Wales RWC 2019 Thread

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Post by miaow on Mon 26 Nov 2018, 1:41 am

WALES’ 2019 RWC TRAINING SQUAD:

FORWARDS (23):
Leon Brown (Dragons) (5 Caps)
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (35 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (40 Caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (40 Caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (12 Caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (28 Caps)
Elliot Dee (Dragons) (18 Caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (7 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (64 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (32 Caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys) (13 Caps)
Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (64 Caps)
Cory Hill (Dragons) (24 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (125 Caps)
James Davies (Scarlets) (3 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (72 Caps)
Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (31 Caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (16 Caps)
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (64 Caps)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (8 Caps)

BACKS (19):

Aled Davies (Ospreys) (16 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (41 Caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (26 Caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (70 Caps)
Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (11 Caps)
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (73 Caps)
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (15 Caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (13 Caps)
Scott Williams (Ospreys) (57 Caps)
Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors) (10 Caps)
Hallam Amos (Dragons) (18 Caps)
Steff Evans (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (81 Caps)
Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)
George North (Ospreys) (83 Caps)
Jonah Holmes (Leicester Tigers) (2 Caps)
Liam Williams (Saracens) (55 Caps)​


AUGUST 2019

SUN 11 Wales Vs England  
KO 14:00 BST
Twickenham Stadium

SAT 17 Wales Vs England  
KO 14:15 BST
Principality Stadium

SAT 31 Wales Vs Ireland  
KO 14:30 BST
Principality Stadium


SEPTEMBER 2019

SAT 7 Wales Vs Ireland  
KO 14:00 BST
Aviva Stadium, Test Matches


Start of The RWC

MON 23  Wales Vs Georgia  
KO 11:15 BST
Toyota Stadium, Rugby World Cup

SUN 29 Wales Vs Australia  
KO 08:45 BST
Tokyo (Ajinomoto) Stadium, Rugby World Cup

OCTOBER 2019

WED 9 Wales Vs Fiji  
KO 10:45 BST
Bank Dome (Big Eye), Rugby World Cup

SUN 13 Wales Vs Uruguay  
KO 09:15 BST
Egao Health (Umakana Yokana) Stadium, Rugby World Cup


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Post by Pie on Mon 26 Nov 2018, 5:02 am

I like this, but the thing to remember is Gats is now picking game based on 23 not 15.

Smith - jackal. Evans from bench when opens up
Owens - Dee
Francis/Lee
Beard/Ball
AWJ/Hill
Jenkins/Shingler/Lydiate/Moriarty - in that order
Tips/Jenkins/Cubby - likewise
Faletau/Navidi/Moriarty as above
Amazing bench options for back row

Webb?? Williams, Gareth, Aled
Anscombe/Patchell with Biggar to shut the door
Scott if fit- then Watkin over Parkes for me
JD2 - North backing up
North or Adams or Liam
Half or Liam, Anscombe

Wales now have probably 4 players in each position to do a job

In 2019 6 Nations they're replicating 05 fixtures and I am predicting a run off with Ireland in Cardiff for a Slam. That will be one helluva game.

Japan - Wales ought to win RWC group and play France or Argentina for a place in semis v England I think

I believe they will make final; they've learned game management, have an exceptional defense and take their chances. Meanwhile they have probably the most consistent kicker in the world backed up by Biggar.



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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 26 Nov 2018, 9:53 am

What people take for granted is, the fact that Wales, has such a depth of experience in their front row, for players at such a young age. Now we all know that people say that prop forwards do not hit their peak until their early thirties, but consider the following:-

Rob Evans - 26yrs old
Nicky Smith -24yrs old
Ryan Elias - 23yrs old
Wyn Jones 26yrs old
Leon Brown 22yrs old
Eliot Dee 24yrs old
Thomas Francis 26yrs old
Samson Lee 25yrs old
Dillon Lewis 22yrs old
Sam Parry 25yrs old
Scott Baldwin 30yrs old
Ken Owens 31yrs old
Rhodri Jones 26yrs old

There is a hell of a lot of experience in that list, and now doubt I have missed one or two, but when you consider Ken Owens is the old man at 31 years old, then is there any other nation who can boast that much experience with that much options at such young ages in the front row ?



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Post by miaow on Mon 26 Nov 2018, 10:05 am

Good point Dowlais. Would be interesting to see caps (and starts) to go along with that, as a few of those, like Sam Parry, presumably haven't had too much exposure at test level.

One point I think may be up for debate is whether props do peak in their 30s anymore. I think the way rugby has gone, and the way the academies or school systems prepare prospective pro player from an early age, by the time they're 18/19, a lot of players are well prepapred for top level rugby in many ways. I'd say there's probably a balance between fitness/mobility and experience for front row forwards that makes late 20s the 'peak' age nowadays, in general. Although, of course, it varies from player to player.

But still, good point to make. It would also be interesting to rank by age the 40-50 players available/who have played for Wales since the last RWC. Vast majority of them will be staying on for Pivac - other than voluntary retirement/taking a paycheck in France for the likes of Jon Davies or North, I think only AWJ is getting to the end stage, but I wouldn't write him off yet.

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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 26 Nov 2018, 10:29 am

Rob Evans - 31 senior caps
Nick Smith - 24 senior caps
Ryan Elias - 6 senior caps
Wyn Jones - 9 senior caps
Leon Brown - 4 senior caps
Elliot Dee - 13 senior caps
Thomas Francis - 36 senior caps
Samson Lee - 38 senior caps
Dillon Lewis - 8 senior caps
Scott Baldwin - 34 senior caps
Ken Owens - 60 senior caps
Rhodri Jones - 17 senior caps

And one I have missed, and I shouldn't have as he grew up on my estate:-

Kristian Dacey - 8 senior caps

All these have been taken off the WRU website, and I am not sure how up to date they are, I do not know if they have added the recent AI's caps to the website.




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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 10:48 am

Good read lads thanks

My area of concern is still the 10 /12 axis, I am not sure I agree we have enough creativity there currently. Of the options going into big games I think the ten will most likely be Biggar so I would like to see how he gels with Scott or Owen this six nations.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 11:28 am

The strength in depth in positions always seems to come in waves for Wales, and we've struggled to have it all at the same time which has left us exposed.  In the past we've sometimes struggled for locks, then been pretty stocked for locks; struggled for props then had a glut; struggled for a good 10 and then had 3 at once; stuggled on with the same tired old threesome in the back row but now can't decide who to drop out of around 8 back row players!  I think scrum half has probably been the position where we've always had a few good options.  

This last year or so though I think has been our best for having a consistently high number of good options in the most positions, if that makes sense.  I agree with Maes but I think we're OK for creativity at 10.  Biggar is often criticised as being not-creative but he can be and certainly for the Ospreys he used to do a lot of creative stuff and not just ship the ball along - he makes breaks (or used to), high balls, grubbers, chips over the top, up 'n' unders (of which he used to be one of the best around at gathering his own kick), pin point kicks to the corner, and of course his passing is good and puts people in space.  Anscombe seems to be able to do a lot of that too and is getting more accustomed to and comfortable with international level.  Patchell has shown he can be a very creative 10 too - again I think he just needs more time at international level to get comfortable.  But certainly the Scarlets backs of Davies (9), Patchell (10), Parkes (12), JD2 (13) and Steff Evans on the wing (i.e. all current Wales options, lots of them first choice) are plenty creative and have scored some of the best tries I've seen in the last few years.

But the issue for me is the 12 and 13 shirt and the options after 1st choice or if they lose form.  So that's our area of lack of depth currently.  Watkin certainly seems up for the challenge though, and time will tell if he's the heir apparent to JD2.  I'm not convinced by Tyler Morgan.  And then it's all a bit bare at centre after that.  Again, it's one of those things where we've had a glut of options there in the past.  But now we're stocked everywhere but centre!


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Post by SecretFly on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 12:39 pm

Wales finally have strength in depth.. so who actually starts!?

................ same as the folks that usually start. The less shallow guys.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 1:17 pm

No such thing as 'usual' starters now! Gone are the days of Phillips, to Biggar, to Roberts, to....smash!...... for years on end. Or the Lydiate, Warburton & Faletau trio where an injury to one was a national catastrophe. Sure, we'll probably be back to the good auld catastrophe days in good time but for the moment there are 2 or 3 very able and ample guys in nearly all positions. Which is unusual for us.
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 1:36 pm

It's unusual for all of us! But I'm liking it so far.

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Post by miaow on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 1:51 pm

Agree with that Oracle.

Wales can play good, attacking rugby with Biggar at 10. The problem is it's not his natural inclination to play flat, and he doesn't have seem to have the requisite running-and-passing game of the likes of Cipriani, Priestland, Patchell etc. that mean he can take it to the line then execute a split-second decision with accuracy. He is creative but it's the type of creativity he has - as you say, that's often with the boot. The issue is Biggar can't compete with a more natural running 10, particularly at international level. What he does bring is leadership, and why I still think he's Wales' best choice for the RWC, particularly from the bench.

The point about Biggar that stands out is how hard he's worked to improve his game. Remember when he was 21ish and couldn't/wouldn't tackle? Now he's an incredible defensive 10. Also, the way he reads players (charge down on Ford 2016 for try, intercept under his posts against England in 2017) comes, in part, from studying them, but the problem is it's a lot harder to do that in an attacking sense (forget the game where he was repeatedly intercepted recently, possibly England 2017? Or Ireland?).

Add in Parkes at 12, much like with Roberts, and Wales' inability to play close to the line at 10-12 becomes a problem. Wales become easy to read, which makes the opposition's defence much more aggressive, which in turn makes it harder to get over the gainline etc. That's when we get dragged back down into what I think people think of as Gatlandball - playing the percentages, holding onto the ball, trying to grind - rather than run - the opposition into making mistakes under pressure. That's why Anscombe starts, because he is a much better option at the moment than the next 'attacking' 12, and Biggar comes on if the game becomes attritional/close in the second half (see: SA last month). Also, if it's a toss up between attacking 10 or attacking 12, I think most NH teams would much rather the 12 be a reliable carrier than a second 5/8th if it was a choice between the two. Worth mentioning as well, Parkes is a lot better than Roberts in attack and can play a bit - he's got good hands in the tight and an offload under pressure/having made a half bust. The problem is it's not quite enough for a RWC.

Think this neatly leads into the 13 chat as well. Obviously a big drop off in class at 13 after JD2. Think I've said all that needs to be said about him defending the 13 channel on these boards over the last 2 years to be honest, so I think focusing on attack, the one issue I'd say is crying out to be fixed is creativity inside.

For me, despite his accolades, JD2 has underachieved for Wales. Mix of things - injuries, playing style, Roberts, and also perhaps going over the France - but particularly when it comes to his try-scoring. When he was outside Regan King in the late 00s/early 2010s, he was absolutely ruthless, regularly latching onto a delayed pop pass or getting on King's outside shoulder to run in a clean break from 20-30 yards. Add in his massive hand-off, and he's definitely an underrated finished.

Obviously, playing this way was impossible with Roberts at 12 because, with the best will in the world, Roberts was/is pretty useless at passing. With Biggar at 10, likewise, it rarely happened - with Priestland at 10, however, the ability to take it flat to the line and release JD2 did come off for Wales (at least once that I can remember).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZKtrdD69go

It's not quite a textbook break, but it does show the difference in drawing the man and releasing JD2 rather than giving him the ball without holding a defender. He then goes on to finish a similar sort of try (3:06 in that video) coming onto the outside on a late arc and using his pace and power to score. North obviously obliterates the Irish backline, but it still takes a powerful angled run to score that.

The point I am making is this: finally, for the first time in a while, Davies scored a try like that for Wales this autumn. And it was because Anscombe can play flat to the line and release a pass. It's that simple. The difference having a 'creative passer' in the team can be massive for Wales, because it will release the outside backs. Yeah, Huw Jones makes a shocking attempt at the tackle, but it's still largely due to good timing between the 10 and 13.

Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQplVD1c8Hc

If Shingler was Wales' most important player last year, Jon Davies is undoubtedly Wales' most important player going into the RWC.

As a general point, Owen Watkin's long term injury was a massive shame, and we might have seen him come in at 12 had he not been injured. But also, generally, the shambles at the Ospreys is letting down the Welsh team. Can't help but feel it was a massive mistake for Scott Williams to move - even without the injury, I think it's infinitely better for his Wales prospects to be in and around the Scarlets set-up/Parkes than it is to be at a team/club that is imploding. If Watkin is to kick on, he needs to be in an environment where he's honing his talents rather than constantly running back underneath his posts against the better Pro14 teams. They're letting the Welsh team down by being atrocious even with a number of good quality, young test players.


Nice video on 'early' Jonathan Davies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ0-LeDbWPg


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Post by The Oracle on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 3:15 pm

Good post miaow, and good points. Yes, I agree with all of that. The points you make above about Biggar vs Anscombe - this is where I like Patchell. I think he either is, or has the potential to be, the most creative of the three. He's perhaps the more naturally gifted running 10 of the three, in my opinion. And if the form guys going forward still happen to be Scarlets guys then his familiarity with them can only help the Wales cause. Especially in a tournament like the world cup - that familiarity with players around them could be priceless. He's perhaps a bit rougher round the edges than the others. But he's the youngest (I assume?!) and I think just he needs more time at this level. But the tries the Scarlets have been scoring over the past 2 or 3 years, with those backs who also come together for Wales, have been submlime and he's often been at the heart of it. And Parkes has played well in a creative backline with the others mentioned. So I wouldn't be sad or upset to see Patchell get the nod at 10 going forward. But I can understand why Gatland might want to take a more cautious approach. International rugby is not test rugby. It's often a war of attrition and more about the percentages (perhaps unfortunately). But who knows what will happen when Pivac and (probably) Stephen Jones come in!
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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 09 Dec 2018, 12:57 am

The Oracle wrote:No such thing as 'usual'  starters now!  Gone are the days of Phillips, to Biggar, to Roberts, to....smash!...... for years on end.  Or the Lydiate, Warburton & Faletau trio where an injury to one was a national catastrophe.  Sure, we'll probably be back to the good auld catastrophe days in good time but for the moment there are 2 or 3 very able and ample guys in nearly all positions.  Which is unusual for us.  

It’s only become unusual, we lost a lot of our best players to rugby league in the eighties and early nineties as well as the massive effect that closing so much industry in wales had on our nations demeanor. But forty years ago and more we had the strength and depth you see in the all blacks today.

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Post by Pie on Mon 10 Dec 2018, 4:19 am

I can only pick 4 starters at the moment. Owens, AWJ, Tipuric and Foxy. Normally I would say that suggests a lack of understanding about what is the best team. But what Gatland has achieved in the space of 12 months is to have a 40 odd players all of whom you would be happy as starters and all of whom know their job. its not so much the individual personnel as the team orders that seem to have permanence; defend, defend defend, take your kicks when they present themselves and take your chances when you get into the opposition 22.


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Post by The Oracle on Mon 10 Dec 2018, 8:12 am

I’m not sure I agree on Tipuric. See how hard is! I’d possibly have Faletau in as a definite starter, if/when fit. And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.
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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 12 Dec 2018, 4:18 pm

The Oracle wrote:And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

Yes, I would agree with that, but even he needs to be looking over his shoulder now with the emergence Tom Williams.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 12 Dec 2018, 4:32 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

Yes, I would agree with that, but even he needs to be looking over his shoulder now with the emergence Tom Williams.

We were talking about guaranteed starters and there only being 5 or so. For me Davies is still guaranteed the 9 jersey currently. Tomos Williams, for me, is not there yet to make it a 50/50 call.
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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 12 Dec 2018, 4:35 pm

The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

Yes, I would agree with that, but even he needs to be looking over his shoulder now with the emergence Tom Williams.

We were talking about guaranteed starters and there only being 5 or so. For me Davies is still guaranteed the 9 jersey currently. Tomos Williams, for me, is not there yet to make it a 50/50 call.

I never said any different, I just think that he needs to be looking over his shoulder. I even said at the start of my sentence I agree with what you have said, I was just reiterating our potential strength in depth, that's all. Rolling Eyes

Is it your remit on here to just disagree with everything I say ?

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 12 Dec 2018, 4:52 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

Yes, I would agree with that, but even he needs to be looking over his shoulder now with the emergence Tom Williams.

We were talking about guaranteed starters and there only being 5 or so. For me Davies is still guaranteed the 9 jersey currently. Tomos Williams, for me, is not there yet to make it a 50/50 call.

I never said any different, I just think that he needs to be looking over his shoulder. I even said at the start of my sentence I agree with what you have said, I was just reiterating our potential strength in depth, that's all.  Rolling Eyes

Is it your remit on here to just disagree with everything I say ?

Every player in the entire world needs to look over their shoulder Very Happy
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Post by The Oracle on Wed 12 Dec 2018, 5:03 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

Yes, I would agree with that, but even he needs to be looking over his shoulder now with the emergence Tom Williams.

We were talking about guaranteed starters and there only being 5 or so. For me Davies is still guaranteed the 9 jersey currently. Tomos Williams, for me, is not there yet to make it a 50/50 call.

I never said any different, I just think that he needs to be looking over his shoulder. I even said at the start of my sentence I agree with what you have said, I was just reiterating our potential strength in depth, that's all.  Rolling Eyes

Is it your remit on here to just disagree with everything I say ?

It’s just you I think, LD. I seem fine with everyone else Sad
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Post by Pie on Thu 13 Dec 2018, 4:28 am

The Oracle wrote:I’m not sure I agree on Tipuric. See how hard is! I’d possibly have Faletau in as a definite starter, if/when fit. And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

I disagree. Right now I want Tips, Jenkins and Lydiate

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 13 Dec 2018, 9:25 am

Pie wrote:
The Oracle wrote:I’m not sure I agree on Tipuric. See how hard is! I’d possibly have Faletau in as a definite starter, if/when fit. And Davies at 9 now that Webb is ruled out.

I disagree. Right now I want Tips, Jenkins and Lydiate

Yeah, personal preference is different to nailed on starters though (i.e. the undroppable ones). Only a subtle difference though as it's still personal opinion as we don't really know what Gats is thinking in terms of his nailed on players.

If we're talking personal preference, I'd prefer an out and out 8 such as Faletau as mentioned before. Lydiate is definitely playing well but if Shingler is as good as he was when back from injury I'd prefer him at 6 personally. Happy to include Tips, but personally wouldn't call him nailed on at 7 as I don't see that Jenkins is much behind him (if at all). Wouldn't be unhappy to see either.

Great to have these options though!
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 7:16 am

My other worry, and I guess this is in relation to the recent poor showing at European and PRO14 is the impact of our scrum. In RWC 2011 we had a powerful scrum. We have some decent props but we would be lucky if anyone considered Wales to have a scrum ranked in the top 10 in world rugby right now.

Good players and decent depth, but I would love to see a welsh scrum push the opposition off the ball once in a while

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Post by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 1:00 pm

We don't have the front row for that maesteg. Samson and Francis are decent THs, but not particularly destructive. Neither hooker is great in the scrum, likewise the LHs.

Think we will rely on the locks for a solid, rather than destructive, set piece. Jake Ball is key.

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 1:34 pm

I think the game has moved on a bit from that in recent years too. We used to go for the scrum all of the time, try to get a penalty for 1/2p to kick; use the up and under in field and hope they knock on for a scrum in their half and then hope again to squeeze out a penalty. I remember being really frustrated that we’d always opt for resets on the opposition line even if it was reset over 4 times and I always thought ‘No... they’ll win one eventually!’ and lo and behold we’d lose the put in or concede a penalty.

I guess half of it is the personnel with Adam Jones gone. But World Rugby has tried to speed the game up and encourage more tries (e.g. try bonus points in the 6N) and I think we’ve followed suit. Our game plan is less about kicking everything in our own half down field and hope to force the mistake for a penalty or scrum (with the hope of a penalty from it). We’ve seen a definite change to game plan in the last 18 months with more heads up rugby, offloading, running from deep. We seem less keen to keep the ball in the scrum and compete for scrum dominance and more keen to get it out quickly and do something with it. And we’ve become more enjoyable to watch as a result.
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Post by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:26 pm

Think Jake Ball proved his worth in the scrum today!

Utterly dominant scrum in the first half for the Scarlets, he goes off at half time and it's parity at best, sometimes going backwards.

Adam Beard looked decent today, but for me Jake Ball is the best player to partner AWJ for the RWC. Adds too much no other player can, in any position, for Wales.

Sadly too injury prone in his shoulders by the looks of it.

With Scarlets season basically being over, might be worth getting him sorted now if there is any niggling issue that requires surgery. Would be a big miss for the RWC, particularly in the scrum.

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Post by Pie on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:28 pm

miaow wrote:Think Jake Ball proved his worth in the scrum today!

Utterly dominant scrum in the first half for the Scarlets, he goes off at half time and it's parity at best, sometimes going backwards.

Adam Beard looked decent today, but for me Jake Ball is the best player to partner AWJ for the RWC. Adds too much no other player can, in any position, for Wales.

Sadly too injury prone in his shoulders by the looks of it.

With Scarlets season basically being over, might be worth getting him sorted now if there is any niggling issue that requires surgery. Would be a big miss for the RWC, particularly in the scrum.

Has his shoulder gone again??

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Post by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:45 pm

The Oracle wrote:I think the game has moved on a bit from that in recent years too. We used to go for the scrum all of the time, try to get a penalty for 1/2p to kick; use the up and under in field and hope they knock on for a scrum in their half and then hope again to squeeze out a penalty. I remember being really frustrated that we’d always opt for resets on the opposition line even if it was reset over 4 times and I always thought ‘No... they’ll win one eventually!’ and lo and behold we’d lose the put in or concede a penalty.

I guess half of it is the personnel with Adam Jones gone. But World Rugby has tried to speed the game up and encourage more tries (e.g. try bonus points in the 6N) and I think we’ve followed suit. Our game plan is less about kicking everything in our own half down field and hope to force the mistake for a penalty or scrum (with the hope of a penalty from it). We’ve seen a definite change to game plan in the last 18 months with more heads up rugby, offloading, running from deep. We seem less keen to keep the ball in the scrum and compete for scrum dominance and more keen to get it out quickly and do something with it. And we’ve become more enjoyable to watch as a result.

This is true. The law changes (2014 I think?) have made an improvement to the game in general, as scrummaging is now more of a 'fair' contest again, based on pushing rather than colliding. The engagement change effectively retired Adam Jones overnight, although he won a few more caps that season.

The game's better for it, no doubt. Seeing Fiji drive England around at Twickenham in 2015 because England had lost too much weight was exactly what you want from a scrum - yeah, there are dark arts etc, but ultimately if you are collectively stronger, you should get the upper hand more often than not.

The problem for Wales is being underpowered.

Only Wyn Jones is a reliably solid scrummager at LH, and I'd be slightly worried about his fitness and lack of experience at international level to go 60/70 minutes. All 3 LHs can get found out. Ken's a wily hooker, but not the biggest - not in the Malcolm Marx/Jamie George category of beef. Dee/Dacey/Baldwin/Elias/Otten all fairly small as well - Elias probably the strongest there, but very inexperienced too. THs - Samson solid, good body shape, but can get 'done' by the bigger packs if he's off balance. Francis on a par with Samson. Lewis/Brown/??? inexperienced, lacking international exposure.

The issue for Wales is in that core of the pack. Without a brusing hooker, they're relying on AWJ - who is strong, but can't do it on his own. Against teams like England, where they can pick 3-4 AWJ-level scrummagers in Lawes, Itoje, Kruis and Launchbury, you realise Wales are only ever trying to hold on. If Wales had a dominant scrum, there's no doubt they'd try to maximise it and still be playing for scrum penalties.

The most interesting thing with Wales in the last 12 months is how they've won/competed despite being underpowered up front against key opposition. South Africa physically dominated Wales in the last 50 minutes of both this autumn's and the summer test in the USA. Yet Wales still won - definitely a sign of SA being sloppy, but also Wales 'boxed clever'. They can't go toe to toe with England/Ireland/SA's packs - they want to keep the ball on the field, move it at tempo, keep them tackling. Which is fine. But eventually you get found out playing that way, you have one of those days where it's lineout to lineout, scrum to scrum, and just get bullied. It's the issue Scotland have even moreso.

If Wales don't address that lack of power - if, say, they have to play Cory Hill in the second row, or AWJ gets injured - they will get found out. It's a cumulative thing - look how Ireland dismantled the NZ scrum in Dublin at times. No respite. No 'resigning' certain aspects of the game. Attacking them everywhere. Wales can't do that, but they should be doing everything they can to get there. I'm just not sure they can.


Last edited by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:46 pm

Yes Pie, looked like shoulder. Was receiving treatment for a while, carried on until half time, then didnt come back out. Shaking players hands with his left arm. Not good.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 5:47 pm

The Oracle wrote:I think the game has moved on a bit from that in recent years too. We used to go for the scrum all of the time, try to get a penalty for 1/2p to kick; use the up and under in field and hope they knock on for a scrum in their half and then hope again to squeeze out a penalty. I remember being really frustrated that we’d always opt for resets on the opposition line even if it was reset over 4 times and I always thought ‘No... they’ll win one eventually!’ and lo and behold we’d lose the put in or concede a penalty.

I guess half of it is the personnel with Adam Jones gone. But World Rugby has tried to speed the game up and encourage more tries (e.g. try bonus points in the 6N) and I think we’ve followed suit. Our game plan is less about kicking everything in our own half down field and hope to force the mistake for a penalty or scrum (with the hope of a penalty from it). We’ve seen a definite change to game plan in the last 18 months with more heads up rugby, offloading, running from deep. We seem less keen to keep the ball in the scrum and compete for scrum dominance and more keen to get it out quickly and do something with it. And we’ve become more enjoyable to watch as a result.

I don’t disagree that the game has moved on but the psychological advantage you have by walking a pack backwards will always be massive.

We are looking at small details for improvement the team are playing well, we have held a good WR ranking for a good few months, maintaining it throughout the autumm.

We won’t play the ABs until the RWC, but we know we can beat/compete with the rest.

A strong set piece will put us in great stead for 2019 in Japan

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Post by Pie on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 8:05 pm

Damn thats not good about Ball. Wales need him as I think Hill and Beard are undercooked for an RWC. Jut have to hope AWJ stays fit

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Post by miaow on Sat 22 Dec 2018, 8:25 pm

I was going to say it might not be a bad idea to draft someone like Bradley Davies in, see if he can still offer something, as I don't think Ball is durable to rely on.

Then I remembered this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtQmvrMC8vk

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 25 Dec 2018, 7:47 am

Pie wrote:Damn thats not good about Ball. Wales need him as I think Hill and Beard are undercooked for an RWC.  Jut have to hope AWJ stays fit

Let’s see how we go with the lighter combos that will be used in the Six Nations. There is always Day at Saracens and Charteris at Bath too, I know they haven’t had a game for Wales in a while but both could be assets, both playing well too.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 26 Dec 2018, 11:30 am

Wales have been playing with “lighter combos” for a while now. There’s only a difference of 2kg between Ball and Beard anyway, if we are that concerned about the weight that Hill doesn’t provide.

I’m not sure what World Cup experience matters either. Ball hasn’t got a win over Australia for Wales, whereas Beard and Hill do.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 6:58 am

I think that the RWC team will be along the lines of

Evans
Owens
Lewis
AWJ
Beard
Ellis
Tips
Toby
Gareth
Bigger
Liam
Scott
JD2
North
1/2p

Dee
Smith
Lee
Hill
Nalvidi
Tomos
Anscombe
Owen Williams

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 27 Dec 2018, 9:47 am

Nice team Maes,

If all fit I’d probably go for Ball over Beard and Parkes over Scott Williams (I must be a closet Scarlets fan!), based on your selections. Wouldn’t be unhappy to see the back row you picked. We’ll wn a lot of ball with that trio. But similarly changing the odd player or two (if fit and playing well) I wouldn’t be unhappy to see either (e.g. a fit and firing Shinger or Navidi, or perhaps a Moriarty or Lydiate if we need a ‘horses for courses’ defensive approach for some reason).

One thing’s for sure - there’s going to be some real talent left at home and a few shocks/disappointments.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 28 Dec 2018, 6:28 pm

Beard over ball for me, with the way the former has been playing and I expect him to get better. Ball would be quite handy coming off the bench, as is Hill; and I rate Hill highly but he’s more of a defensive style lock who can make a good impact, or cover for our first choice blindside which should be Shingler. Parkes has been off colour this season for both club and ‘his country’ so I would probably put in Watkin.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 28 Dec 2018, 6:45 pm

I don’t think we gain or lose anything with Halfpenny at 15, he’s just very dependable. I actually thought Jonah Holmes looked very good and should be given a few more opportunities, otherwise there’s Amos and Daf Howells - both ‘back 3’ players. A shame Patchell is struggling with injury, he was one of the best 15s I seen play for us Very Happy

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 12:19 am

Over Christmas I watched the lions tour to Australia documentary. Halfpenny was superb, cutting great lines, introducing speed to the outside backs, as well as his defensive and goal kicking attributes.

I hoped at the scarlets he would re find that form.

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Post by miaow on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 5:15 pm

By and large he has Maesteg. I don't think there's any debate over who should play 15 for Wales now - Halfpenny has improved his running game significantly since being back in Wales. I think it was mostly a confidence issue; given the freedom to make mistakes with the Scarlets, he's found his nerve to run it again.

With Liam Williams playing 11 or 14 at Saracens, it's an easy decision; play him on the wing and you have the best of both worlds. You can drop Sanjay to the backfield in some plays to utilise his aerial skills and counter attacking, and you have Halfpenny's peerless defensive positioning all the time. You also have Liam more likely to see more of the ball in attacking moves, freeing him up to come off his wing, where he wouldn't be if he was playing 15 under Gatland.

That's before taking into account 1/2P's goalkicking, which is obviously incredible. If Biggar isn't on the field, Halfpenny becomes one of Wales' most important players.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 9:17 pm

An article on Wales online about the centre conundrum, no mention of Owen Williams despite him playing very well all this month.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/most-troubling-area-wales-rugby-15619823

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 11:55 am

well, well, well.

A WOL link and nobody is complaining. Rolling Eyes

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 12:47 pm

LordDowlais wrote:well, well, well.

A WOL link and nobody is complaining. Rolling Eyes

It very much replicates what we were discussing on this thread. Wales are in an interesting position where we have strength and depth through the squad that is the envy of much larger nations, and that I think many of us, bar Scarlet fans, believe our regional teams are playing better than last season despite their results.

Wales are ina strong position but not really at their best and I think we, like the Wales online Journalist, are looking for the missing component. The centres I question are hardly poor players,they just aren’t at their personal best at the moment.

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 1:06 pm

meas, I have no problems with it. Seriously I do not. But I have been ripped apart on this forum for doing it. OK

It seems that it is OK for some to do it though.


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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 1:40 pm

LordDowlais wrote:meas, I have no problems with it. Seriously I do not. But I have been ripped apart on this forum for doing it. OK

It seems that it is OK for some to do it though.


LD one media outlet can’t be wrong all the time...! Ha ha ha..!!! Except for a number of English newspapers, mail, express, sun etc...!

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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 1:44 pm

I have no problems with any media outlets to be honest, I do not buy newspapers anymore, I get my news from the internet, I am a rugby fan, and the biggest rugby media outlet in Wales is WOL. I also read it for any local news.

I do not know why so many people hate it on here, perhaps they think it's trendy to be that way, as I also see the same people bad mouthing Scrum V.

But hey ho, each to their own. OK

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 1:48 pm

LordDowlais wrote:I have no problems with any media outlets to be honest, I do not buy newspapers anymore, I get my news from the internet, I am a rugby fan, and the biggest rugby media outlet in Wales is WOL. I also read it for any local news.

I do not know why so many people hate it on here, perhaps they think it's trendy to be that way, as I also see the same people bad mouthing Scrum V.

But hey ho, each to their own. OK

Well WOL does have the editorial tendency to err towards sensationalism rather than news and opinion, that said every news outlet is more than guilty of that these days, they are trying to sell copy after all..!

I quite enjoy the Irish papers perspective, often a good read.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 8:51 am

Poor old Halfpenny is apparently struggling with concussion and james Davies with an ankle injury, Liam Williams should be playing for Saracens this Friday and longer term news is that Ellis Jenkins is in rehab and Arran Shingler should be playing in March.

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Post by miaow on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 4:07 pm

Ken Owens now in line for being Faletau's back-up.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46758352

Feels like the wheels have well and truly come off for Pivac.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 5:05 pm

miaow wrote:Ken Owens now in line for being Faletau's back-up.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46758352

Feels like the wheels have well and truly come off for Pivac.

Pretty appalling injury list. Maybe Dragons can make it two wins in a row.

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