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Rob Howley Wales Head Coach Empty Rob Howley Wales Head Coach

Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 3:06 pm

As expected, Warren Gatland becomes Lions Head Coach, and cedes his position of leading Wales as a result.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37297212

Rob Howley has of course been here before, with the most boom-and-bust results you could imagine: during the 2012 AI, the team lost four in a row having also lost three Tests down in Australia, despite their narrow margins, condemning Wales to 9th place in the world rankings, and thus the third pool of seeds for the World Cup. They were drawn into a 'group of death', as well all know.

However, under his stewardship, they went on the win the 2013 6N a few months later, with perhaps one of the greatest Welsh performances during the professional era coming on the final day of the championship.

He was then called up to be Lions attack coach during the 2013 Tour, a position he had also filled four years previously, and as such cannot be held responsible for the debacle that occurred in Japan that Summer, which was presided over by Robin Mcbryde.

There are therefore a few things of interest I think for Welsh fans:

1. Firstly, there was a sense that Gatland was still very much a remote coach for Wales, with influence from afar- which makes sense- and that Howley had limited autonomy. The extent of this is unknown however. There were a few decisions, such as bring Lee Byrne back into the fold for the first time in 18 months even if he didn't get on the field, under Howley that perhaps wouldn't have happened under Gatland. Still, with Gatland having to come back to Wales after the Tour, it is understandable that he felt he couldn't sit on his hands, and offered advice where he could. I also believe that he even sat in the coaching box during one of the games Howley was in charge of (this may have been in Australia, when Gatland had broken ankles, a time which possibly outside the umbrella of the 'official sabbatical').

2. If the above was true, then how much responsibility will Howley have, particularly as there should have been greater foresight that this would happen than last time. This time, as there is a precedent and probably a long held assumption that Gatland would make Head Coach for the Lions, and Howley would fill in during his sabbatical, surely they are better placed to manage the change in leadership, whatever that may mean (lesser/greater input from Gatland etc.)

3. I feel that Gatland has coasted somewhat since the last Lions Tour with Wales. He seems more relaxed, less antagonistic, and less driven, to achieve with Wales- if only marginally- which is reflected on the field. This, I feel, is with one eye on the big tournaments that will set him up in good stead: World Cups, Lions Tours etc., those than will put him in the window for the All Blacks job. This may be a misreading of things, and it may simply be that Gatland is maturing, rather than angling himself for the All Blacks job, which still feels a long way away from his current position. Nevertheless, this brings into light the very real situation which will be post-Gatland Wales. He has already been Head Coach for 9 years, which will have become 12 if he stays to see out his contract. During much of this time, he has been untouchable, even during the bad periods, due to the success he has brought to the team. He has avoided the typical cries of partisanship and of incompetence that usually plague a Welsh coach, due to his nationality and his success with the side. Yet all that will probably come back to the fore once he leaves. The plan, I presume, is to have Howley take over in the manner Steve Hansen took over Graham Henry, yet- faced with the Welsh media, and the differing standard they hold Welsh coaches to- is he able to withstand that transition. Is Wales ready to give up on foreign coaches, such has been Gatland's success? Is Howley 'good enough', in as far as we can ever predict?

4. Will Howley go on this Lions Tour? Having gone on two already, he seems the obvious candidate based on experience and having won Gatland's trust, yet do Wales risk a repeat of Japan if they disrupt the coaching team again for the Summer? If he is to take over after the 2019 WC, is it not more beneficial to Wales to have him go on a Tour as Head Coach, rather than perform the role of attack coach- albeit it for the Lions at the highest level- when he has 8 years' experience of this already?

5. Do we hold Wales's attack as Howley's legacy, and as such use it as a basis for the way he will lead Wales? Or has he merely operated to Gatland's desires and instructions? Can we say with any certainty that Howley would play it differently, to encourage a different (better? worse?) style and approach for the Welsh players once Gatland departs? Will we see some of this in his second trial year, so to speak?

6. Finally, how well do we think Wales will do this year, regardless of the coaching changes? Last season was pretty disappointing; the World Cup was decent whilst still retaining a sense of not fulfilling their potential, and in the 6N this was even more evident, with somewhat apathetic performances against Ireland and England feeling like it was an opportunity missed to pick up their first silverware in a while. Whilst the NZ tour showed flashes of intent, and against the best team in the world by some margin, there was a distinct gap in ability between teams and 'consensus' that their team could actually win the match at times. Even when close on the scoreboard, Wales never really seemed to look like they could take the game by the scruff of the neck, and do whatever it took to win. The talk of becoming the best in the World has stopped: however much of that was bluster, or 'kidology', is perhaps secondary to the fact such talk has stopped. Is this permeating from Gatland, as I suggested above, that there's a lessening of the collective ambitions? As such- and with the regions going through a very tough period both on and off the field- how much can we really expect from this Welsh team, and how well can Howley really do in these circumstances?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 3:42 pm

I can't help but think that the WRU are grooming Howley to be Gatland's successor, regardless of the merits of others (Dai Young, for one) - and I can't help but be depressed as a result. The whole Team Wales setup is stagnant and in urgent need of fresh ideas and impetus, but the prospect of getting them seems more and more remote.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 3:51 pm

Is Rob Howley the best choice to take over from Gatland as Wales head coach?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 3:53 pm

This is a lovely touch from the BBC:

'After Gatland was named 2013 Lions coach in Sept 2012, Howley's role as caretaker was extended to cover the 2013 Six Nations.

That ended with a record 30-3 win over England as Wales won European rugby's crown.'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37297212

That neatly skips over the Autumn series whitewash over which he presided, which, combined with the subsequent Six Nations defeat to Ireland, was a record run of five straight home defeats.

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:31 pm

I think Rob Howley did a fantastic job last time around. I believe he is the man to lead us this season. He has plenty of experience having been on two Lions tours in 2009 and 2013 and knows the game inside out. Australia look very weak at the moment so there's a potential scalp there for Howley and I must admit neither Argentina or South Africa look very good either so there's potentially two more scalps there. Wales are obviously expected to beat Japan on home soil. He has a very reliable deputy in Robin McBryde who will support him 100% and make sure the forwards give the talented backs good ball to play with.

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Post by munkian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:34 pm

Do people really think that Gatland didn't have a hand in the 2013 championship ?

Complete lack of ambition by the WRU
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:36 pm

international198 wrote:I think Rob Howley did a fantastic job last time around.

We suffered an Autumn series whitewash last time he was in charge. Hardly fantastic.

international198 wrote:Australia look very weak at the moment so there's a potential scalp there for Howley and I must admit neither Argentina or South Africa look very good either so there's potentially two more scalps there.

That whitewash included a defeat to Samoa, so I'm not sure why you think he'll lead us to victories over Australia, Argentina and South Africa.

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Post by munkian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:40 pm

Won't Gatland be in charge this Autumn then ?
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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:46 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:That whitewash included a defeat to Samoa

In fairness, they did decapitate half our players during that game, I remember a few going off and not coming back on. But they are Samoa though ain't they ? That's how they roll so we should all except it. Rolling Eyes

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:46 pm

No, I don't believe so. I think the stipulation from the Lions was that any coach takes the 16/17 season off. I thought that was the case last time, but apparently not. I remember Howley being in charge during the Tour to Australia, but that seems to be due to Gatland's injury:

While Gatland recuperated after breaking both heels in an accident, Howley took charge of Wales against the Barbarians in June and for the following three Test matches against Australia.

He was also at the helm for the opening two games in the autumn series against Argentina and Samoa as Gatland concentrated on his Lions duties.

He did come back in against Australia as I thought, but it was the infamous 12-14 game that decided Wales would be in the third pool of seeds. I think that was a case of panic, him coming in last minute hoping to get the all important win to avoid a dreadful WC group, so I don't anticipate anything similar to happen again, but it does seem to be an unscheduled return, as he had started his Lions sabbatical by then.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/20576016


Last edited by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:48 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
international198 wrote:I think Rob Howley did a fantastic job last time around.

We suffered an Autumn series whitewash last time he was in charge. Hardly fantastic.

international198 wrote:Australia look very weak at the moment so there's a potential scalp there for Howley and I must admit neither Argentina or South Africa look very good either so there's potentially two more scalps there.

That whitewash included a defeat to Samoa, so I'm not sure why you think he'll lead us to victories over Australia, Argentina and South Africa.

Because he has learned from his mistakes and will improve. If you looked at his record the last time he was in charge you'll notice that he got better and better as time went on. He won 4 games on the trot which culminated in a historic 30-3 win over England at the Millennium Stadium.

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:49 pm

Good news then, Howley's going to lead Wales to a Grand Slam season, picking up where he left off. I look forward to Wales winning 9 Tests in a row.

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:51 pm

miaow wrote:Good news then, Howley's going to lead Wales to a Grand Slam season, picking up where he left off. I look forward to Wales winning 9 Tests in a row.

I don't expect them to win 9 tests in a row but I expect them to be impressive and hopefully take a few big scalps over the season.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:53 pm

Yes, he won four game on the trot, but he also lost five on the trot. The wins don't erase the defeats.

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:56 pm

international198 wrote:
miaow wrote:Good news then, Howley's going to lead Wales to a Grand Slam season, picking up where he left off. I look forward to Wales winning 9 Tests in a row.

I don't expect them to win 9 tests in a row but I expect them to be impressive and hopefully take a few big scalps over the season.

Based on what exactly? The Welsh team had a pretty average season just gone, and they're not as good as they were in the 2012-13 season, even on paper or on the field. One or two players aside, they're actually in a worse place, with most players still in the team from that era not at the same level of performance or form. So, what are you basing your opinion on? Why do you think that Wales will do so well, other than Howley won four games in the 6N 3 and a half years ago?

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 4:58 pm

Leigh Halfpenny is back from injury and James Davies is in the form of his life after picking up a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. These two players can improve our XV dramatically.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:00 pm

international198 wrote:James Davies is in the form of his life after picking up a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

I didn't realise were playing Sevens this autumn.

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:01 pm

I don't think James Davies will make the squad, let alone the starting XV, so I think the difference he makes to Wales' fortunes will be whatever advice he can give to his brother, at least until Tipuric or Warburton gets injured.

Where would you play Halfpenny? Would you have him at XV, and compromise our best attacking threat, either by benching him, or forcing him to play on the wing? Or would you put him back on the wing, a position Halfpenny hasn't played since 2010?

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:02 pm

I would put Leigh Halfpenny at fullback and Liam Williams on the wing.


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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:04 pm

Possibly? So you'd consider dropping Liam Williams for the sake of having a kicker- albeit a brilliant one- who is not that much better at kicking goals than Dan Biggar? I have to say that would most certainly make the Welsh team weaker than it already is.

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:06 pm

Most certainly. I would not drop Liam Williams I would just move him to the wing.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:07 pm

Wouldn't you even wait to see what sort of form Halfpenny's in? Don't you think that might be worth considering?

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Post by international198 on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:08 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Wouldn't you even wait to see what sort of form Halfpenny's in? Don't you think that might be worth considering?

I've read he's in good form. Has kicked 18 out of 18 in the Top14 this season so far.

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 5:25 pm

international198 wrote:Most certainly. I would not drop Liam Williams I would just move him to the wing.

Ok, I assumed "possibly" move him to the wing meant you might put him on the wing, or on the bench.

Are Wales good enough to rely solely on Halfpenny's kicking though? We've seen how much better Liam Williams is at 15 compared to playing on the wing, and so to remove the best attacking threat from what can be at times a toothless attack, isn't that surely weakening the Welsh team? We don't have the pack that can bully Ireland, Scotland, let alone England, and use Halfpenny's kicking to win games like we did in 2012-13, where our scrum won us games. We're not good enough in that regard, so need to use our running threats better, and I don't see how hampering our best running threat to accommodate a player who is a far less effective attacker, and hasn't played for the best part of 12 months, achieves that?

Equally, if all you have to go on is what you've read about him, rather than you watching him play- even on TV- how confident can you be that he's ready to play for Wales again, let alone make the team exponentially better on his return?

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Post by miaow on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 7:19 pm

Perhaps an interesting thing to consider in relation to Howley's management will be who he will omit due to the new selection criteria for Wales.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37300579

If only three players playing outside Wales can be selected, out of the list below (I'm sure I'm missing one or two, disregarding the likes of Hook and Hibbard etc., who are reasonable selections but not currently at one of the regions), who misses out?

Jamie Roberts
George North
Rhys Priestland
Luke Charteris
Leigh Halfpenny
Taulupe Faletau
Tomas Francis
Aaron Jarvis

Seems like North and Faletau pick themsevles, as they are head and shoulders above anyone else in their position. For me it comes down to a shootout between Halfpenny and Roberts, traditionally two absolutely key cogs in Gatland's system, but are they in Howley's? Could there be a punishment for one of them (most likely to be Halfpenny based on age) to force them to come back to Wales, or is that foolish to do in Lions year, such is the resentment a player could hold as result of missing the Tour due to not playing for Wales? Could it be Faletau who is punished, for be the most recent player to move, and in a manner that was particularly galling for the WRU? Or will Gatland/Howley simply select the three who are the most valuable to Wales, which I think is up for debate between the four I've listed.

If Howley does have control for the next season, does that effect things in any way? Is it "Gatland's law", or is it a WRU law that will last the test of time?

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Post by exile jack on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 8:15 pm

This summer Mrs EJ and me took the opportunity of my son's wedding in NZ to a Kiwi girl to follow the Welsh team in NZ.What an aching disappointment the tour was.It beggars belief that anyone can believe the suggestion Wales were competitive.They weren't.They were outclassed by a better coached team.The general consensus in NZ was that only Liam W,George N and Toby F and Gethin J were international standard.There was widespread disbelief at how far Wales had regressed since 2011.That regression has to be laid at the doors of Howley,McBryde and Jenkins.They are simply not up to the task of coaching top flight professional rugby players.The WRU is sleepwalking to disaster with these comedians in place.




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Post by offload on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 10:39 pm

international198 wrote:I think Rob Howley did a fantastic job last time around. I believe he is the man to lead us this season. He has plenty of experience having been on two Lions tours in 2009 and 2013 and knows the game inside out. Australia look very weak at the moment so there's a potential scalp there for Howley and I must admit neither Argentina or South Africa look very good either so there's potentially two more scalps there. Wales are obviously expected to beat Japan on home soil. He has a very reliable deputy in Robin McBryde who will support him 100% and make sure the forwards give the talented backs good ball to play with.

You are either:
1. Suffering from severe delusion
2. Blind to the fact that the Welsh team has shown no improvement for several years
3. An annoying WUM

The current Welsh coaching staff is stale and the team has shown no recent progress. They have run their course and if the WRU had any metal it would get a fresh coaching team. They are not international class.
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Post by offload on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 10:41 pm

exile jack wrote:This summer Mrs EJ and me took the opportunity of my son's wedding in NZ to a Kiwi girl to follow the Welsh team in NZ.What an aching disappointment the tour was.It beggars belief that anyone can believe the suggestion Wales were competitive.They weren't.They were outclassed by a better coached team.The general consensus in NZ was that only Liam W,George N and Toby F and Gethin J were international standard.There was widespread disbelief at how far Wales had regressed since 2011.That regression has to be laid at the doors of Howley,McBryde and Jenkins.They are simply not up to the task of coaching top flight professional rugby players.The WRU is sleepwalking to disaster with these comedians in place.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 07 Sep 2016, 11:39 pm

offload wrote:
international198 wrote:I think Rob Howley did a fantastic job last time around. I believe he is the man to lead us this season. He has plenty of experience having been on two Lions tours in 2009 and 2013 and knows the game inside out. Australia look very weak at the moment so there's a potential scalp there for Howley and I must admit neither Argentina or South Africa look very good either so there's potentially two more scalps there. Wales are obviously expected to beat Japan on home soil. He has a very reliable deputy in Robin McBryde who will support him 100% and make sure the forwards give the talented backs good ball to play with.

You are either:
1. Suffering from severe delusion
2. Blind to the fact that the Welsh team has shown no improvement for several years
3. An annoying WUM

The current Welsh coaching staff is stale and the team has shown no recent progress. They have run their course and if the WRU had any metal it would get a fresh coaching team.  They are not international class.  

All three? I'm starting to believe we have another madge on the board - one was enough Rolling Eyes. I suppose it's not as bad as having another Dowellais though, so we can be grateful for this at least. I agree with your last paragraph too.

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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 8:59 am

Wales are on a downward spiral from here on in. Wales
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 9:51 am

exile jack wrote:This summer Mrs EJ and me took the opportunity of my son's wedding in NZ to a Kiwi girl to follow the Welsh team in NZ.What an aching disappointment the tour was.It beggars belief that anyone can believe the suggestion Wales were competitive.They weren't.They were outclassed by a better coached team.The general consensus in NZ was that only Liam W,George N and Toby F and Gethin J were international standard.There was widespread disbelief at how far Wales had regressed since 2011.That regression has to be laid at the doors of Howley,McBryde and Jenkins.They are simply not up to the task of coaching top flight professional rugby players.The WRU is sleepwalking to disaster with these comedians in place.




I agree with this, except I don't think you can absolve Gatland of all blame. He (as far as I'm aware) chose his coaching team, and has reappointed those three.

I don't think you can let Shaun Edwards off either, considering the alarming decline of our defence over the last season.

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Post by offload on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 10:25 am

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I agree with this, except I don't think you can absolve Gatland of any blame. He (as far as I'm aware) chose his coaching team, and has reappointed those three.

I don't think you can let Shaun Edwards off either, considering the alarming decline of our defence over the last season.

Far from absolution, I think Gatland is the route cause. He took this team as far as he could for which he should be acclaimed, but has done nothing for two years. The Welsh team is desperate for a change at the top but there's more chance of the Pope marrying a transgender boyfriend.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:05 am

I think it makes sense to appoint Howley, and have that continuity. Do we know how long left Gatland has on his contract? Dai Young strikes me as the obvious successor.

The application of Gatland's Law this season will be interesting. As noted by others, you'd expect North and Faletau to be the two obvious picks, but I can imagine a pretty heated discussion forming around the third pick. I think it'll be one of the props (Francis or Jarvis), and suspect that Roberts, Charteris and Halfpenny will miss out (at least in the AIs).

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:14 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:The application of Gatland's Law this season will be interesting. As noted by others, you'd expect North and Faletau to be the two obvious picks, but I can imagine a pretty heated discussion forming around the third pick. I think it'll be one of the props (Francis or Jarvis), and suspect that Roberts, Charteris and Halfpenny will miss out (at least in the AIs).

I do not think Charteris, Francis, Halfpenny and roberts fall under Gatlands law as they were already playing abroad when it was put in place, and they have not been offered contracts to return to Wales.

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Post by miaow on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:30 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:I think it makes sense to appoint Howley, and have that continuity. Do we know how long left Gatland has on his contract? Dai Young strikes me as the obvious successor.

The application of Gatland's Law this season will be interesting. As noted by others, you'd expect North and Faletau to be the two obvious picks, but I can imagine a pretty heated discussion forming around the third pick. I think it'll be one of the props (Francis or Jarvis), and suspect that Roberts, Charteris and Halfpenny will miss out (at least in the AIs).

His contract runs until the culmination of the 2019 World Cup. I believe Steve Hansen will leave NZ then as well, and I would be amazed if Gatland continued with Wales, genuinely don't see how or why he could continue, however well or poorly they do at the WC. If he doesn't get the All Blacks job, however, I don't know where he goes. Does he go back to NZ and risk just becoming another also-ran, away from the media and spotlight he has been receiving as an international coach? Particularly so given the presence he will have during the Lions Tour, which will be his greatest chance to put himself in the shop window. Or does he chase the money, hop around a bit and do odd jobs here and there, consultancy in money rich regions or whatever. Does he stay in the NH, go into club rugby, or another 6N team? Couldn't see it myself, unless perhaps England, or like Toulon. Regardless, I think he'll chance his hand rather than stay with Wales.

I think that they may well opt for a prop, but it would be Francis rather than Jarvis, purely because of the desperation we have in that position, especially with Samson injured. Could be very interesting. I could see Roberts turning his back on Wales, he must feel the tide is turning with regards to style of play, and with Scot Williams' presence, he cannot be close from losing his starting place anyway. Halfpenny- if not selected- I think would be happy to throw in the towel with Toulon and come back to Wales at the first opportunity. All very interesting, some absolute key players could be left out in the cold with all the sort of circus and permutations that go along with that. The irony is, of course, that Luke Charteris, a man who we seemingly can cover the easiest with the likes of Bradley Davies, Jake Ball etc., improves the team exponentially every time he plays, such is the point of difference he has over the other locks. Ah well. If the rules make the regions genuinely competitive again- which I'm sceptical of- I'd encourage them to be upheld and for the players to choose between club and country, and not berate them for the choice they make.

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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:30 am

Lets be honest the Welsh team picks itself with one or two exceptions. Cuthbert or James, Biggar or Preistland. Wink
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:33 am

TightHEAD wrote:Lets be honest the Welsh team picks itself with one or two exceptions. Cuthbert or James, Biggar or Preistland. Wink

Neither!

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Post by TightHEAD on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:35 am

Easiest job in world rugby, Howley will be fine.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:37 am

LordDowlais wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:The application of Gatland's Law this season will be interesting. As noted by others, you'd expect North and Faletau to be the two obvious picks, but I can imagine a pretty heated discussion forming around the third pick. I think it'll be one of the props (Francis or Jarvis), and suspect that Roberts, Charteris and Halfpenny will miss out (at least in the AIs).

I do not think Charteris, Francis, Halfpenny and roberts fall under Gatlands law as they were already playing abroad when it was put in place, and they have not been offered contracts to return to Wales.

Ah, thanks. That's a pretty tough law then!

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Post by munkian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:39 am

Will Cuthbert really replace Amos now hes back from injury ? Thats what some journos suggest.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:40 am

Amos didn't take his chance in New Zealand, that's clear. That would make it easier for Cuthbert to fall over waltz back in to the side.

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Post by munkian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:41 am

I think, to be fair, this is his first proper run of games together. Step up from Dregs to Nz is quite daunting I imagine.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:42 am

Surely Amos deserves more time to prove himself? I previously rated Cuthbert as a finisher but it's been a while since he's done anything noteworthy (in a positive sense).

What's Eli Walker up to these days? He looked promising.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:43 am

I was willing him to do well, but he really didn't have a great tour. That's not to say Cuthbert or James would have done any better, but it makes the decision to drop him (if that's what they decide to do) easier to justify.

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Post by munkian on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 11:48 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:Surely Amos deserves more time to prove himself? I previously rated Cuthbert as a finisher but it's been a while since he's done anything noteworthy (in a positive sense).

What's Eli Walker up to these days? He looked promising.

I agree - players need a fair run of games.

Walker seems to be made of glass unfortunately, I think Ashton Hewitt at the Dragons and Keelan Giles are both more likely up and coming young wingers.

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Post by exile jack on Thu 08 Sep 2016, 10:54 pm

offload wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I agree with this, except I don't think you can absolve Gatland of any blame. He (as far as I'm aware) chose his coaching team, and has reappointed those three.

I don't think you can let Shaun Edwards off either, considering the alarming decline of our defence over the last season.

Far from absolution, I think Gatland is the route cause.  He took this team as far as he could for which he should be acclaimed, but has done nothing for two years.  The Welsh team is desperate for a change at the top but there's more chance of the Pope marrying a transgender boyfriend.

Whatever anyone feels about NZ rugby supporters and they can,to be honest,be a tad superior they do have a deep understanding of the game and its finer points.The main criticism of our boys was that they did not look like athletes,they could not change the pace of a game and they could not defend pace,they lacked variety in attack, and they could not convert critical pressure into points.When you add to that a kicking game so poor that Biggar should never play for Wales again i'd have to go along with the view that the WRU should take the opportunity to clear out the entire senior coaching team before the next WC.It'll never happen but the current coaching team is now a joke in international terms.The only way Gatland will coach NZ will be a Lions series victory next year and that comes down to his choice of coaches.

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Post by miaow on Fri 09 Sep 2016, 11:40 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37316886

So that clears up who Howley can select, and for the coming season it looks like only Rhys Priestland will miss out on selection. Firstly, what are the odds on a swift return to one of the regions? Has he had enough fresh air away from the goldfish bowl, or will he happily see out his days away from Test rugby? Also, who comes in as the challengers to Biggar at outside half? Anscombe seems the obvious one, but Gatland seemed as happy- if not happier- to use him as cover for the back 3 than to have him as the second choice 10. With Anscombe in the squad anyway, who would the other one be? Surely Sam Davies, but could a good run of form put someone like Patchell, Matthew Morgan, or even Steve Shingler in the mix?

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