Six Nations round 4 Scotland vs Wales

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:09 pm

First topic message reminder :

Sat, 9 Mar, 14:15
Murrayfield Stadium

Scotland.

Kinghorn, Seymour, Grigg, Graham, Horne, Russell, Price; Dell, McInally, Nel, Gilchrist, Gray, Bradbury, Strauss, Ritchie.

Reps: Brown, Reid, Berghan, Toolis, Watson, Laidlaw, Hastings, McGuigan



Wales.

Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans., Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.



Referee Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Scotland v Wales is on BBC One


Last edited by maestegmafia on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 3:07 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:01 am

maestegmafia wrote:
munkian wrote:Lads, you are just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic Very Happy

Very funny but I’m not so confident, this could be a cracking game

To be fair they're reconstructing the titanic at the moment so our glory will come (in 2022... maybe)
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Post by Eejit on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:02 am

No surprises here but I broadly agree with Jimbo.

Though Before we start shifting round the back row I’d really like Price or Pyrgos to have an 80 minute shift to see how they run things. I’ve been hypercritical of Laidlaw over the past few years and he’s a useful head to have around but he really doesn’t suit the gameplan and there’s far too much pointing and too little doing. We need a 9 that can keep defences honest and Greeg isn’t that 9.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:08 am

jimbopip wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Bradbury was 2nd highest for tackles and carries I believe.


If I remember correctly, Bluto had the highest number of carries and he and Malcolm Bradbury added together made less than half the yardage Picamole made for France. Shocked

As ever with statistics (a) you can prove anything with them, (b) 47.8% of them are inaccurate or the product of faulty memory....still...

it would appear that our big-hitters were receiving the ball too close to the French defence and merely trucking the ball up to the next ruck rather than receiving it in space and galloping for the wide open prairies. I'm thinking back to when Bluto, JG and the Ruck Inspector were in the Warriors' pack: one way to create quick ball  would be to have a big carrier (Bluto) run close and narrow, hit the defender and go to ground, second row (JG) smashes over and next man (Ruck Inspector) picks up and smashes into the next defender. This gets you maybe two yards beyond the gain line but ties up defenders and if the ball is then moved quickly the defensive line is still trying to re-set. In order to succeed it relies on quick recycling, otherwise you are just going nowhere slowly. You also need a scrum half who is "nippy" rather than "ponderous".

So, maybe the problem with Bluto and Bradbury wasn't that they aren't big enough, or dynamic enough, to make yards in international rugby but had more to do with the type of runs they were being asked to make.


For Saturday, I would love the back row (plus replacement) to be Graham-Ritchie-Fagerson-Hamish. Certainly the Welsh gave a master-class in ball-retention against England and two 7's would go a long way to nullifying that threat. Also, Fagerson played 8 against Billy V and "had him on the ropes" for large periods.

In the backs, Scott Hastings is talking up Furra Linee-Smiling Sam as a centre pairing. It could work. Best put Stafford Of McDowell on the bench then.

Only benching? He already showed against the mighty Zebre he can floor anyone that stands in his way. The only rushing the Welsh defence would be doing is to let him through.

A Johnson-Furra centre pairing could work if the latter was on form. He's sadly quite far off the mark at the moment. I'd rather see either Grigg back (who I think did a reasonable job in France and works his nuts off) or Johnstone at 13. The only other person who could save our predicament at 13 is Richie V.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:08 am

jimbopip wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Bradbury was 2nd highest for tackles and carries I believe.


If I remember correctly, Bluto had the highest number of carries and he and Malcolm Bradbury added together made less than half the yardage Picamole made for France. Shocked

As ever with statistics (a) you can prove anything with them, (b) 47.8% of them are inaccurate or the product of faulty memory....still...

it would appear that our big-hitters were receiving the ball too close to the French defence and merely trucking the ball up to the next ruck rather than receiving it in space and galloping for the wide open prairies. I'm thinking back to when Bluto, JG and the Ruck Inspector were in the Warriors' pack: one way to create quick ball  would be to have a big carrier (Bluto) run close and narrow, hit the defender and go to ground, second row (JG) smashes over and next man (Ruck Inspector) picks up and smashes into the next defender. This gets you maybe two yards beyond the gain line but ties up defenders and if the ball is then moved quickly the defensive line is still trying to re-set. In order to succeed it relies on quick recycling, otherwise you are just going nowhere slowly. You also need a scrum half who is "nippy" rather than "ponderous".

So, maybe the problem with Bluto and Bradbury wasn't that they aren't big enough, or dynamic enough, to make yards in international rugby but had more to do with the type of runs they were being asked to make.


For Saturday, I would love the back row (plus replacement) to be Graham-Ritchie-Fagerson-Hamish. Certainly the Welsh gave a master-class in ball-retention against England and two 7's would go a long way to nullifying that threat. Also, Fagerson played 8 against Billy V and "had him on the ropes" for large periods.

In the backs, Scott Hastings is talking up Furra Linee-Smiling Sam as a centre pairing. It could work. Best put Stafford Of McDowell on the bench then.

Only benching? He already showed against the mighty Zebre he can floor anyone that stands in his way. The only rushing the Welsh defence would be doing is to let him through.

A Johnson-Furra centre pairing could work if the latter was on form. He's sadly quite far off the mark at the moment. I'd rather see either Grigg back (who I think did a reasonable job in France and works his nuts off) or Johnstone at 13. The only other person who could save our predicament at 13 is Richie V.
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Post by jimbopip on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:12 am

Neilly, the whisper is Furra Linee at 12 and Johnson shoved out to 13. mea culpa I should have been clearer. I think it all depends on whether the Tombola is set to "Must Win" or "Hmm, let's have a look".

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 11:21 am

jimbopip wrote:Neilly, the whisper is Furra Linee at 12 and Johnson shoved out to 13. mea culpa I should have been clearer. I think it all depends on whether the Tombola is set to "Must Win" or "Hmm, let's have a look".

That'd be a shame considering how much Toonie is talking about experimentation.

We know what Horne can and definitely can't achieve at 12. I've been his advocate in the past but this year he's just not quite cut it.

Keep Johnson in as he's settling in nicely and put an unknown outside him. I think it'd be a shame to debut Stafford out of position so bench probably would be a viable option.
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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 12:48 pm

Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans., Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.

Side named a day early.

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 12:55 pm

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/live-updates-wales-hold-press-15922648

As you read further and realise how many Ospreys and Scarlets players are in the squad you wonder how much the reset is going to effect the minds of our players

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Post by munkian on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:02 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
munkian wrote:Lads, you are just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic Very Happy

Very funny but I’m not so confident, this could be a cracking game

Joking I was ! Shocked
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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:08 pm

munkian wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
munkian wrote:Lads, you are just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic Very Happy

Very funny but I’m not so confident, this could be a cracking game

Joking I was ! Shocked

I know, unfortunately I wasn’t.

I’m hoping this will be a well remembered classic of a game

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Post by munkian on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:09 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
munkian wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
munkian wrote:Lads, you are just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic Very Happy

Very funny but I’m not so confident, this could be a cracking game

Joking I was ! Shocked

I know, unfortunately I wasn’t.

I’m hoping this will be a well remembered classic of a game

I'm just hoping we win, our players deserve it and may need the bonus payment !
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Post by tigertattie on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:10 pm

I thought it was the Dragons that the were looking to cut???

Merging the Os and the Scarlets will be a massive task in terms of culture and fan base. If they can pull it off though, it would be quite a well supported club with plenty resources and a decent player pool to choose from.
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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:12 pm

tigertattie wrote:I thought it was the Dragons that the were looking to cut???

Merging the Os and the Scarlets will be a massive task in terms of culture and fan base. If they can pull it off though, it would be quite a well supported club with plenty resources and a decent player pool to choose from.

Yes, it has been talked about since the start of regional rugby. Some of the current four regions will have to go to the new region up north too.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:31 pm

What are the thoughts on Hadleigh Parkes? He seems quite slow to me. Do Wales have injuries at centre or is he first choice now?

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Post by RDW on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:35 pm

Maitland and Harris ruled out. Bring on Darcy G!

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:40 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:What are the thoughts on Hadleigh Parkes? He seems quite slow to me. Do Wales have injuries at centre or is he first choice now?


He was/is first choice on merit based on his showings when Scarlets had those two very good seasons. Not so good this season, mirroring the Scarlets' form. But no-on has really been showing enough form to replace him. He's done a bit of a Jamie Roberts! i.e. come in, look good, make the shirt your own, and then get picked repeatedly because of a lack of alternative options. Owen Watkin looks good but is still relatively youthful - one for the future. Scott Williams has dropped off a long way, and his move to the Ospreys hasn't helped him get back up to the heights of a few years ago when he was a Scarlet. Beyond that the cupboard is a bit bare at 12.
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Post by 123456789. on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:43 pm

It seems a weird two to merge to me. My Welsh geography is terrible so I can't factor that in. However they seem the two most successful of the Welsh professional teams. Both of them have had bloody good teams. Although if they merged they'd be a serious, serious force.

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Post by The Oracle on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 1:49 pm

123456789. wrote:It seems a weird two to merge to me. My Welsh geography is terrible so I can't factor that in. However they seem the two most successful of the Welsh professional teams. Both of them have had bloody good teams. Although if they merged they'd be a serious, serious force.

If they were to keep all of their top players. Which I doubt. They won't be pooling the resources of both to double up on funding. Rather, they'll be using some of the funding to improve the funding of the 1 merged team compared to what it is and then the rest will be diverted to the other fully funded team (Blues), and funds to help set up the North Wales team. That's my impression of a 2+2 model.

Should still on paper be better than each is currently.
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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:38 pm

Rumour has it that the north Wales region is something of a 'threat'/desperate back-up to the current regions: if things aren't sorted, an RGC pro region will be created, with funding from the Welsh Assembly to the tune of some £12m.

The issue with the Dragons is they're owned by the WRU and are basically non-competitive as a region. They do, however, produce a few Welsh internationals, are redeveloping their ground, and in theory have the basis of a decent region. Still, as I think discussed on another thread, in comparison to the Edinburgh-Glasgow divide in Scotland, and population density and proximity of cities, Newport is far too close/not distinct enough from Cardiff to be an East Wales region if Cardiff is the South Wales region. They're 20 minutes apart.

The issue with the Ospreys is they are finanically finished. The benefactors have gone and there's no more money - they've gone to the WRU, who offered them a merger with the Blues which was turned down. Now the merger is with the Scarlets, which makes sense in a lot of ways, but also is a hamfisted, stupid decision in a lot of other ways.

The Blues have the potential to be the 'biggest' region, in that they're in the capital city and could have tapped into the potential of Cardiff's regeneration over the last 20 years, as well as the wider region including the Valleys, but they haven't been able to. Also a really badly run region with delusions of grandeur, even with Peter's Pies having left. Doing alright on the field though, for the first time since Dai Young left.

The Scarlets are the only region being run 'well' in that they don't have financial troubles, the debt was taken on by the board in exchange for shares, I believe. However, still completely reliant on WRU money as well, so although better than the other 3 by far, not exactly stable.

The north Wales region is still years away from being viable. If they introduce it this year or next it will be out of desperation and/or due to pressure/incentives from the WAG. It is still a football-centric part of the world and rugby is distinctly second best.

Also, the club game has been decimated and regional rugby clearly hasn't worked. The 'rugby mad' South hasn't taken to regional rugby - whether that's the lack of identification with a region v traditional town/village clubs, or the Valleys issue with Celtic Warriors being 'merged' with the Blues. It only took a generation or two to rip the guts out of club rugby but as far as I can tell the passion that still exists in terms of really caring about your rugby team winning exists far below the standard required to push the pro game on in the South. Regional rugby hasn't captured 'hearts and minds'. Any merger between the Scarlets and Ospreys would result in a similar sort of hostility the Valleys have to the Blues (are they still Cardiff Blues?) and, particularly in Llanelli, if the identity of both regions is 'lost' some big fans will simply never support the new region, for the sake of identity.

The Scarlets are, controversially, still by and large a continuation of Llanelli-the-club as it was. It's the opposite of the Ospreys in that it is, effectively, a 'bad' region in the sense of representation: yet that has also helped its fanbase as well, not just in West Wales, but also when playing cross-border games. The other Pro14 and English clubs know the history and 'romance' they're up against and, however unfair it was on the rest of Wales, by keeping Llanelli going in regional form it has actually helped their survival because of the passion and identity to strive to make it work financially. However, they've also done a good job at reaching out to the wider region - which used to include the north and playing games in Wrexham - and slowly moving towards being more regional, dropping Llanelli from the name etc. but there's no mistake that it is a Llanelli-centric region, if not quite as badly as the Blues is for Cardiff. So in some ways, the worst 'start' has resulted in the best current set-up in the regions: which shouldn't be ignored! This doesn't just happen on paper: reality counts.

The Ospreys' issues, however, are strange. As the 'one true region', they are the most successful Welsh team since 03 on the field, and in the mid to late 00s had large crowds for most games in a new stadium. That is no longer the case and you can find plenty of answers for that - from the lack of money ruining the on pitch 'product', to the novelty of regional rugby wearing off, to (and this is a big one) Swansea City getting to the Premier League. Which is why I think a north Wales region is doomed unless it's basially a development region. The clamour is hardly there to expand RGC, who have done well and should continue to grow. Wrexham football club is finally showing green shoots of recovering after 15 years or so being useless. Football is still #1 in the north and, even then, it's not as if it's clear where this region would be based.

North Wales is a big area. Wrexham is an hour away from Colwyn Bay. It's also not the easiest place to travel around, particularly in winter. I fully support a north Wales region at some point, but not now, and not in this way. The key things it has going for it is the fact there is talent/desire in north Wales and by pushing rugby up there, you might expand the game quite quickly. But I would have thought RGC could/are doing this already. It also has decent access to Universities and the prospect of pairing up with the sports science/student bodies there can help: not just Bangor, but Aberystwyth, too. The next point, then, is to include parts of mid Wales in this region as well as they're not well represented by regional rugby as it is either. Dan Lydiate is the only player I can think of to have come from Powys. Again, poor infrastructure as it's so rural, but it's not that different to the issues the north will face. You can make the case that the Dragons should/do represent some of mid Wales but, again, they're a mess and I doubt they're making the most of it. But making all of that work is 1. logistically very hard and 2. still a big risk to take and not necessarily feasible at the moment.

All told, though, what a time to be having these problems! Not just going for the Grand Slam as they are, but also in a RWC year.

Depending on what happens with the global season, 6 regions makes sense to me: 3 in a lower tier of cross-border competition (north, Dragons, Valleys) and then the bigger 3 vying for the top or second tiers (Scarlets, Ospreys, Blues). Relegation/promotion rewards or punishes achievement. Basically, whatever the A league is doing atm could be the level for the lower tier: maybe they're playing against the best Romanian or Georgian clubs, a few Italians, and some lower league French teams etc. I don't really know. Or maybe that is what will happen with the 2+2 model - you can't really create the Ospreys once they're folded, however, and in that case I think a Valleys region would be unlikely as well. So if the Ospreys go, that's it. 3 regions in the South, maybe eventually 2.

The fact is, with the Ospreys basically untenable as a business, if they can absorbed by the Scarlets in terms of representative region and clubs, that could work. The issue is how many fans will travel out of or beyond Swansea to watch their team: how many will come from Bridgend, for instance? Regions are a nice idea but - not to overdo the point here - simply cutting places up according to a map hasn't worked wherever it's been tried, whether that's in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East...or South Wales!

Ultimately, I don't think a north Wales region will happen this season. But it could happen for 20/21 - the Ospreys might be taken over by the WRU and then effectively managed into decline/a merger with the Scarlets, whilst the northern region is created with the help of Assembly money. Which will be a mess: it's not a case of 'oh great, AWJ and Tipuric for the Scarlets!'.

As I said earlier, I think the people managing  Scottish rugby have done a pretty good job...


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Post by LordDowlais on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:40 pm

With the turmoil surrounding Welsh rugby at the moment, it could be a great chance for Scotland to get a win. Crying or Very sad

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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:44 pm

Definitely. It's hard to quantify the impact but, honestly, I think everyone can appreciate how job/security worries impact on a person - and surely that's true for pro athletes.

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Post by jimbopip on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:52 pm

Hmm, but if they are "playing for their jobs" it could have a positive effect ob their performances.

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Post by Afro on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:56 pm

From my (albeit limited) past experience of the regions and attracting supporters, it will come down to success.

I have lived and worked in the South East of Wales for about 15-20 years. Pre-regions, then it was very much a case of following your local club side, but following the regionalisation, a lot of friends/colleagues/acquiantances I know locally in the past have chose to travel to Swansea and follow Ospreys due to their relative success. They subsequently established an emotional attachment to them and stuck with them.

The obvious geographical choice now would be Dragons, and then at not much of a push, the Blues, but it was not geography that has been main factor but watching a successful side.
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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:05 pm

Exactly. Could say the preparation for the England game was aided by the uncertainity - a short term way of putting nervous energies into something positive etc. As I say, hard to quantify player by player, and almost pointless: but I'd say it's more likely a negative than a positive, for sure.

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:06 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:What are the thoughts on Hadleigh Parkes? He seems quite slow to me. Do Wales have injuries at centre or is he first choice now?


He was/is first choice on merit based on his showings when Scarlets had those two very good seasons.  Not so good this season, mirroring the Scarlets' form.  But no-on has really been showing enough form to replace him.  He's done a bit of a Jamie Roberts!  i.e. come in, look good, make the shirt your own, and then get picked repeatedly because of a lack of alternative options.  Owen Watkin looks good but is still relatively youthful - one for the future.  Scott Williams has dropped off a long way, and his move to the Ospreys hasn't helped him get back up to the heights of a few years ago when he was a Scarlet.  Beyond that the cupboard is a bit bare at 12.

Scott Williams has looked very good at times this season but has been plagued with injuries, he’s out for the six nations but hopefully on form for the RWC.

I like Watkin great player, I like Owen Williams too

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:10 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:What are the thoughts on Hadleigh Parkes? He seems quite slow to me. Do Wales have injuries at centre or is he first choice now?


He was/is first choice on merit based on his showings when Scarlets had those two very good seasons.  Not so good this season, mirroring the Scarlets' form.  But no-on has really been showing enough form to replace him.  He's done a bit of a Jamie Roberts!  i.e. come in, look good, make the shirt your own, and then get picked repeatedly because of a lack of alternative options.  Owen Watkin looks good but is still relatively youthful - one for the future.  Scott Williams has dropped off a long way, and his move to the Ospreys hasn't helped him get back up to the heights of a few years ago when he was a Scarlet.  Beyond that the cupboard is a bit bare at 12.

Scott Williams has looked very good at times this season but has been plagued with injuries, he’s out for the six nations but hopefully on form for the RWC.

I like Watkin great player, I like Owen Williams too


If that is the Owen Williams at Gloucester, then his form is so far below what is needed by an international team of Italy's standard let alone Wales. I saw nothing at Tigers to suggest that he is anything more than a decent club player.

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:18 pm

It's all a bit of a head feck for the Welsh players right now. Along with the stupid decision by World Rugby to announce the much disliked "world league"

It can go one of two ways. Either spur the Welsh players to play out of their skin to put themselves in the shop window, or they could find it effects their focus and preparation which leads to them struggling.

What will irk me, but will only be an irritation as opposed to some poor bugger possibly losing his/her job (the support staff must be caught up in all this too), will be if Scotland finally click, play well, beat Wales but then it's played down as Wales only lost because they were distracted.

Its a big IF anyway!
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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:21 pm

Afro wrote:From my (albeit limited) past experience of the regions and attracting supporters, it will come down to success.

I have lived and worked in the South East of Wales for about 15-20 years. Pre-regions, then it was very much a case of following your local club side, but following the regionalisation, a lot of friends/colleagues/acquiantances I know locally in the past have chose to travel to Swansea and follow Ospreys due to their relative success. They subsequently established an emotional attachment to them and stuck with them.

The obvious geographical choice now would be Dragons, and then at not much of a push, the Blues, but it was not geography that has been main factor but watching a successful side.

Very interesting point - I completely agree about success attracting fans etc.

The best example of a rugby club drawing in fans through success is Exeter. Cornish fans travelling for hours to get to the east of Devon for a 2pm kick off or whatever: that's a sign of desire and commitment to support a successful community club that has done wonders for the South West of England. You can compare the Scarlets here and say Pembrokeshire is Wales' Cornwall...but only to a point. Llanelli are a far bigger and better club than Exeter were. There's also a big population difference (and this is also key) between Devon/Cornwall and Pembrokeshire/Carmarthenshire. The other issue is if Bath moved West to be within 30 mins of Exeter: how would that impact on them as a club? Probably quite badly - and that's the situation Wales has with the regions. 4 should probably have been 2...but then you have the identity issues to discuss.

The wider point which I think is interesting is Wales' traditional strength was parochial rivalries. Basically, village v village, town v town. Regional rugby cannot, by definition, develop on that. I get the sense there is a wierd trend of localism (the good kind) basically dying in favour of everything being a satellite, commuter town or ex-urbia of a city. Even larger towns are dying as young people leave asap to move into cities across Britain and identification with grassroots rugby is falling as a result: not only are fans no longer going, but players aren't playing, and it's then a cyclical decline of an aging fanbase and a failing playing squad.

It's why I think the Scottish system works and will continue to grow: but getting rid of the Swansea region, which in effect what it is to the casual fans you mention, is madness in this sense. The very fabric of the game in Wales is dying and without a similar strong school-based system England, Scotland, and the poshers parts of Ireland has, the gap between the club game and the pro game will continue to grow, which I think means rugby eventually dies/needs to be completely overhauled.

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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:23 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:What are the thoughts on Hadleigh Parkes? He seems quite slow to me. Do Wales have injuries at centre or is he first choice now?


He was/is first choice on merit based on his showings when Scarlets had those two very good seasons.  Not so good this season, mirroring the Scarlets' form.  But no-on has really been showing enough form to replace him.  He's done a bit of a Jamie Roberts!  i.e. come in, look good, make the shirt your own, and then get picked repeatedly because of a lack of alternative options.  Owen Watkin looks good but is still relatively youthful - one for the future.  Scott Williams has dropped off a long way, and his move to the Ospreys hasn't helped him get back up to the heights of a few years ago when he was a Scarlet.  Beyond that the cupboard is a bit bare at 12.

Scott Williams has looked very good at times this season but has been plagued with injuries, he’s out for the six nations but hopefully on form for the RWC.

I like Watkin great player, I like Owen Williams too


If that is the Owen Williams at Gloucester, then his form is so far below what is needed by an international team of Italy's standard let alone Wales. I saw nothing at Tigers to suggest that he is anything more than a decent club player.

Agreed. He played briefly at the Scarlets and looked like a poor man's James Hook (of later vintage, not in his early years) - slow, ponderous, sat too deep, was a poor/lazy distributor, not taking it to the line before shipping it on. The media has made him a better player than he ever could be because he left when on the brink of possibly breaking into the Scarlet's first XV, and Wales desperately needed a 10-12 alternative to Priestland/Biggar-Roberts. Would be good to see him back in Wales though: the English clubs will treat him like meat, whereas a region might actually develop him with a view to Welsh representation. Don't think he's a very good player, but you never know.

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Post by bsando on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:30 pm

Had a wee look at some stats so far from this 6N.

Scotland topping Lineouts won, 2nd for meters, top for passes, 2nd for tackles and have conceded least turnovers. However, Scotland also top for Penalties conceded (30, 1 ahead of Italy) and top for missed tackles (87).

Wales have least tackles missed, least penalties conceded, 2nd for turnovers won (1 behind England, 3 ahead of Scotland). However they’re 5th for defenders beaten, last for clean breaks, 2nd last for passes, 2nd most turnovers conceded, last for successful lineouts.

Just from a quick glance at the stats you can see what both sides could improve on for Sat. Scotland have to stop bleeding dumb penalties and most importantly, missing tackles. They will also have a huge task in breaking down the Welsh defence. Wales need to stop conceding turnovers and try and fix their lineout a bit.

Scotland and Wales share one stat which is 0 lineouts stolen. So perhaps Scotland could look to compete against the Welsh lineout on Saturday despite usually opting not to.

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Post by RDW on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:39 pm

Surprised by the lineouts stats - we must have had a lot of lineouts this tournament as we've messed up plenty too. I certainly wouldn't say it's been a strength.

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Post by bsando on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 4:52 pm

RDW wrote:Surprised by the lineouts stats - we must have had a lot of lineouts this tournament as we've messed up plenty too. I certainly wouldn't say it's been a strength.

Yeah that was my thoughts as well! I think Scotland have developed a tendancy to bottle the important ones this 6N.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 5:01 pm

So Maitland and Harris both out of the weekend game with injuries from playing last weekend.

Well I imagine that guarantees a start for Graham (minor) and maybe a reprieve for Seymour, or a start for McGuigan as well. I don't actually have a problem with McGuigan playing, he has been playing well for sale all season and keeping some big names out of the team and I weas there when he had his stellar game against Australia last autumn, he is no bad replacement.

It also means that we will surely see Stafford of McDowell either starting or on the bench, probably the latter, with a Horne/Johnson combo to kick us off.

It is still a decent enough backline, even if a little light on experience.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 5:15 pm

BigGee wrote:So Maitland and Harris both out of the weekend game with injuries from playing last weekend.

Well I imagine that guarantees a start for Graham (minor) and maybe a reprieve for Seymour, or a start for McGuigan as well. I don't actually have a problem with McGuigan playing, he has been playing well for sale all season and keeping some big names out of the team and I weas there when he had his stellar game against Australia last autumn, he is no bad replacement.

It also means that we will surely see Stafford of McDowell either starting or on the bench, probably the latter, with a Horne/Johnson combo to kick us off.

It is still a decent enough backline, even if a little light on experience.

Or a toonbola thrown in, Kyle Steyn starts in centre. Shocked
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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:18 pm

123456789. wrote:
miaow wrote:Nonsense on the issues of Scottish depth. Scotland's centre depth, for instance, is incredible - Wales would kill for it. Might be echoing this if Parkes gets the runaround on Saturday! The concentration of two quality teams has clearly improved them, and add in 'overseas' players, depth isn't the issue. A strong tight 5 and Scotland would be up there with Eng/Ire/Wal in every sense.

Obviously mikey's a Dragons fan, but sad indictment at the weekend with them conceding the match deciding try when facing 13 players having just scored a try themselves. Wales' problems are not just an on-field issue, and not just a Dragons issue, but we need to shake-up the pro game and, tbf, Scotland seem to have done a good job on the off-field stuff in the last 6-7 years/whenever the new people came in and said they wanted to win a RWC.

Interested in your take on our Centre Depth:
At 12 we have:
Dunbar (knackered)
Taylor (injured)
Horne (iffy at international level)
Johnson (new)
Scott (injured potentially knackered)
McDowall (very new, practically embryonic)

At 13 we have:
Jones (quality on his day, up with the best in the world, not been his day for a wee while, injured)
Bennett (see above but not quite as good and not injured anymore)
Taylor (injured)
Grigg (iffy at international level)
Harris (iffier at international level)

I'm not sure it's as good as you think. If Jamie Roberts was Scottish I'd wager he'd still be in the mix.

Not so nonsensical thEn eh? There’s no doubt that focusing on just two teams in Scotland has improved Glasgow, who are able to field a good XV throughout the year. Edinburgh are good now too but that’s only come with new coach and non-Scottish players who can also play throughout the year. It doesn’t seem like it’s good for building depth for the international team though, and results prove that (Fiji, USA, France). The injuries sustained to the Scotland team this year have prevented them from getting consistency in their performances. I think they’ll improve this weekend with the introduction of certain players but I rate our form as better; history also shows that we’re good at chasing a title when it’s within reach Smile.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:19 pm

I didn’t expect Gatland to change the team much, but this should have been a game for Watkin. Aled shouldn’t still be near this 23.

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:40 pm

When is Townsend anointing the Scotland team?

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Post by George Carlin on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 6:05 am

RDW wrote:Maitland and Harris ruled out. Bring on Darcy G!
Come the time, cometh the pint-sized, Shane Williams impersonator.
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Post by RDW on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:36 am

How much do we think the behind this scenes issues will actually affect the players? It is certainly bad timing and I'm sure it will be on their minds, but these are really professional guys who are living in the international bubble just now, so I would be surprised if it makes too much of a difference to their performance.

It would be different if say the Ospreys were about to play a Challenge Cup quarter final or something like that, but they are ensconced in Wales camp just now. If anything it could act as a backs to the wall, siege mentality too. I can see Wales coming into this game in good mentality.

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Post by bsando on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:58 am

Think they won't be affected at all and like you say, will just add that fuel to the already roaring coal fire furnace of the Welsh Hype train (referencing Glove39's entertaining series). Watson said he doubts they'll be distracted in an interview with the offside line. There's been a lot of big talk from Welsh pundits and ex-players but the team themselves seem very grounded to me.

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Post by bsando on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:01 am

maestegmafia wrote:When is Townsend anointing the Scotland team?

Last time it was around 10am on Thursday

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Post by miaow on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:02 am

Hard to say how it affects each player. If your contract is up for renewal - as many are - then that will be a worry. If you're a senior player, like AWJ or Ken, then that's an extra worry/burden in the week as you're taking on a pastoral role in many ways. Also think they have official titles/roles in some of these players' unions etc. too, so it's not just symbolic pressure. If you're a youngster/younger player like Dillon Lewis or Wainwright, then that's an extra layer of pressure when trying to break into the starting XV, but I'd say it's probably easier for them to 'switch off'/focus on the game ahead that it might be for a senior player. The fact it's a squad-wide issue, rather than individual players having English/French clubs coming in with offers for them, probably helps though: siege mentality as you say, but also very practical, helpful discussions/attitudes set out by management to minimise disruption and mental pressure. Ultimately, no-one knows the temperament of individual players from an outside fans' perspective. Pointless to speculate with any seriousness, really.

Coming out and naming the team early is interesting. Not just media management/distraction - but also a playing issue. Gives stability in a week where there is very little of it, rewards the team from the last game - very Gatlandesque in that sense. But it does help Scotland know what's coming as well. Some last minute tweaks of their gameplan aren't out of the question, particularly at lineout time with Beard coming in.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:10 am

bsando wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:When is Townsend anointing the Scotland team?

Last time it was around 10am on Thursday

Cheers

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Post by BigGee on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:39 am

To be fair, there was never to much doubt about the Welsh team

Gets was never going to change a team who put in a performance like they did again st England. It just means he will have some very hungry players coming off the bench again

You would imagine he likes that scenario

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Post by tigertattie on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:41 am

maestegmafia wrote:
bsando wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:When is Townsend anointing the Scotland team?

Last time it was around 10am on Thursday

Cheers

Don't get carried away though, Toonie has a habbit of being unpredictable so don't be surpsied if he names the team on Sunday instead!
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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:13 am

tigertattie wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
bsando wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:When is Townsend anointing the Scotland team?

Last time it was around 10am on Thursday

Cheers

Don't get carried away though, Toonie has a habbit of being unpredictable so don't be surpsied if he names the team on Sunday instead!

I thought retrospective team selection was the job of the 606 coaching team. Let's face it, if the forum teams had been selected and the collective strategies executed we would be world champions and on a 50 game winning streak.
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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:15 am

BigGee wrote:To be fair, there was never to much doubt about the Welsh team

Gets was never going to change a team who put in a performance like they did again st England. It just means he will have some very hungry players coming off the bench again

You would imagine he likes that scenario

Aye I agree but as you can read in the post on this in the club rugby section the fans are pretty worried and that will be multiplied for the players.

Hopefully the players can put this out of their minds for the next two weekends. To be fair I don’t think the press are helping to do anything but stoke the flames for fans and players

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Post by munkian on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:19 am

I'm hoping it will galvanise the team, most of the squad's futures are secure and this gives them something they can control.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:42 am

The Welsh are better equipped to deal with psychological setbacks. They seem to respond more often than accept defeat. I certainly don't think they'd let the WRU politics impact their mindset towards the game.

I'd argue Scotland come into this game with a lot more baggage but I think if Toonie picks a young team that wants to play positively, the nothing-to-lose mentality may make it an interesting game. If he goes for the win at all costs selection then I can see it being extremely ropey and Scotland probably losing.
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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:59 am

RDW wrote:How much do we think the behind this scenes issues will actually affect the players? It is certainly bad timing and I'm sure it will be on their minds, but these are really professional guys who are living in the international bubble just now, so I would be surprised if it makes too much of a difference to their performance.

It would be different if say the Ospreys were about to play a Challenge Cup quarter final or something like that, but they are ensconced in Wales camp just now. If anything it could act as a backs to the wall, siege mentality too. I can see Wales coming into this game in good mentality.

How many of the Welsh players who will play Internationally would actually be worried about their jobs? I can imagine players on the fringes of the regional teams getting twitchy. But even below the Ken Owens/Alun Wyn Jones level, would a player like Adam Beard be worried about his future? He's an International player, there will be a region to go to or he could move to England or France and command a possibly higher salary.

Yes, there is a period of uncertainty, and it may be at the back of their minds. But the 23 players playing would be able to get into pretty much any squad in Europe, so would that assuage their worries at all?

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