Wales going into the 6 Nations

Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by dullonien, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    How do we all see Wales' chances going into the AI's? With Gatland on Lions duty, Howley will take control, which imo will benefit Wales, as it allows for a new voice in the form of Mark Sherratt to join the squad. Not a fan at all of Howley as an attack coach, but he performed well as the head honcho last time round, which suggests he may be better at overseeing than he is at being an attack coach.

    There's question marks surrounding the availability of the English based players for the first game v Aus. Will Faletau still be crocked? Will Howley make some changes that many of the public have been crying out for? This is what I'd pick, based on having the English players available:

    01 Gethin Jenkins. Still going strong, and with Rob Evans injured, should certainly be first choice. Nicky Smith has returned to the form which saw him earn his first cap, but a bench spot makes more sense.

    02 Ken Owens. Baldwin has lost his starting spot at the Ospreys to Sam Parry, so it'll be interesting if that affects his Wales cause. Owens should retain his starting spot after his exploits in the summer.

    03 Samson Lee. Looked far more solid in the scrum v's Sale yesterday. Needs a run of injury free game time now to hopefully show that there's more to him than simply a scrummager. Still not to much backup available. Been a little disappointed that Dillon Lewis hasn't had much of an opportunity at the Blues this season, so he can't be seen as a credible option. Francis may or may not be available, but in any case he feels distinctly like a stop-gap option. Andrews is improving in the scrum under Wilson at the Blues, but it'd be a bit of a miracle if he managed to make him an international standard scrummager.

    04 Luke Charteris/Bradley Davies. Still like the balance of Alun-Wyn and Charteris together, but Cherteris may not be available. Davies is growing into his Ospreys role, whilst Thornton has had an impressive start to the season, very much in the mold of AWJ.

    05 AWJ. After looking a little tired at times last season, he's looking back to his best again now.

    06 Ross Moriarty. Impressed me out in NZ, and has been playing well in a struggling team at Gloucester. Adds aggression and a carrying presence that we need more of. If he isn't available, then there's the likes of Lydiate, King, or playing dual opensides with Jenkins, Warbs or Navidi playing at 6.

    07 Justin Tipuric. Should be a starter. Offers too much to only be used as an impact sub. In the form of his life following his concussion layoff. Crazy stats doing the rounds after the first three Pro12 games, of him making 70 tackles, missing none. Shows that he does the unseen stuff as well as scoring 60m try's etc.

    08 Dan Baker. I expect Faletau to still be out, and we really need to develop some backup. Baker is back playing well, offering some good go forward. Other options include King and Navidi, or shifting Moriarty.

    09 Rhys Webb. Class player who's been in top form for the Ospreys this season. Gareth Davies had a great game yesterday, but still takes the wrong decision on occasion, such as kicking the ball after Jon Davies' break and Scott Williams' round the back pass in the game v Sale.

    10 Sam Davies. Screw it, get him in there. If we want to get the best out of the likes of North, Liam Williams and our centers, then Davies is the one to guide Wales imo. His variety of play is far superior to Biggar's, and he fits the modern game like a glove. Biggar would be a great option to have on the bench. Problem is, it royally screws over the Ospreys, losing both of their 10's. Anscombe, Patchell and Owen Williams are decent option too.

    11 Leigh Halfpenny. Will be nice to have him back. His solid all-round game helps to balance the backline. Wouldn't mind if he's retained at fullback, but Liam deserves to continue there imo. Eli Walker has put in a string of consistently excellent displays for the Ospreys this season, combining solidity in defense, with some electric running. Watch out for Keelan Giles, could be offered an opportunity at some point in the AI's.

    12 Scott Williams. Had an indifferent start to the season, but showed real class v Sale and the sort of variety we need if we are to develop our attacking game. Mind, I'd be interested to see how Roberts could be brought into the game by Sam Davies. His pull back passes on the gain-line could really suit Roberts. I'd like to see Beck back involved at some stage, but after such a horror run with injuries, he needs to concentrate on getting some game time at the O's.

    13 Jon Davies. Another player to have had an indifferent start to the season, but hopefully turned the corner now.

    14 George North. Been showing some great form for Northampton of late. Cuthbert is returning to some form, whilst Tom James has had a great start to the season, but it has to be North if available. Nice to see a little depth developing on the wings. With a little luck we'll have a few good options available on both wings soon.

    15 Liam Williams. Become a really reliable performer, and deserves to play at fullback where he makes most impact in a game.

    16 Scott Baldwin/Sam Parry.
    Most likely to be Baldwin, but I like Parry myself. Dacey is another option who's been playing well for the Blues.
    17 Nicky Smith. Big future for this talented youngster. Imo he'll be Wales first choice when Jenkins finally calls it quits.
    18 Tomas Francis. If he's available that is.
    19 Bradley Davies/Luke Charteris. If Charteris isn't available, then Rory Thornton.
    20 Sam Warburton/Ellis Jenkins. Plenty of options here, with James Davies another. Navidi would provide good bench cover too, covering all three backrow positions with aplomb.
    21 Gareth Davies.
    22 Dan Biggar.
    23 Jamie Roberts/Cory Allen.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  3. BPM

    BPM Senior Member

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    You're probably not a million miles off a starting XV for the Australia game there.

    I'm not sure Howley would be brave enough to start Sam Davies TBH. Biggar played the full 80 against Newcastle and I think it would be a very bold move to put Davies straight in for Australia, even if he is the form 10.

    After Moriarty's performances in NZ, I agree he's probably inked-in at 6, but I suspect that would mean Tipuric is unlikely to start as it would mean dropping Warburton, which I don't see happening.

    I also would have thought Williams will start on the wing with Halfpenny at 15. As much as Williams may deserve to start at 15, he has more gas and more recent experience of playing on the wing, so it's probably the easier fit.

    I'd expect a fairly predictable starting XV against Australia and then depending on the result, I think Howley may be a bit more experimental for the Argentina and Japan games. It would definitely do you good to blood Sam Davies, Rory Thornton and possibly even Keelan Giles. You'd also benefit from giving more experience to players like Nicky Smith, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins and Tyler Morgan.
     
  4. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    I'd like to see the Dragon Hallem Amos in the backs personally. Performing very well in challenging circumstances.

    Agree on Tipuric. A sign of how much the game has changed in a few years that counterrucking and scrummage have declined in importance and makes it possible to go with a lighter man like Tipuric.

    Probably the best strength in depth in the Welsh game at the moment that I can recall (although I'm no expert).
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  5. BPM

    BPM Senior Member

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    For entertainment value and skill, Tipuric is arguably the best openside in the Northern Hemisphere but Wales' depth at 7 is ridiculous. Even discounting Warburton and Tipuric, Ellis Jenkins and James Davies would be likely starters for other countries and Thomas Young would be there or thereabouts.

    They have two Lions contenders for the 15 shirt and with Biggar, Sam Davies, Priestland and Patchell, there's also a lot of depth at 10, but as is often the way with international rugby, that's balanced out by a real lack of depth in other positions. I'm sure most Wales fans would love a few top quality props and locks to replace. Gethin Jenkins is 35 and the quality behind Alun-Wyn Jones, Charteris and Bradley Davies isn't really there. Jake Ball is pretty average and other options are pretty much untried - certainly at test level.
     
  6. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Senior Member

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    Good post Dull!

    The only one I can't agree with is Baker at the moment. I still don't think that he's ready to step up yet as I find him very inconsistent for the Ospreys. Perhaps he'd be good to try against Japan somewhere. I'm putting him and King in the same bracket as not quite ready to step up yet.

    The back row is going to be a tough one to call particularly as there aren't many in form 8's playing in Wales at the moment. Might they play Sam at 8, with Tips and Lyds? Or Maybe Moriarty at 8 with Sam and Tips? That second one would be pretty dynamic.

    Your chosen backline is probably our strongest at the moment! I think that Howley will probably stick with Biggar this time around.

    There are a lot of big decisions for Howley in these tests, and if there was a time to experiment it should be now!
     
  7. TRF_SelimNiai

    TRF_SelimNiai 'Ark at ee mun!

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    Dullonien for Wales Coach!

    Thats the side I'd go with. And I hope that the glameplan we took into the summer tests, especially the first 2 stays and we dont revert to predictable type.

    Whens the squad announced?
     
  8. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    I believe the squad is being announced on Tuesday.

    I don't necessarily agree that Tips is only good for entertainment value and skill. He's one of the most rounded players I can think of, mixing it in the tight and excellent in the loose. He get's over the ball, and wins his team plenty of turnovers. Sure there are more physical players out there playing at 7, Warburton being one, but sacrificing a little in the tight gains you a huge amount in every other facet of the game.

    In terms of strength in depth, we're definitely improving. A few positions still lacking such as tighthead and no. 8. There are some promising youngsters that will hopefully come through in the next year or two to bolster us there. I'm not too concerned with lock, both Lloyd Ashley and Thornton are good players, although the Blues and Scarlets haven't really got anyone obvious coming through, with both playing back rowers out of position currently.
     
  9. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    I'd be a fan of a 6. Warbs 7. Tips 8. Moriarty back row
     
  10. BPM

    BPM Senior Member

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    Dullonien - I don't know how you took me saying that Tipuric being 'arguably the best in the Northern Hemisphere' for 'entertainment and skill' as any kind of criticism of the other aspects of his game. Honestly, I wish England had a player like him!

    I was simply saying that 7 is a hugely competitive position for Wales and particularly given that one of those players is the captain, I think the likelihood of him starting isn't as high as it probably should be.
     
  11. AzaMatt

    AzaMatt Senior Member

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    this will hamper our team for the first test. it certainly makes it more exciting though

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/english-rugby-clubs-issue-firm-12034762

    heres the options for the players that cant play that first test (that i can think of)

    Wing - Liam williams, Halfpenny, Tom James, Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert, Eli walker, Keelan Giles

    My Pick - as per dullions post id like to see Williams stay at fullback and have halfpenny on the wing, although i can see it being done in reverse. the other wing id go with Hallam Amos or Tom James as the more reliable in defence. but if looking to attack attack id go with walker or Giles

    inside Centre (to partner davies obviously) - Scott williams, Ben John, Cory Allen (is he fit?) Ashley Beck

    My Pick id go with Scott Williams, with Ben john on the bench to cover centre and wing (really hope he gets a shot as hes on fire)

    lock (to partner AWJ) - Bradley Davies, Jake ball, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (at a push)

    My Pick - Brad Davies, with Ball on the Bench

    Back-row (probably the most cover) - Warbs, Tips, Lydiate, Baker, King, Navidi, James Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Turnbull

    My Pick - 6 Warbs (as he has been playing 6 for the blues and lydiate not played very much) - 7 Tipuric- 8 Baker

    this first test should certainly be interesting to say the least!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  12. AzaMatt

    AzaMatt Senior Member

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    the only added advantage for this test is warbs has played very little rugby (which doesnt normally stop him playing for internationals), but when he did play i believe he was played at 6 for the blues with jenkins or navidi at 7. so its possible we could see warbs at 6 and tips at 7 for at least the first test. its criminal if tips doesnt start this time around, he cant possibly do anymore than he is doing
     
  13. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    Fir enough BPM, obviously misread your post slightly.

    Yeah, very interesting.

    We've got some cover in many positions, but 8 and tighthead cover is a bit of a concern.
     
  14. AzaMatt

    AzaMatt Senior Member

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    yup although at least we can start finding a back up for falatau now though. not convinced its baker but his form is good so should give him a shot.
     
  15. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    I like Baker. His form's been a little up and down over the last couple of seasons, but he's got a lot going for him. Strong carrier with quick feet.

    Problem is, there's no other genuine Welsh 8's playing at the regions. Hopefully Harrison Keddie comes through as hoped at the Dragons, because he's the only one I can think of.

    Navidi and King have played there with good effect at regional level, but I think both would come up short at 8 internationally imo.
     
  16. TRF_Peat

    TRF_Peat Super Moderator

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    Really can't imagine King as an 8 at international level. He's a workhorse, not a weapon, at least based on what I've seen. I think if you don't like Baker there and Faletau isn't fit, you give Moriarty a go.

    Taking a punt on Davies over Biggar would be huge. Its certainly Wales' future sooner or later but for Howley to do it now would... yeah, I don't think its gonna happen. Shame.
     
  17. AzaMatt

    AzaMatt Senior Member

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    its a tricky position for us, we've relied on falatau for so long with 0 back up. keddie was great in the under 20's, but as you said i hope he gets a chance to shine at the dragons. when is the wales A team introduced again? hopefully its next year.

    I hope that in the AI's sam davies gets a shot with a decent backline and pack, it would be unfair to put him in a full 2nd string team, look at what happened last year in the RWC warm ups. Ireland destroyed us, the backs were quality had no chance at all to shine due to being manhandled up front.

    For the japan game howley should call on a full strength wales team but include some new players, Sam Davies 10, Ben John at 12 , i would say Dan Evans at 15 but seems pointless given that theres no way he'd replace halfpenny or williams in the long term. maybe even give having a 2nd playmaker a shot. a couple of games biggar and davies have played at 10 and 12 for the ospreys and it didnt do us any harm. the only problem with that at international level is Roberts is invaluable in defence. someone did state above that Davies could get alot more out of Roberts though in attack which i do really believe, if Roberts gets a flat pass on the gainline all the time theres more of a chance of him making a break rather than just crashing into the defence and gaining a couple of yards. Davies does those kinds of passes expertly and is a silky runner in the mould of Beauden Barret.

    sorry for the wall of text! haha
     
  18. AzaMatt

    AzaMatt Senior Member

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    WALES 2016 UNDER ARMOUR SERIES SQUAD

    Prop: Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues) (12 Caps) Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (14 Caps) Rhys Gill (Cardiff Blues) (6 Caps) Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (126 Caps) Samson Lee (Scarlets) (28 Caps) Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (3 Caps)

    Hooker: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (24 Caps) Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps) Ken Owens (Scarlets) (42 Caps)

    Second Row: Jake Ball (Scarlets) (20 Caps) Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby) (68 Caps) Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (56 Caps) Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (102 Caps) Rory Thornton (Ospreys) (UNCAPPED)

    Back Row:
    Dan Baker (Ospreys) (3 Caps) Taulupe Faletau* (Bath Rugby) (61 Caps) James King (Ospreys) (8 Caps) Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (57 Caps) Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (9 Caps) Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (43 Caps) Sam Warburton (CAPT) (Cardiff Blues) (67 Caps)

    Scrum Half:Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (17 Caps) Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (22 Caps) Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) (27 Caps)

    Fly Half: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (8 Caps) Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (48 Caps) Sam Davies (Ospreys) (UNCAPPED)

    Centre:
    Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (56 Caps) Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons) (3 Caps) Jamie Roberts* (Harlequins) (83 Caps) Scott Williams (Scarlets) (38 Caps)

    Wing/Full Back: Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons) (10 Caps) Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) (42 Caps) Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (62 Caps) George North* (Northampton Saints) (62 Caps) Liam Williams (Scarlets) (35 Caps) * Denotes Senior Player Selection Policy wildcard selection.

    Sam Davies will get a shot!, couple of surprises there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  19. webbyinjapan

    webbyinjapan Member

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    I am a long way away from Neath, and so apart from a few sketchy internet highlights, I cannot really make a judgement...but how good do you think Sam Davies is?
     
  20. Ddanno

    Ddanno Senior Member

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    Cuthbert? Again?? How many times...

    Anyway, why are 1/2p and Lydiate automatically exempt from the selection policy? Is it down to the timing of their contracts and the policy?
     
  21. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    Developing into a very rounded 10. Excellent kicking and distribution game, solid running game, acceptable defence. Definitely the future, and I'd argue the present.

    Halfpenny signed his original contract before the policy came into effect, with an option for a third year which he took up. Lydiate plays for the Ospreys....
     
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