV

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    Have their been any rumours of a Young move to Wales or is he likely to remain at Wasps?
     
  5. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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  7. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon First XV

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    Weird selections in some places and others selected on form, which is new for this management. I’m all for developing players for the future at this point, partciaulrly those in form, but a few have surprised me.

    Hadleigh Parkes is probaby in just about better form than SW, but then surely, as first choice 12 at the moment, you keep him in for these challenging AIs rather than a 30 yo unknown at international level? As already said, it suggests that the team are going to try a playmaker 12 rather than a crash game in the middle. I agree with trying this as we don’t have the size to run that game anymore.

    Sam Cross / Dan Lydiate / Alex Cuthbert all lucky to be there, and you can’t really argue that they’ve been picked on prolonged form. Dan Evans/Tom James in much better form than AC.

    Genuinely happy Navidi has another chance. He’s Mr Consistent and it’d be great if he could get one bench spot against one of the big three.
     
  8. dullonien

    dullonien International

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    Aye, agree with most of what you've said there.

    Dropping Scott Williams is an odd one, but hopefully it'll have the required affect. He hasn't been great this season, and is struggling in general with consistency in his game. He's capable of being the creative, distributing inside centre we need, and has shown a lovely balance of power, pace, agility and distribution in the past. His distribution under pressure sometimes really lets him down, as does his decision making. Bus is Parkes a better player? He's certainly more consistent, but at their best, I'd argue Scott Williams is the better player, with more strings to his bow. I have serious reservations about Parkes' ability to step-up to the pace of international rugby; I'm just not sure he'll be able to be a running threat.

    I have similar reservations over Navidi Bluemoon. He's a great regional player, one of the Blues' most important players, but does he posses the x-factor players now need at international level. There's less and less space for players who are simply consistent, especially when up against the very best. Lydiate too suffers from this. Just making tackles isn't enough, because you have players in NZ, England and even Wales who are almost as good on the tackling front, but offer far more on top.

    Maybe Gatland has seen just that in Sam Cross, a player who's athletic enough to compete with you Itoje's etc. Imo the likes of Young and Boyde can as well, and are far more deserving, but I don't mind Gatland taking a gamble. What I really don't like is the constant selections of Lydiate and Cuthbert, despite showing next to nothing nor a number of years now. Keelan Giles is left out in the cold despite doing nothing wrong other than being unfortunate enough to be playing for a badly malfunctioning Ospreys side, whereas Cuthbert is once again just handed a spot. Giles' potential is huge, and whilst he probably doesn't deserve to start v Aus, he should have been retained in the squad and nurtured. Similarly Sam Davies should still be there for the same reason.

    From the squad selected, hopefully we can see a 23 resembling the following:

    Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Samson Lee
    Jake Ball, Alun-Wyn Jones
    Shingler, Faletau, Tipuric

    Webb, Priestland/Patchell
    Steff Evans, Owen Watkin, Jon Davies, Leigh Halfpenny
    Liam Williams

    Elliot Dee
    Nicky Smith/Wyn Jones
    Leon Brown
    Seb Davies
    Navidi

    Gareth Davies
    Patchell/Priestland/Biggar
    Amos
     
  9. valley commando

    valley commando BANNED!!!

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    Priestland and Navidi are not International class, Lydiate is past his best, Cuthbert is terrible since loosing his confidence wearing a red shirt. No flair at 10 with Sam D left out and also a mistake to overlook Scott D, its a pity James D and Eli W are injured I can't get remotely exited with this squad
     
  10. Bluemoon

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    That was my feeling about Scott Williams too. The Wales set up might be exactly what he needed to find his form, and if not, there are other players there who can step in. Scott has been with this team, waited for Jamie to finish, and now has his chance to adapt to the new order in my view. Think it's a massive shame. I can see Patchell or Williams in at 12 before Parkes. I'd think Parkes is a Georgia starter/bencher?

    I know what you mean about Navidi, but when I say consistent, I mean consistently one of the best players in the Cardiff squad. I just want him to have a chance with the big boys so we can all settle on whether he can step up or not, not a 20 minute run out against Japan.

    Nice team there, although a lot of inexperience on the bench which might cost Wales in the tight games against the big teams. I'm not that bothered about results in this Nov, providing we see some of the younger players start to develop some depth.
     
  11. dullonien

    dullonien International

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    not sure how you can claim Priestland isn't international class? Wales were at their best under Gats when Priestland was pulling the strings at 10. His issue was confidence, but maybe he's overcome that being 5 years older, just as many people do as they mature. I'm happy for him to get a second chance, and he's certainly earned one given his performances for Bath.

    whilst I would have liked to have seen Sam Davies retained in the squad, i can understand why he's been left out. His form has taken a massive nosedive, starting at the end of last season and continuing this. He needs to turn things around. He's certainly behind Biggar, Patchell and Priestland at this moment in time.

    I'm guessing you mean Scott W, not Scott D? Again, whilst I personally would have included him in the squad, the one good thing from his omission (as well as Jamie Roberts) is that we'll definitely see something different in the centres. After years of Gatland saying that Wales are evolving it feels like this is when he's finally realised a change of personnel is required to do so. I don't understand why you're not excited as a result?
     
  12. martinspoonboy1

    martinspoonboy1 Academy Player

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    Good to see there finally being a bit of a shake up. Although it still demonstrates the lack of depth in Wales.

    No doubt, some of the new lads to the squad qill put their hands up if they are given the chance - just on paper I think they'd do well to come out of the Autumn with 50% wins.
    Australia - Aus maybe have the edge after their great AB win.
    NZ - Very unlikely
    Georgia - Win
    SA - Probably a coin toss.
     
  13. Bluemoon

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    Absolutely this. Let's not forget he was pulling the strings in 2011. Yes that was a long time ago, but perhaps age, time away from the Wales goldfish bowl and experience may lead to a new vein of form for Rhys. Him and Cuthbert have got some incredibly bad responses from the fan base.

    My concern is that Gats and his team themselves are moving away from the stye that they have always tried to use. I don't blame them for sticking to their strengths and what had originally worked very at European level and suited a physical Wales team. For me, changing styles is equally a learning curve for Gats as it is for the team. I'm worried about what that means at international level and I am whole heartedly hoping there are some positive surprises over the next two years.
     
  14. martinspoonboy1

    martinspoonboy1 Academy Player

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    Yeah, I fully expect a repeat of the 2017 6N for the next few years. (3rd/4th/5th) It will take time for Wales to adapt to the new style. Long overdue however. It then comesdown to whether they can draft in the right personel to execute - currently I think they're about thin on the ground in this regard.
     
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  16. valley commando

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  17. GarethGriffiths

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  18. dullonien

    dullonien International

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    Not sure myself. I doubt Dan Evans' ability to step-up, in the same way Alex Goode doesn't get a look-in for England (and Goode has been doing it for the best side in Europe at Saracens!).

    I'm not quite sure why I don't think Evans has what it takes, but I just don't. I suppose I just find him a bit middle of the road, solid, but on the whole unspectacular. I do see the irony in saying that after he's just scored a brace v Clermont and Saracens back to back, but there we go. I may be completely wrong, but it doesn't look like I'll be proven wrong anytime soon with Gatland obviously thinking the same!

    Part of me would like to see him given a fair shot with the hope that he did prove me wrong, because I'd love for him to succeed after being overlooked for so long.
     
  19. MarkyH

    MarkyH Bench Player

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    Sam D not injured? I thought he would be deffo in the squad, showed good flashes in the 6N last year but I admit most I know of him is hyperbole from your good self :)
     
  20. MarkyH

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    Ignore that, just read that his form has nosedived...
     
  21. valley commando

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    He hasn't had many chances to turn his form around to be fair to him, only been used as a bit player this season, I'm sure he will come good. One shinning light this season is Steff Evans, it will be a travesty if he doesn't get an extended run for Wales.
    As far as Gat's is concerned, I like him as a coach and appreciate what he has done for us, however he does have faults and does appear stubborn almost saying **** you to the press and fans ie repeatedly picking the likes of Cuthbert and Jamie Roberts, whilst not including the likes of Tipuric, Sam Davies, Keelan Giles and Eli Walker in the 15 when fit and firing. Then you have the bizarre omissions from squads of the excellent (when fit) James Davies and Ashley Beck and more recently Dan Evans.
     
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