Best Welsh team of the Pro era?

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 8:43 am

Eddie Jones mentioned that his England team are off to Cardiff to play the “greatest Welsh team ever”, next weekend. We all know, looking at his wry smile, Eddie was just having a laugh at the media, but a number of posters have poised the question are England about to play against the greatest Welsh team ever?

Simple answer is no, Wales have injuries to four of their best players at the moment, Faletau, Shingler, Jenkins and Halfpenny as well as the WRU imposed exciting of Rhys Webb. There has also been more squad rotation over the last run of eleven wins than we have seen in a very long time. Five new caps in this period, over 40 players used in the last 11 matches, we are discussing a period of three teams worth of players not a first 15.

Looking back over history it is hard to judge whether Gareth Edwards was greater than Dai Bishop or Bleddyn Williams than Alan Bateman and I have probably just mentioned four players from before a time when a number of people on this forum watched rugby.

So let’s limit this to the professional era, basically since the RWC in South Africa 1995. That should keep this within most posters living memory.

What are your thoughts ? How close is Eddie Jones to his statement? There are definitely a few current players who will make the XV.


Last edited by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:12 am

I think there are three players in the current squad who should be in the greatest fifteen of the pro era that are currently in the squad plus Faletau who is out injured. Tough calls George North, Halfpenny, Liam Williams and JD2.


15. Lee Byrne
14. Ieuan Evans
13. Alan Bateman
12. Gavin Henson
11. Shane Williams
10. Stephen Jones
9. Dwayne Peel
8. Taulupe Faletau
7. Justin Tipuric
6. Sam Warburton
4. Luke Charteris
5. AWJ
3. Adam Jones
2. Ken Owens
1. Gethin Jenkins

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:16 am

I know we’re meant to pick a team but some tough calls. And often we’ve not really had a standout in some positions.

Gethin Jenkins
Matthew Rees/Ken Owens (neither real standouts.)
Adam Jones
AWJ
Ian Gough/Chris Wyatt
Ryan Jones/Colin Charvis
Martin Williams/Sam Warburton
Scott Quinnell/Taulupe Faletau
Peel/Phillips/Webb?
Stephen Jones - but even be was limited. Better than N Jenkins for me though.
Shane Williams
Gibbs/Jamie Roberts
Shanklin/JD2
Gareth Thomas/North/Dafydd James
1/2p/Kevin Morgan?
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:21 am

The Oracle wrote:I know we’re meant to pick a team but some tough calls. And often we’ve not really had a standout in some positions.

Gethin Jenkins
Matthew Rees/Ken Owens (neither real standouts.)
Adam Jones
AWJ
Ian Gough/Chris Wyatt
Ryan Jones/Colin Charvis
Martin Williams/Sam Warburton
Scott Quinnell/Taulupe Faletau
Peel/Phillips/Webb?
Stephen Jones - but even be was limited. Better than N Jenkins for me though.
Shane Williams
Gibbs/Jamie Roberts
Shanklin/JD2
Gareth Thomas/North/Dafydd James
1/2p/Kevin Morgan?

So you are saying three or four players in the current squad might make it?

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:26 am

Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???
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Post by The Oracle on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:30 am

I think this exercise shows why we’ve never managed to trouble the top teams consistently over the years - even picking our best players from the last 20 years, the teams we create are not exactly going to scare the All Blacks!
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:56 am

The Oracle wrote:I think this exercise shows why we’ve never managed to trouble the top teams consistently over the years - even picking our best players from the last 20 years, the teams we create are not exactly going to scare the All Blacks!

We have had some good moments against the all blacks, 2004 stands out in my mind, we followed that with a grand slam and 7 wins in a row. There wasn’t the depth we have now in so many positions and 2005 was not a good year to follow, but the core of that 2005 GS team were very good.

Over the last ten years the only teams we struggle to get a easily against is Nz and Australia

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 10:02 am

The Oracle wrote:Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???

Ieuan Evans was a test lion in South Africa in 97 so definitely eligible.

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 10:36 am

maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???

Ieuan Evans was a test lion in South Africa in 97 so definitely eligible.

Was he?! My memory of that tour is very hazy!
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 10:44 am

The Oracle wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???

Ieuan Evans was a test lion in South Africa in 97 so definitely eligible.

Was he?! My memory of that tour is very hazy!
That’s ok

We Won

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 10:48 am

The team wot used to have little Shane in it was best.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 11:07 am

SecretFly wrote:The team wot used to have little Shane in it was best.

Various teams have achieved consistently good results in the pro era. Henry’s XV 1999, Ruddocks 2004-05, Gatlands opening 2008 team, Gatlands RWC 2011 team and not his 2018-19 eleven match unbeaten run.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 11:19 am

maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???

Ieuan Evans was a test lion in South Africa in 97 so definitely eligible.
While eligible the bulk of his career and certainly the best bits were in the amateur era. If looking purely at performances in the pro era, for me George North is better. I feel the decline in North's performances causes people to forget just how good he was.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 11:37 am

LondonTiger wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Yeah, I guess so. Difficult to look back in time though as we often remember the glory bits and ignore or forget their inadequacies.

I’d forgotten about some of those you picked, Maes. Byrne at FB - very good. Bateman too.

Was Ieuan Evans pro era??? Must have been in his way out by then (was pro 96 or 98 or something?).

I forgot Howley - surely has to be up there at 9???

Ieuan Evans was a test lion in South Africa in 97 so definitely eligible.
While eligible the bulk of his career and certainly the best bits were in the amateur era. If looking purely at performances in the pro era, for me George North is better. I feel the decline in North's performances causes people to forget just how good he was.

Decline in North’s performance over the last four years but he seems back to his best at the moment. Has had a great season at the Ospreys. More so we have to allow for the amount of competition for places there are in North’s position, such as he now doesn’t stand out quite so much as previously.

I thought Evans was still in great form in the early years of professionalism, beat the Boks with the lions and European cup champions with bath rfc in 98.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 11:52 am

Ieuan played just one test in SA in 97 and overall a 1/4 of his tests in the pro era. He was into his 30s at the onset of professionalism. Still a good player, but if we look just at his pro career I feel there were better performers for Wales.

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Post by robbo277 on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 6:56 pm

Team of the Millennium (due to age restrictions): Jenkins, Rees, A Jones, AW Jones, R Jones, Warburton, M Williams, Faletau, Peel, S Jones, S Williams, Henson, Shanklin, North, Halfpenny

Cheated a bit putting Ryan Jones and Warburton out of position, but I think this is about as good as I can do.

It's hard to put too many current players in (as I posted on the England thread, it's difficult to compare a good player who has achieved with a good player who could achieve) but Alun-Wyn, Faletau, North and Halfpenny have been around for a while and done it over a long period of time.

I'd say of the current crop who could make it would be Evans (maybe), Owens (probably), Tipuric (maybe), Webb (possibly if he moved back), J Davies (maybe) and L Williams (maybe).

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Post by miaow on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 7:30 pm

Think Robbo's spot on. Probably move Ryan Jones out of the second row. Have him competing with Tipuric for a flanker position. Between Gough and Charteris for the second second row position - Ian Evans should have made it put injury robbed him of development.

And Jon Davies for Shanklin. Liam Williams/Halfpenny is close - easier to compare at end of careers. Byrne and Kevin Morgan were brilliant but didn't do it at quite the same level as the current two.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 16 Feb 2019, 9:35 pm

Jenkins, Hibbard, Jones, Ryan Jones, AWJ, Warburton, Williams, Faletau, Phillips, Jones, Williams, Gibbs, JD2, Thomas, Halfpenny.

Maybe some controversial calls there at 9 and 15, but you have to appreciate the fact that both players helped redefine team Wales under Gatland. Also shifted some players to their 2nd best position so that I could fit our best into one team. Jones at 10 for his mainstay in the team througouhout his career. If anyone in your team isn’t a Lions player then they probably shouldn’t be in there.

The only others I feel I could squeeze in are Lee Byrne, Liam Williams, Jamie Roberts and Luke Charteris.

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Post by rodders on Mon 18 Feb 2019, 10:22 am

15 Liam Williams
14 North
13 J Davies
12 Henson
11 Shane Williams
10 Stephen Jones
9 Howley
8 Faletau
7 Martyn Williams
6 Ryan Jones
5 AWJ
4 Charteris
3 Jones
2 Owens
1 Jenkins
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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 18 Feb 2019, 10:40 am

How people can leave out players like Rob Howley, Garin Jenkins, Colin Charvis, is beyond me. This would be my team of the pro era:-

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Garin Jenkins
3. Adam Jones/ Dai Young
4. AWJ
5. Luke Charteris
6. Colin Jarvis
7. Sam Warburton
8. Scott Quinell
9. Rob Howley
10. Neil Jenkins
11. Shane Williams
12. Gareth Thomas
13. Gavin Henson
14. Ieuan Evans
15. Liam Williams/Lee Byrne

You can all pick the bones out of that one. Very Happy

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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 18 Feb 2019, 11:42 am

Also, special mentions to Scott Gibbs, Alan Bateman, Chris Wyatt, Jonathan Humphries, Martyn Williams, Dafydd James, Kevin Morgan, Tom Shanklin, Dwayne Peel, Brent Cockbain,  Robert Sidoli, Ryan Jones, Micheal Owen.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 18 Feb 2019, 12:04 pm

Looks like we universally agree that it is unlikely that this is the greatest ever welsh team despite their unbeaten run of games.


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