Wales RWC 2019 Thread

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

First topic message reminder :

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


Last edited by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 7:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Jan 2019, 9:24 am

I’d like to see Tom YOUNG start. Maybe the Italy game is most likely

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 17 Jan 2019, 9:01 pm

maestegmafia wrote:I’d like to see Tom YOUNG start. Maybe the Italy game is most likely

You’re quite convinced about THOMAS Young aren’t you? Admittedly I haven’t seen anything of him, but he’s behind Navidi, Tips and Wainright for me. If Jenkins wasn’t injured he would be No.1, by far.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 12:18 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:I’d like to see Tom YOUNG start. Maybe the Italy game is most likely

You’re quite convinced about THOMAS Young aren’t you? Admittedly I haven’t seen anything of him, but he’s behind Navidi, Tips and Wainright for me. If Jenkins wasn’t injured he would be No.1, by far.

Having seen a lot of Tom young I would say he is the best direct replacement for Ellis Jenkins though tipuric is our best openside

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Post by Cyril on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 12:45 am

THOMAS!

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Post by miaow on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 1:18 am

Where do you play Tomm Youngs?

Tipuric's still Wales' best 7. Shingler the best 6, but depending on the game you want to play, Moriarty or Ellis Jenkins could do a brilliant job there ahead of him. Wainwright looking like a good prospect as well, some way behind those two in terms of point of difference and experience, but he seems a 'natural' 6 - so could end up starting against France.

Navidi's a solid all rounder. Gatland seems to like him but for me he's a perfect bench player. No idea where Gatland will play him, could be 8 with Faletau out, could be 6?

Wales are absolutely blessed considering Warburton's retirement. A player as good as Tim Yung hasn't been able to get near the squad - incredible. Would like to see what he can do physically at test level, Wainwright struggled against SA quite a lot but Navidi belies his size and imposes himself well.

If Tam Jung can cope with the physicality it could be really interesting. I don't think he'll actually see much game time this 6Ns unfortunately, but with the way injuries have gone, it really opens up the opportunity for Wales to play with 2 or even 3 'fetching' opensides in the backrow, with Yong being one of them.

Exciting stuff.

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Post by Pie on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 3:50 am

Tom Yum for me

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Post by munkian on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 8:20 am

Tong Fun
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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 12:19 pm

The Dragons have played wainwright at 7 a few times though I think hale is preferred as an athletic blindside.

He grabbed his opportunity on the summer tour well. I hope Tom gong can do the same this six nations Championship.

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Post by miaow on Sun 20 Jan 2019, 1:06 am

For some reason, when it comes to discussing back 3 options, I keep forgetting Josh Adams. Would like to see how he goes in the 6Ns. Probably the reason why neither Luke Morgan, Rosser, nor Lane have been called up. Covers all 3 positions and has real pace.

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Post by miaow on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 4:34 pm

An indication that Tomos Williams stands a very good chance of usurping Gareth Davies by the RWC opener. Think the Australia game in the Autumn was the nail in the coffin for Gareth Davies as first choice. Too many flaws to justify his incredible attacking talents. Tomos Williams offers similar, with quicker service and - so far - fewer signs of being a poor decision maker.

Likely to be first choice for the 6Ns game against France as well. If he steps up, Gareth Davies is great coming off the bench - no need to look back at Rhys Webb.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46991490

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 5:47 pm

I’ve seen Gatland praise Williams, but I still have a nagging feeling he will start Aled Davies for some reason.

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Post by miaow on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 5:52 pm

God no! That won't happen - don't listen to the fear haha!

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 6:55 pm

It is subsiding a little, day by day.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 7:04 pm

RiscaGame wrote:I’ve seen Gatland praise Williams, but I still have a nagging feeling he will start Aled Davies for some reason.

furious furious furious furious

Gareth Davies was garbage against Australia though. Genia was a great contrast, first guy at every breakdown and shipping the ball away accurately and instantly.

Time for Johnny Evans to come home maybe? We could probably give him more game time and I think he’d be a better third option for Wales.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 7:35 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:I’ve seen Gatland praise Williams, but I still have a nagging feeling he will start Aled Davies for some reason.

furious furious furious furious

Gareth Davies was garbage against Australia though. Genia was a great contrast, first guy at every breakdown and shipping the ball away accurately and instantly.

Time for Johnny Evans to come home maybe? We could probably give him more game time and I think he’d be a better third option for Wales.

Isn’t Jonny Evans in the scarlets squad?

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 8:23 pm

Yeah, so?

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Post by Pie on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 4:16 am

We might have strength in depth but fact is were testing that yet again and we're at the bottom of the barrel tbh. I hope Gats is smart enough to know that tis 6 Nations is just an opportunity to blood more newcomers sufficiently that we can see off Aussie and Fijian challenge at RWC. Time to bed in Holmes at 15, Adams on the wing, SW at 12, Williams at 9. And I hope we het Jenkins, Lydiate and Faletau back for the Autumn

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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:41 pm

I'd trust Gatland on that front Pie. For all the criticism he gets, he knows how to get a team ready for when it really matters.

It's also not like he doesn't see what the rest of us are seeing re: players and form. I don't think there are many in the current squad who you'd be unhappy to start for Wales - maybe a few players are a bit green, but no-one really stands out as being sub-par in terms of ability. Perhaps only the 3rd choice scrum-half, which isn't bad considering there are plenty more around his level (Lloyd, Jonathan Evans, Rhodri Williams etc.) who could come in if needed, and the best Welsh scrum-half who may or may not be available come RWC.

There's a really good video by 1014 where they discussed this idea. All the Home Nations are showing incredible depth - Ireland have been able to rotate successfully and keep winning, Wales likewise against a slightly lower level of opponent, and England and Scotland have had mixed success, sometimes forced through injury, with some positions clearly showing a bit of a weakness. But by and large, teams are learning from their mistakes in previous World Cups and building reliable strength in depth.

But I doubt anyone's going to be 'blooded' as such for Wales now - Holmes and Luke Morgan seem to have caught Gatland's attention over Rosser and Lane, which might be the only area where an uncapped player could have been brought in at some stage this season. But 2 of the 3 scrum-halves mentioned above who aren't in the squad have good international experience, so I wouldn't call that a problem position (and that's ignoring Webb). You don't see the All Blacks stressing about the 4th and 5th choice 9s - Wales shouldn't either. Tomos and Gareth Davies are 2 good options to have in the 23 - if one is injured, you have a solid, if unspectacular, back-up. Or Webb...

The original post was partly written with this in mind - if Wales were to pick and 'Elite Player Squad' like England do, who would be in it? There was a meeting at the Vale for 60ish possibles earlier in the season I believe, and if you whittle down some of the stragglers there, it's interesting seeing who Wales have to choose from.

As I said in the video, 13 is the only obvious weakness. 3 isn't great behind the first 2 for such a pivotal position; 10 isn't settled at all; perhaps there's a lack of class, experience, or leadership in certain positions, but by and large Wales are doing well.

There are two players who've put their hands up since I wrote that initial post as well - again, two back-rowers. Dan Davies at the Scarlets looks quality, and I imagine will get capped in the next 2 years. And Ollie Griffiths has looked great for the Dragons as well. Both ostensibly opensides, which is unbelievably strong (blame Martyn Williams and Richie McCaw...) in terms of depth and quality, so I can't see either getting gametime under Gatland unless Ellis Jenkins and one other 7 is injured come the warm-up games, but definitely look good like they have enough to go on and play test rugby at some point in the next few seasons.

Here's the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd5aQl1eyw0

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:27 pm

miaow wrote:.

There are two players who've put their hands up since I wrote that initial post as well - again, two back-rowers. Dan Davies at the Scarlets looks quality, and I imagine will get capped in the next 2 years. And Ollie Griffiths has looked great for the Dragons as well. Both ostensibly opensides, which is unbelievably strong (blame Martyn Williams and Richie McCaw...) in terms of depth and quality, so I can't see either getting gametime under Gatland unless Ellis Jenkins and one other 7 is injured come the warm-up games, but definitely look good like they have enough to go on and play test rugby at some point in the next few seasons.

I wonder who is the influence for so many quality sevens. Richie McCaw, Sam Warburton, Martin Williams etc..? There has been as much of a defining influence on young players over the last decade, as there has by any great flyhalf, to make all young men want to wear the ten shirt, historically.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:46 pm

Yeah we certainly aren’t short of 7s. The Pro14 has a need for breakdown specialists who can also act as link players between forwards and backs, and if they can also carry and tackle hard they will get picked up. I’ve always thought guys like Navidi, Jenkins and Griffiths have the most complete skill set for a 7. Compared to flankers in England and France where they’re mostly concerned with big guys who can bludgeon the opposition, which is why we tend to see less quality open-sides there, in my opinion.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:55 pm

I agree that different nations develop open sides with different traits, certainly the current modern 7 is very much an athletic skilled player with good hands a deft kick, a good turn of pace and a natty sidestep as much as he is a jackler and completes a high success rate of tackles per game.

The attributes beyond the turnovers and tackles are not so encouraged in other countries. That said I rarely saw Warbs chip or grabber the ball through.

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Post by miaow on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 10:47 pm

Only 2 rounds in but I think this 6Ns has shown that a few players on the fringes have put their hands up well. A few perhaps haven't done that - but still a long way to go.

However, as much as the starting 15/23 is interesting, it's also interesting to see who makes the 31 man RWC squad.

Gatland came out and said there may be an 18/13 split between backs and forwards. He went for a 17/14 last time:

Forwards: 5 Props, 2 Hookers, 5 second rows, 5 back rows.
Backs: 3 scrum halves, 2 outside halves, 3 centres, 6 wingers/full-backs

If it's 18/13, you'll likely see an extra hooker or an extra second-row, and the loss of a 3/4. The Nice camp went with 4 second rows and 3 hookers in an 18/13 split (leaving Steff Evans, Turnbull, Jarrod Evans and Sed Davies at home + injured options)

Considering everyone is fit, and starting with nailed on and very likely to start with, this is what I come up with. The brackets are the highly competitive options:

Props: Tomas Francis, Samson Lee, Rob Evans, Nicky Smith 4/5 (1 from Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis)
Hookers: Ken Owens, Elliot Dee 2/2 or 3 (1 from Ryan Elias, Scot Baldwin, Dacey if 3)
2nd Row: AWJ, Hill, Beard, Ball 4/4 or 5 (1 or 2 from Bradley Davies, Seb Davies, Charteris)
Back Row: Tipuric, Faletau, Moriarty 3/5 (2 from Navidi, E Jenkins, Young, Shingler, Wainwright, Turnbull, Lydiate, J Davies)

Scrum Halves: G Davies, T Williams 2/3 (1 out of A Davies, Ll Williams, Webb)
Outside Halves: Biggar, Anscombe 2/2
Centres: J Davies, H Parkes 2/2(1 from Watkin, S Williams, J Roberts, T Morgan)
Back 3: North, L Williams, Halfpenny, Adams 4/5 (1 from Patchell, S Evans, Amos, Holmes, L Morgan)

I make that 5 places to make up, 4 in the guaranteed numbers and 1 more at either hooker or 2nd row - which informs the back-row options as well incidentally. If it's 4 back-rowers I can see Seb Davies being in with a shout of one of the 2 remaining back-row places.

At prop: Wyn Jones
Back row: Navidi and Jenkins
Back 3: Amos

The fifth is almost certainly Ryan Elias over Wainwright. However, because of Wainwright's height and his ability to replicate what Shingler brought to Wales, I can see Gatland/McBryde trying to make room for him. In which case who knows?!

But that's my squad as it stands. Inevitably there will be a few injuries before the tournament begins - it's looking good so far, no-one ruled out, although I expect Ellis Jenkins to be touch and go. Unless Tipuric is out injured I think Gatland might opt for someone else if he's only going to be fit mid tournament as he's never actually been a Welsh starter (might have changed this season had he stayed fit).

Anyone have any thoughts/can think of anyone I've missed?

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Post by miaow on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 10:57 pm

The only thing I can think of that might be 'classic Gatland' is that he doesn't take Parkes and ends up selecting Scott Williams and Owen Watkin. He loves dropping older players before RWCs - Phillips, Hibbard, Martyn Williams etc. If you're about to retire/drop down a level you're not good enough. I get the sense that Hadleigh might just be on that cusp of deselection if he doesn't perform.

Making this prediction early in case it comes true - however stupid it may end up being when Parkes becomes the focal point of Wales' backline!

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Post by Pie on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 3:46 am

With Moriarty and Navidi able to cover 6 and 8 he certainly will only take 5 back row with Faletau Tipuric and Jenkins the others assuming Ellis is fit, if not I favor Shingler for his lineout with Navidi able to cover 7 too. Can Wainwright play 8? I like him but while I get the potential he seems to be a liability too. I think Youngs is class and could potentially figure if Ellis or Tips injured. Lydiate likewise may go. I am still not convinced that Tips produces for Wales what he does for his club.

Parkes is definitely on offer and unless he steps up pdq he may drop away as I too prefer Watkin. We have plenty of back 3 so North can play 13 and allow him to only take 3 centres which for me are Scott, Watkin and JD2.

Back 3 is looking solid with Half, Liam, Adams, North and Patchell cemented in for me with patch on 10 cover. Amos and Holmes as potential back ups but for m Steff is done and dusted not up to it.

Dee? Lineout was awful against Italy.

Webb has to come back to Wales the summer and be in contention. Scrum half options are hardly exciting. Likewise at 10 to be honest but Anscombe and Biggar will go with Patch as back up

Both Ball and Beard need a rocket as both are so inconsistent. Ball especially has to be carrying more. Hill and AWJ my starters at the moment but I'd be happy if Big Bradley or charters came back. With Beard guaranteed lineout ball should be a gimme.

Front row looks good to me - except for Dee.

At the end of the day though there is no obvious world class talent in that squad except for Faletau, AWJ, Tipuric, Liam and JD2 and that may not be enough.

My 31 man squad with Starting XV and bench preferences 1 and 2 assuming all fit/available:

Evans Owens Francis
Hill AWJ
Lydiate Faletau Jenkins
Webb
Patchell
North
Scott
JD2
Adams
Half

Wynn/Nicky
Ellis/Baldwin
Lee/Lewis
Ball/Beard
Shingler/Navidi
Gareth/Tomos
Watkin/Parkes
Liam/Amos







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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 8:11 am

Pie wrote:

At the end of the day though there is no obvious world class talent in that squad except for Faletau, AWJ, Tipuric, Liam and JD2 and that may not be enough.

My 31 man squad with Starting XV and bench preferences 1 and 2 assuming all fit/available:

Evans Owens Francis
Hill AWJ
Lydiate Faletau Jenkins
Webb
Patchell
North
Scott
JD2
Adams
Half

Wynn/Nicky
Ellis/Baldwin
Lee/Lewis
Ball/Beard
Shingler/Navidi
Gareth/Tomos
Watkin/Parkes
Liam/Amos

I am slightly confused. You name 5 world class players, but one dies not make your squad, and another is on the bench.

I also notice there is no back up 10 in that squad.

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Post by miaow on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 3:57 pm

Agree with quite a lot that you've said Pie and then you leave Tipuric out of the squad altogether!?!

It amazes me how underrated he still seems to be. No, he doesn't do the flashy wonder stuff he's become renowned for at the Ospreys that often - but he's definitely got it in his locker. How often do we see Liam Williams, JD2 or North playing to their full attacking strengths because of the gameplan Wales play? But he's always at the top of the tackle stats, turnover stats, and regularly has good carrying and metres gained numbers too. I think people expect better of him because of his talent but if he were someone like PoM - expected to do the dog work but not much else - people would be happy with him. For some reason being really good at the basics is a reason to criticise Tipuric.

Probably not the best with England next up but in one of the remaining games, just watch him for 2-3 minutes. Look at the work he gets through and how integral he is to Wales' ruck defence - he's also surprisingly strong in the tackle.

In fact, I'd say Tipuric is playing his best rugby in the last 12 months. The run of games he's had due to Warburton's injury and then retirement has allowed him to flourish game after game. Motm awards aren't everything but he picked them up against Scotland and Australia in the autumn in consecutive games.

With one or two more jacklers in the team - a Gethin Jenkins or a Tadgh Beirne type player - Tipuric would clean up at ruck time as well. It would've great to see Ellis Jenkins at 6 and Tipuric at 7 with Navidi potentially backing them up from the bench. As it is it's a bit like when Warburton played - teams mark Tipuric off the ball by making sure 2-3 players are on him straight away. That's one area I think France did quite well in Paris - their hunger to shut Tipuric down was noticeable.

Anyway, leaving Tipuric out is a very strange decision Pie. I also don't think Patchell has a place in the squad, and really hope Lydiate isn't a starting option. That said agree with amost of what you've said.

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Post by Pie on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 3:01 am

Yeah I got carried away with Tips but it does reflect my feeling he just doesnt perform that well for Wales

Still I dont know who I would leave out if all fit...Navidi I guess but the guy is so versatile I doubt he will miss plane

And I do want Lydiate back because he leverages dominant tackling like nobody else as he almost always tackles past gainline. And he is smart and experienced. Fully fit with Jenkins and Faletau thats great balance.

And yes no 10 cover so back to drawing board on numbers! Biggar and Anscombe will clearly both go

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 3:40 am

No Shingler? I’m not obsessed with Tips either but he is very good, maybe I don’t see the ‘unseen’ work that often. Personally I rate Navidi and Jenkins ahead of him, but it’s likely we’ll continue with two open-sides anyway unless Shingler and Faletau force their way back in. Jenkins has been the best 7 as of late so it’s too bad he faces a long lay-off. To be the best open-side when we have so many good ones then you’ve gotta be on your way to the infamous world class tag...

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Post by Pie on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 3:43 am

I dont think Faletau will have to force anything back in....I expect him to bench once fit but IMO if we lose against Eng I cant se him figuring this 6 Nations even if fit. Rest the guy we know he can switch it on when needed.

What I am beginning to think about Wales is that yes we have plenty of depth but as for real superstars I am not so sure

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 12 Feb 2019, 4:31 pm

Pie wrote:I dont think Faletau will have to force anything back in....I expect him to bench once fit but IMO if we lose against Eng I cant se him figuring this 6 Nations even if fit. Rest the guy we know he can switch it on when needed.

What I am beginning to think about Wales is that yes we have plenty of depth but as for real superstars I am not so sure

Faletau is now out, but this does give good time and opportunity to really test Moriarty and Navidi

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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 7:43 pm

Obviously there are a few Welsh related selection threads but I thought I'd put my thoughts down in this one.

We're now 3 games into the 6Ns. Here is the remaining fixture list for Wales:

6Ns:
9 March: Scotland v Wales (Murrayfield; 14:15 GMT)
16 March: Wales v Ireland (Principality Stadium; 14:45 GMT)

2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP WARM-UPS
11 August England v Wales (Twickenham; ko tbc)
17 August: Wales v England (Principality Stadium; ko tbc)
31 August: Wales v Ireland (Principality Stadium; ko tbc)
7 September: Ireland v Wales (Aviva Stadium; ko tbc)

2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP - Pool D
23 September: Wales v Georgia (Toyota Stadium, Toyota City; 11:15 BST)
29 September: Wales v Australia (Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo; 08:45 BST)
9 October: Wales v Fiji (Oita Stadium, Oita; 10:45 BST)
13 October: Wales v Uruguay (Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, Kumamoto City; 09:15 BST)

6 games to nail down both the squad and the starting positions. In reality, two competitive games to basically work out which 4-5 players are sneaking their way into the squad, and who might play their way out of it. At this stage, it's too hard to call that with any certainity because of injuries.

However, on the Anscombe v Biggar debate at #10, what I think is abundantly clear (other than the fact that Anscombe is Gatland's starting 10) is that Anscombe looks a lot better when in a bit of space, often as a second five-eighth type player, or even in the backfield at 15. However, the issue with that is we've seen France, England and Ireland play a non-specialist at 15 and all suffer the consequences in the positioning and aerial battle. Just as Patchell isn't an option at 15 unless desperate (pace, positioning etc.) neither is Anscombe. And of course, he does look better in a bit more space, 2 or 3 phases into an attack - but what 10 doesn't? A Sexton-type, or a Farrell-type, or a Russell-type, or even a French-type (whatever that is) will all likely show their skills better against a less settled defensive line. The issue with Anscombe is he's a really good runner, has very good spatial awareness in judging whether a gap is big enough to get through or not (he never runs into brick walls; even if tackled, he tends to slip through so it gives the forwards a target to hit, rather than having to backtrack). But he's not the best distributor - nor is Biggar. Neither 10 sorts that issue out, and although Parkes is much better than Roberts here, even Scott Williams (probably better than Parkes in the raw attributes) isn't any noticeably better with ball in hand than Parkes. The selection policy doesn't really offer an alternative to what currently is being picked and, although there is an issue with distribution at 10-12, the likes of Patchell and Watkin are still very raw on the international stage. It would be foolish to rely on them and expect them to perform - sure they will do a job if covering but they're not viable picks for leapfrogging the current options.

The other query now is who plays 15? Liam Williams put in his best performance as a defensive 15 I think I've ever seen him play against England. He's not Halfpenny, who is, but he obviously offers so much more in attack (but not with the boot). It really is a 50:50 and with Adams and North neck and neck on the wing, it's hard to justify 1/2P coming in for any of the 3. But who knows. Horses for courses?

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Post by miaow on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 3:59 pm

Bad news for Cory Hill: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47372918

Chance for Bradley Davies to come into the squad? He was the reserve lock in the last 6Ns but has seen Beard replace him this year. Any other option? Seb Beard to be promoted into the 23?

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 6:46 pm

That’s a sad loss. It looked pretty nasty when he came off.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 3:31 am

Seb Davies and Beard could be an interesting combo, especially going forward post AWJ

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Post by Pie on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 5:54 am

Its time to give Ball as hot I think. We need that wrecking ball back in the engine room

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Post by miaow on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 5:28 pm

Interestingly, Ball's definitely looking a lot leaner this season than in the past. Perhaps that's due to fitness work, and not being able to lift as heavily when injured, but also he's not 'bulky' as you might expect an injured forward to perhaps be.

If he can go 60-70 mins at test level - which I'm not sure he really can, hence why cutting by the looks of it for RWC - and maintain 90% of his physical power, he's definitely worth looking at ahead of Beard in my opinion. But due to lineout being more troublesome than tight 5 power at the moment, certainly against Scotland, you'd want the lineout specialist.

Think Gatland might treat the Scotland game as a chance to look at one or two 'fringe' players who might have missed out so far this season, but only in the position like lock or 9 where a 3rd choice option is regularly called upon. So Seb stands a chance, but an outside one.

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Post by Pie on Wed 27 Feb 2019, 9:26 pm

Only changes I would make are Faletau for Moriarty who goes to bench, Webb for G Davies, Biggar for Anscombe, Jenkins for Navidi, Scott for Parkes. Half and Patchell on bench with Smith, Jones, Ball, Moriarty, Tomos and a hooker?

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Post by miaow on Thu 28 Feb 2019, 9:48 pm

You say only, Pie...but that's a fair chunk of the team. Nearly a third of the first XV and then a few more on the bench.

No argument with Faletau, but Gareth Davies was excellent against England. Shows how good he is when focused and firing - in my opinion, he's Webb's equal, if not superior in some facets. It's just he can be let down when he switches off. As it is, Webb still not an option, at least not this 6Ns.

In all honesty, I can't see any of the changes you've suggested happening with Gatland in charge. Maybe Ellis Jenkins coming in for Navidi but, honestly, Navidi is a better 6. I know the Blues play with them in all sorts of different positions, but I like Navidi's 'dog' work at international level. Tbh though it's nearly a 50:50. Jenkins probably has a bit more class than Navidi but wouldn't argue either way. Good to know Wales can play that second fether at 6 if necessary, or go for someone like Wainwright or Shingler as well for different kind of game.



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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 7:02 am

Hopefully some of those players will be fit in time to get regional matches before the season finishes.


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Post by Pie on Fri 01 Mar 2019, 7:17 pm

The key ones for me are Ellis, Faletau and Scott

And really I dont think either of them would need a great deal of warm up to get back to where we need them

We have 2 warm up games plus Georgia to get the intensity back

I see no reason why we cant win the group if that is the most advantageous spot to be in

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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 8:12 pm

Parkes picked ahead of Watkin against Scotland. A good performance and I can see Scott missing out on the 31 man squad, with Watkin taking his place. JD2 vital to keep fit after missing 2015, but if Wales do take a 3rd centre it's looking like Watkin at the moment. Gatland's never really liked Scott, even when Roberts was useless from 2014-17ish, and refused to pick him. Which is a shame as I think he's just a solid all-round player who adds test quality, if not test brilliance, to the team. After seeing Parkes get exposed for pace against England this might be a selection that comes back to bite Wales and Gatland but hopefully not.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:03 pm

Not sure Scott Williams’ luck will improve much going forward, with Pivac taking over the Wales reigns and Williams having left the Scarlets for pastures new while under Pivac, probably because he was being overlooked for the Parkes JD2 combo.

I too am a fan of SW. One of those players who seems to be in the right place at the right time for Wales and will pop up with a try. I think he’s quicker than he looks too. I’d certainly still have him in and around the squad.
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Post by Pie on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 7:00 am

I think he will go if fit. He is a big game player and much as I think Watkin is a good 3rd choice IMO it is Parkes who should be parked. Id take SW, JD2 and Watkin. I'd take Doc before Parkes

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Post by miaow on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:50 am

Interesting to see Aled Davies retained on the bench as well, despite TW being fit. That to me says Rhys Webb isn't going to be coming out to Japan. They're preparing as if these are the 3 9s they'll take.

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Post by Pie on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:08 am

Webb will come if eligible; this tournament is to choose the other two and currently Aled has lead over Tomos

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Post by miaow on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 12:43 pm

I don't see it. Firstly, because when Gareth Davies performs (which is not as frequently as Webb) to his best I think they're on par in terms of ability and use to the team, so he's not guaranteed to walk back into the first XV (although in all likelihood would start).

Also, been out of the system for what, 2 years now? Has he played since the Lions, due to injury and then being in France? Has he played with Anscombe?

I think Gatland is too hard headed to go cap in hand to him. A bit like with Adam Jones and Lee Byrne - he is absolutely ruthless and will get rid of people with no hesitation. Webb is slightly different in that he's not over the hill, but he is out of the loop and, if he had really wanted to play for Wales, he could have backed out of the Toulon contract/found a way to stay in Wales. It's up to Webb to force his way back in - basically, get a loan deal or something that qualifies him back in Wales for the summer. Maybe his Toulon contact is ripped up, who knows. But I don't think Gatland is expecting him to be available and the fact he's picked Aled in quite a few games, with quite a few starts, in the last 12 months suggests he's found his 3 9s.

It's not out of the question but, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Webb stay at Toulon and the RWC to just pass him by. There are many good players going to be left at home - Scott Williams, for instance, and a couple of back rows. Don't see why Webb is any different here, but have to wait and see. Gatland's always thrown a few big curveballs based on the training and warm up games; as I said earlier, wouldn't be surprised to see Parkes left at home to be honest!

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Mar 2019, 8:44 am

By Ben James for Wales Online wrote:

Wales aren't really the best at anything when it comes to the stats

An alarming and somewhat incendiary statement, especially given Wales are the only team chasing a Grand Slam, but bear with us on this one.


When it comes to the statistics charts, Wales aren't really leading any of the columns.

Second last in metres made with only kick-orientated England below them, a similar story in defenders beaten too. In terms of clean breaks, Wales are dead last.

Is there reason for concern then that Wales are often middling, or even near bottom in the stats columns?

Not really.

Given Wales tend to play a lot without the ball, backing their defence and kicking a lot, perhaps it's no surprise they aren't pulling up any trees on the traditional statistic columns.

But what Wales are, and these specific statistics don't tend to show this, is clinical.

Against France, they got into the French 22 just five times. Three of those visits resulted in tries. The other two in disallowed scores.

England played out along the same line. Five entries. Four scores. One knock-on.

They may not be making a copious amount of linebreaks or metres, but they're getting more adept at finishing them off when they do.

The scrum has been quietly brilliant

Cast your mind back to the opening weekend of the Six Nations and all the talk was about how daunting a task Wales had on their hands facing a mammoth French pack.

Yet the Welsh scrum has ticked along nicely under the radar.

It was one of the few positives from a dreadful first-half in Paris and has looked solid ever since.

Even against England, when Rob Evans was pinged early on against Kyle Sinckler, Wales didn't crumble.

If anything, they wrestled their way back on top.

Wales' goal-kicking without Leigh Halfpenny has been just fine

Being without Leigh Halfpenny still has the ability to cause a mild amount of panic in Wales.

Worries about goal-kicking and defensive stability arise whenever the full-back is out and those whispers were doing the rounds as Halfpenny's recovery from a concussion suffered in November kept him out of the start of the tournament.

There was talk that Dan Biggar would have to start in place of Gareth Anscombe for goal-kicking and goal-kicking alone - but that wasn't the case.

Despite missing two early efforts in Paris, Anscombe has been solid from the tee since, while Biggar has been equally good at keeping the points ticking over from the bench. In fact, Biggar is only behind Owen Farrel as the competition's leading points scorer on 21.

Wales' goal-kicking success rate in the Championship so far is 82%. Ireland are just ahead with the highest percentage of 83.3%.

The average across the tournament is actually just 67.4%, thanks largely to France's success rate being below 50%.

Wales may have scored the joint least amount of tries in this campaign, but there's a reason they're third in the points scored column and that's because no other side has kicked more penalties than them.

Defensively, Liam Williams has been a rock - with his reading of the game helping to neutralise England's kicking game during the epic 21-13 victory in Cardiff.

Every time England looked to find grass with the boot, Williams was there.

That's not to say Wales don't miss the Scarlets full-back but, so far, they've more than coped without him.

The side of the Welsh lineout no one's yet mentioned

Wales' lineout woes when it comes to throwing have been no secret so far this tournament.

Gatland's men have won just 69% of their own lineout ball in the opening three matches.

But what about the other side of the ball?

Well, a quick look at the statistics paint a fairly stark picture.

They have yet to steal any opposition lineout ball. Absolutely zero. This compares to Italy (seven), France (five), Ireland (four) and England (three).

Is that a concern?


Perhaps. It would certainly be nice to pinch the odd lineout throw, of course.

But, conversely, Wales have defended mauls very well - with the height and reach of Adam Beard helping to defuse them when the opposition set up a push.

Discipline really makes the difference

So far in the tournament, Wales and Ireland have conceded the least amount of penalties - 19 each.

As a whole, Welsh discipline has been mixed, conceding just three penalties in the victory over England but being pinged 10 times against France.


It's fairly obvious what the advantage of conceding less penalties are, and it was key against the English.

Wales keeping their discipline allowed them to persist with their Plan A all the way through the 80 minutes to great effect. England just couldn't live with the relentlessness of it all.

Against France and Italy, a high penalties count killed Wales at times and, although they got the wins, they were made to sweat more than they would have liked.

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Post by Presuming Ed on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 12:53 pm

The only thing I can say on this point is that the reason Wales are going into next weekend with a probable GS in their sights is Hadleigh Parkes. He has been immense for Wales and the man to build the team around going in to the RWC.
Obviously hope Ireland win next weekend but Wales have been solid and error free this 6N and thoroughly deserve their position with Hadleigh Parkes personifying the Welsh approach to the fore.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 2:30 pm

Presuming Ed wrote:The only thing I can say on this point is that the reason Wales are going into next weekend with a probable GS in their sights is Hadleigh Parkes. He has been immense for Wales and the man to build the team around going in to the RWC.
Obviously hope Ireland win next weekend but Wales have been solid and error free this 6N and thoroughly deserve their position with Hadleigh Parkes personifying the Welsh approach to the fore.

Funny that most people wanted to drop him last week.

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Post by miaow on Sun 10 Mar 2019, 2:48 pm

Yeah, interesting point. Yesterday was definitely one of his better games in that what he brings was more apparent - solidity, deceptive strength, good decision making. But he hasn't been in fantastic form this season, and got shown up twice against England for pace.

But...I don't disagree with Ed. The difference between Wales with Roberts at, and Wales with Parkes, is immense. He has made the team a lot better.

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