The Welsh Flyhalf debate

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Who should be flyhalf for wales

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Total Votes : 29

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:01 am

I'll tell you all a story, 'tis a strange and a weird tale:
Of a factory in my valley, not fed by road or rail.
It's built beneath the mountain, beneath the coal and clay.
It's where we make the outside-halves, that'll play for Wales one day.



Since The Autumn internationals 2017 Wales have won played 17 tests lost 4. Five flyhalves have taken the field starting or from the bench.

Dan Biggar will be up to seven starts when he takes the field against Italy this afternoon, Gareth Anscombe has started six, Rhys Patchell four and Rhys Priestland started against Georgia in November 2017. There is also young Jarrod Evans in the mix, who received his first cap in the Doddie Weir Cup last Autumn

Not one of those fly halves has begun three consecutive Tests in that period.

Competition for the 10 shirt has always been immense in Wales, there has always been a contentious debate over who is the right man to guide Wales. The debate rumbles on.

.

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:10 am

I voted Biggar. I think he’s far from on the scrap heap yet. I don’t see that he’s a ‘boring’ or one dimensional 10. I think you just need to give him instructions to be more open and expansive and he’ll do it. So if he has seemed somewhat conservative I think that is down to Gatland and the instructions he’s been given. Because at times I’ve seen loads of variety from Biggar at both the Ospreys and Wales. He was the master at the up n under kick chase and collect, excellent under the high ball. I’ve seen him do lovely chips over the top and kicks to the corner and to the wing. He can do lovely grubbers too. I’ve seen him make breaks (more so for the Ospreys). I’ve seen him involved in some lovely set moves and ‘running rugby’ tries. In short I’ve seen him do far more than just shovel the ball on or kick it into touch. Plus he adds the defensive and kicking (at goal) side that the others perhaps do not. He’s my choice for the 6N and world cup, but with instructions to play what he sees and vary the attack so that we’re not so easy to guess (one of his criticisms in the past).
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:18 am

I think last week Biggar proved a big point, that when it comes to experience and level headedness he is your go to ten. He is naturally pragmatic but also skillfull.

I think it was scrum V last week where they eluded to Biggar developing at Saints, playing flatter to the line etc.

I would still like to see more of Jarrod Evans before the summer, despite his injuries he has looked a superb option.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:42 am

I thought Bigger looked excellent with the Lions when the system forced him to get flatter to the line. He is a more rounded player than given credit for. While his form may have failed off last season after announcing his move. He is an all round FH who deserves more plaudits than he gets.

Anscombe and Patchell both seem to need the extra space and time to make decisions that exists at club level but mostly disappears at international. They look like talented ball players who can too easily get flustered and make mistakes. I may be wrong, but both play 15 for their clubs as well as 10.

Not seen enough of Evans to comment, while Priestland should only by an option when there is an injury crisis.

I feel it would be crazy to ditch Bigger in a search for the all singing all dancing FH of legend. He is your best option to help the side progress in the world cup.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:42 am

As an Englishman, I always hate it when Biggar is on the teamsheet ahead of the others. He always raises his game for England and plays like a man possessed. He has a good amount of skill (although he's no Finn Russell) and is also as hard as nails. And he's pretty deadly with the boot as well as having a good eye for the try line. He just needs to get his petulant side out of the game.

I can't make up my mind about Anscombe. He can be a bit flaky but can also be immensely talented. In my mind his head tends to drop when things aren't quite going his way. Plus, like George Ford, he plays better I think when he doesn't have the added pressure of place kicks.

Can't comment on Evans as I have never seen him play, but Patchell I think struggles a bit more with the big occasion than the others. If he can get that out of his game he could be quite effective.

Priestland is now more of a former man of the moment - his time has come and gone, some great efforts, some not so much. Still classy though.

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Post by Presuming Ed on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:52 am

I voted for Dan Biggar because he makes me laugh. I always think of Frankie Howard playing Mr Bigger in Carry on Doctor. Ooh and also because I think he is a very good player. Matron!

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Post by carpet baboon on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 9:53 am

Hello. I'm Irish and I come in peace.
For me, Wales for the rest of this 6n and the world cup, should see Dan biggar as there 10. Anscombe for me is a 15. It gives him the time and space to attack the line.
Patchell is extremely talented, and is great cover for 10 and 15.
Evans from what I have seen is extremely talented but maybe give him a bit of time.
Preistland can do a job, and do it well but I wouldn't pick him unless both biggar and anscombe are out.

Just my thoughts

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 10:34 am

I do wonder if Biggar was a victim of circumstance in terms of his involvement and contribution to ‘Warrenball’. Not sure if the whole one dimensional Warrenball was because of Biggar, or did Biggar need to play that way because of an ageing Mike Phillips at 9 who was becoming slower and more ponderous with age, and a slow-ish and one dimensional Jamie Roberts in his inside. Given those circumstances I wonder if that dictated Warrenball tactics moreso that a lack of ability (for Biggar).

Saying that it’s been a good while since Roberts and Phillips started perhaps I’m wide of the mark. But I do fell Biggar offers more than he did under Warrenball.


Last edited by The Oracle on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 10:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Cyril on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 10:37 am

It’s a strange one. Historically Wales have been known for their fly halves. Pretty uninspiring these days compared to their 6Ns counterparts. I’d probably pick either Biggar or the Kiwi. Whichever fits Gatlandball better, I guess.

Are there any exciting youngsters coming through?

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 10:39 am

Cyril, you cad! A subtle wind up there about Gatlandball. Come on, it’s been at least 2 years since either Warrenball or Gatland ball.
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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 11:19 am

The Oracle wrote:Cyril, you cad! A subtle wind up there about Gatlandball. Come on, it’s been at least 2 years since either Warrenball or Gatland ball.
clap clap

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 11:33 am

although Biggar some time's wind's me up with  his dancing before taking a kick at goal.
He is far better 10 than any of the rest.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 1:38 pm

The Oracle wrote:I do wonder if Biggar was a victim of circumstance in terms of his involvement and contribution to ‘Warrenball’. Not sure if the whole one dimensional Warrenball was because of Biggar, or did Biggar need to play that way because of an ageing Mike Phillips at 9 who was becoming slower and more ponderous with age, and a slow-ish and one dimensional Jamie Roberts in his inside. Given those circumstances I wonder if that dictated Warrenball tactics moreso that a lack of ability (for Biggar).

Saying that it’s been a good while since Roberts and Phillips started perhaps I’m wide of the mark. But I do fell Biggar offers more than he did under Warrenball.

I don’t really associate Biggar with that era, that was more pre 2015 RWC

Biggar is more post 2015.

It’s great to finally see Biggar getting the plaudits he deserves from fans of other nations.

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 2:03 pm

Nah, Biggar has been a mainstay since around 2013. Surely?!
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 3:46 pm

The Oracle wrote:Nah, Biggar has been a mainstay since around 2013. Surely?!
He was in contention with Priestland, regular squad member

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 3:54 pm

Bigger had 39 caps by the end of 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 he had 9 caps, many from the bench. 9 starts in 2013 seems to have seen him become the regular starter.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 4:04 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Bigger had 39 caps by the end of 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 he had 9 caps, many from the bench. 9 starts in 2013 seems to have seen him become the regular starter.

The priest was injured I think

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Post by miaow on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 6:50 pm

Wish Patchell had performed against England last year. Instead we're committed to starting Anscombe with Biggar on the bench. Not convinced that'll be enough against Oz and beyond in the RWC.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 6:54 pm

Biggar did not have a good game today, Anscombe little better. Patchell and Evans will hopefully be in training next week.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 7:27 pm

Bigger looked like a guy who was trying too hard, outside a scrum half who was really struggling.

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Post by miaow on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 7:40 pm

Agree with LT. Surprisingly, I actually think Biggar's taken being dropped quite badly. His post match comment after the Tonga game - when MOTM - was a bit spicy. 'This is my level now'. Clearly trying to force things at times today. Not one of his better games - but not that bad. 2 kicks out on the full, one missed touch finder, but also a 48m touch to the corner, generally solid distributing (if too telegraphed - big problem all round) and a great claim in the air.

Biggar rises to the occasion. Nice kick by Anscombe for Watkin's try but by and large neither fills me with confidence. Biggar too limited, Anscombe too flaky. Patchell too inexperienced and flaky to be considered before Pivac comes in. All told, I think Priestland should have been kept involved after 2016. Better at running a backline than Anscombe - just not got the complete game either.

You look at the opposition - Farrell, Sexton, Russell. They are nailed on and dictate how their side plays the game. Wales have a weakness at 10 sadly.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 11:03 pm

Bigger is a bit self depreciating

I lost a lot of respect for him when he made that pathetic comment post Tonga match.


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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 8:59 am

Well the cards have been switched and Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams start as in Paris...

The first half in Paris didn’t go very well for them but this weekend should see better conditions, no torrential rain or freezing temperatures on the radar for cardiff

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 9:24 am

maestegmafia wrote:Well the cards have been switched and Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams start as in Paris...

The first half in Paris didn’t go very well for them but this weekend should see better conditions, no torrential rain or freezing temperatures on the radar for cardiff


True, but I doubt we'll have the same solid platform as we did against the French. Those two also seemed to struggle against France's line speed and the lack of space created. The number of times we lost ground on subsequent phases was comical! Could be a long day for the half backs.
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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 9:37 am

I would pick Patchell all day long over any other player at the moment.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 9:59 am

I rate an in form Patchell very highly but he has not had much game time over the last few months.

Hopefully by the RWC squad announcement and warm up games his inclusion will be unanswerable

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 10:04 am

Anscombe is Gatland's man. Head hunted from NZ and brought over for the 2015 RWC. If he stays fit we can stop having this discussion until he leaves as it'll be him starting with one of Biggar or (much less likely) Patchell on the bench.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 10:10 am

From what i understand, Wales have gone for Anscombe at 10. Very surprised to be honest,, is Bigger not avalible. or is he/will he be on the bench?

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 11:10 am

Are you Delme Parfitt, Maj?

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Post by No9 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:30 pm

Have to say, I'm nervous with Anscombe at 10. I just hope he looks before he passes, as Slade and May wont turn up an interception if offered.

Also, without Halfpenny, it tells the English its ok to give away penalties around half-way, as its outside his range. It's on the border for Biggar and we all know what Halfpenny can do when on form.

Defense is going to have to be top drawer...

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7:22 am

In the press conference yesterday Gatland alluded to the fact that Bihar had to return to Northampton RFC for last weekends match as being a massive disruption to training and was one of the reasons he was over looked.

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Post by Scottrf on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7:23 am

Ouch so he chose not to compliment the players he did pick?

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7:39 am

Scottrf wrote:Ouch so he chose not to compliment the players he did pick?

Why would you say that?


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Post by Scottrf on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7:40 am

You just said he didn’t pick Biggar because of distruption to training. Why not say these guys trained well, I like what they are offering at the moment etc

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Post by Cyril on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7:57 am

Also, surely the Welsh camp knew that Biggar would be recalled well in advance. You either exclude foreign based players (like England and Ireland do) or you work with it. There’s no point using it as a reason to leave a player out when you talk to the press.

I guess it could be Gatland having a dig at Biggar following his comments after the Tonga game.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 8:08 am

Scottrf wrote:You just said he didn’t pick Biggar because of distruption to training. Why not say these guys trained well, I like what they are offering at the moment etc

Read the articles on the press conference there is tonnes of praise for the team. I was only describing that answer to the question posed to a Gatland regarding his selection of flyhalf.

Not really sure where you are going with your point...? It seems a very odd thing to ask

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 8:10 am

Scottrf wrote:You just said he didn’t pick Biggar because of distruption to training. Why not say these guys trained well, I like what they are offering at the moment etc

Garland will have been asked "why not Bigger?" From our antipodean cousins, the Kiwis seem to be pessimists and the Aussies optimists ( other adjectives can be used... Lugubrious and brash). So it is second nature to Gate to provide the negative response, while also moaning. Eddie would talk whoever was the last minute 5th choice stand in saying they could be the best in the world, while moaning of course, and thus also be criticised.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 8:13 am

maestegmafia wrote:
Scottrf wrote:You just said he didn’t pick Biggar because of distruption to training. Why not say these guys trained well, I like what they are offering at the moment etc

Read the articles on the press conference there is tonnes of praise for the team. I was only describing that answer to the question posed to a Gatland regarding his selection of flyhalf.

Not really sure where you are going with your point...? It seems a very odd thing to ask

If, like me, the snippet you provided was the only thing Scott knew about the press conference, I do not see his original statement as unreasonable.

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 9:50 am

I fear Biggar more than the others.

His game management is better and he has the spark I like to see in a player that says he will not be beaten.
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Post by miaow on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 1:33 pm

Good job he'll come off the bench and work his magic with a kick to win it in the last 5 minutes then!

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 9:04 pm

Interview with Martyn Williams on the BBC suggests that Anscombe is being pushed to help Wales evolve a more dynamic attacking game, beyond the traditional Gatlandball.

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Post by miaow on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 9:15 pm

So much in that sentence to discuss/argue with but ultimately - yes, Wales/Gatland want more of a playmaker at 10 than Biggar and probably always have done. The reason Biggar became first choice was because he was significantly more reliable than Priestland and then Anscombe.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 22 Feb 2019, 9:23 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Interview with Martyn Williams on the BBC suggests that Anscombe is being pushed to help Wales evolve a more dynamic attacking game, beyond the traditional Gatlandball.


Which hasn’t been seen since 2017.
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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:17 am

This debate is going to be like a pendulum this championships.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:23 am

I still think Biggarr is the better fly half.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 9:13 am

The Oracle wrote:I do wonder if Biggar was a victim of circumstance in terms of his involvement and contribution to ‘Warrenball’. Not sure if the whole one dimensional Warrenball was because of Biggar, or did Biggar need to play that way because of an ageing Mike Phillips at 9 who was becoming slower and more ponderous with age, and a slow-ish and one dimensional Jamie Roberts in his inside. Given those circumstances I wonder if that dictated Warrenball tactics moreso that a lack of ability (for Biggar).

Saying that it’s been a good while since Roberts and Phillips started perhaps I’m wide of the mark. But I do fell Biggar offers more than he did under Warrenball.

I recall a young enough Biggar playing 10 with a pretty exciting Ospreys backline where he put on a master class in the RDS in the pro14 final. He was supurb and that was one of the best pro14 games I can recall. He is a great 10, its that simple.

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Post by chris_501 on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 5:57 pm

It does seem that both 10s currently in the matchday squads have their supporters and detractors.

For what it's worth, I think Biggar's leadership and sheer determination to get a win, as well as his aerial ability outweighs what Anscombe brings as a more 'attacking' fly half.

I still hope that Patchell can get back to long term fitness, as I can see him being the long term 10, albeit probably now after the World Cup.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 6:42 pm

chris_501 wrote:It does seem that both 10s currently in the matchday squads have their supporters and detractors.

For what it's worth, I think Biggar's leadership and sheer determination to get a win, as well as his aerial ability outweighs what Anscombe brings as a more 'attacking' fly half.

I still hope that Patchell can get back to long term fitness, as I can see him being the long term 10, albeit probably now after the World Cup.

I would say there is also a number of us who know Biggar is a great player but we also know what he can do, and this would select Anscombe ahead of him to get Anscombe up to speed faster. You don’t learn without experience.

To be fair Anscombe hasn’t lost a game as a starting ten in a long while.

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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 11:59 am

You might have to take Anscombe out of this debate at the end of the season if the rumours have any substance.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:04 pm

LordDowlais wrote:You might have to take Anscombe out of this debate at the end of the season if the rumours  have any substance.

What’s the latest?

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