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Where do Wales have strength in depth?

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bedfordwelsh
LondonTiger
slartibartfast
Shifty
welsh-matfield
Ospreydragon
Knowsit17
wales606
TycroesOsprey
Liam
sugarNspikes
maestegmafia
kiakahaaotearoa
welshy6
Biltong
grandoslammo
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Where do Wales have strength in depth? Empty Where do Wales have strength in depth?

Post by grandoslammo Wed 30 May 2012, 11:04 am

By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.

This is where I think we HAVE and DON'T HAVE strength in depth.

STRENGTH IN DEPTH:

Full backs: Halfpenny, Byrne & Hook .

Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny have both excelled in this position, but for many different reasons. James Hook seems to play well whenever he's put there. It's great to have 2 players on form, but with different skill sets that will suit different opposition. Byrne is on fire for Clermont and Halfpenny was instrumental in helping Wales win the Six Nations.

Centres: Jon Davies, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams & James Hook.

Davies & Roberts excelled during the Six Nations and Scott Williams has stepped up to the mark whenever the call has come. Hook has had some genius performances in the centre, but has also had some right clangers with interceptions and poor tackles, but he is still a credible option as a centre.

Fly Half: Priestland, Jones & Hook:

Yep James Hook popping up again but a testament to how versatile and talented he is. Priestland instrumental in the world cup, not the best Six Nations, but he's relatively new to Wales. We know Jones brings to the table despite being 57 years old and James Hook was very important in helping Wales win the slam in 2008 as a 10.

Back Row: Warburton, Lydiate, Faletau, Ryan Jones, Tipuric, Shingler & Powell.

No descriptions needed here. Spoilt for choice.

Locks: Alun-wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Bradley Davies & Luke Charteris.

Lots and lots and lots of lovely locks and all have played well recently.

Hookers: Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett, Ken Owens & Richard Hibbard plus many many more...

Wales currently has more hookers than Bute town and all are pretty good.

NO STRENGTH IN DEPTH:

Wings: North & Cuthbert & Halfpenny.

The only regular selection at wing for Wales for 11 years was Shane Williams. Alfie played various positions and everyone else came and went without really cementing a place or putting in a memorable performance. I had big hopes for Rhys Williams, flashes of brilliance but injury plagued. Halfpenny is definitely better as a wing and I thought had it cemented. He isn't as good in the air as Byrne so it leaves a lot to be desired. Since Williams retiring we have found 2 outstanding replacements, but if one of those gets injured, everyone else is quite far behind. Look forward to seeing Willem Johannes "Dai" Dirksen in 2014. That boy is going to be big.

Scrum Half: Mike Phillips.

Volatile, alcoholic, crazy, loud mouthed, opinionated, strong, brutal, never say die, genius. Phillips is our best 9 since Edwards. There is a lot of good talent out there but nothing close. When we don't have Phillips we are a different team.

Props: Things not so bad in the loosehead, but after Melon and Paul James we look open to abuse and inexperienced. Adam Jones is the Shane Williams of the front row world. Best in a generation and probably irreplaceable. When he is injured our scrum becomes average. Wales must invest heavily in finding future stars in this position.

WALES LONG TERM PLAN: If Wales want strength and want to beat SH teams more than once every 10 years. They must find 2 more brutal wings, 2 more monster scrum halfs, 1 or 2 class looseheads and 1 or 2 class tightheads. The other positions are looking rosy at present and there is plenty more youth in the mix. The Ospreys just won the league with toddlers and they claim to have more good youngsters coming through so lets wait and see.


Last edited by grandoslammo on Wed 30 May 2012, 11:08 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Biltong Wed 30 May 2012, 11:05 am

Once again. Where do Wales have strength in depth? Idunno10
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Post by Biltong Wed 30 May 2012, 11:06 am

Would you not classify Hook, Jones and Halfpenny more as utility backs?

In my view they can cover a number of positions each.
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Post by grandoslammo Wed 30 May 2012, 11:09 am

biltongbek wrote:Would you not classify Hook, Jones and Halfpenny more as utility backs?

In my view they can cover a number of positions each.

They are only utility backs because they are adaptable. They still excel in one position better than the rest.

Halfpenny is best as a wing. Jones and Hook are better as 10's.

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Post by Biltong Wed 30 May 2012, 11:14 am

I accept that, but when you look at the philosophy of Deans with australia, you could effectively break their backline down into two groups.

Those who are footballers - they can run, kick, distribute well etc.
Those who are runners - Devastating attackers.

Now you take a guy like Beale, he can play 10 and 15, and is equally effective, but most likely seen as a 15.

O'Connor, he can play 10, 12, 14, and probably 15 as well.

Ioane can play wing and centre.

These are valuable assets in any squad.

So even when a coach doesn't have 3 or 4 top quality players in every position, these utility backs make up for those short comings.


Last edited by biltongbek on Wed 30 May 2012, 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by welshy6 Wed 30 May 2012, 11:14 am

I think you have missed out a few mate
While not internationally proven I believe both beck, webb and biggar can make the step up to international level.
Also Andrew bishop has also been steady if not flashy playing for Wales.
Then halfpenny can cover wing
Aled brew has never been terrible in a welsh match and maybe just tries to hard to impress.
Loosehead there is also gill who was impressive in the 6n and bevington has done ok
Tighthead is a weak point but Mitchell has done an ample job in the past.
Sh, like stated previously Webb, knoyle pre injury was also very good and I do think Lloyd williams isint too bad either

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Wed 30 May 2012, 1:08 pm

Wales have the most strength in talking themselves up. On their day they can talk their team up over any other team in world rugby. Hug

Only messing with you. There is a nice mix of young talent and experience for Wales right now but I agree and disagree with you on the areas where Wales look thin. Flyhalf, despite your claim, seems inconsistent at best. Any mention of Hook is ruled out as he has become lost in the revolver door of Wales selection policy for him I'm afraid. Jones has dropped off the map and Priestland has been a bit like a local fair rollercoaster. A little up and down for me.

Wing and halfback do seem thin for cover. But really in general terms there is much to like about Wales' depth at the moment.

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Post by maestegmafia Wed 30 May 2012, 9:11 pm

Loosehead is really strong. Gethin, james, Bevington. That is stronger than any other home nation.

Hooker looks great, Lock looks great too.

Good backrows, lydia, Faletau and warns are choice but there are some top lads chasing for their shirts.

Scrum half plenty of young guys going for Phillips spot. Gareth Davies, tavis Knoyle, Rhys Webb, Lloyd Williams as well as young lads like Habberfield and rhodri Williams and jon evans coming through well.

Biggar, Priestland and Tovey all good tens. Plus youngsters like Morgan Jordan Williams and Steffano jones all waiting for a go

Jd2 Roberts Williams warren And beck

North, cuthbert, robinson, brew. Luke Morgan looks good too.

Byrne halfpenny Williams

Utility backs like hook with two rwcs multi positional and fifty ish caps while still in his mid twenties.

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Post by sugarNspikes Wed 30 May 2012, 9:15 pm

grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.
maesteg, read the OP properly mate. It's about strength there now, not just potential. Also, disagree with your comment on looseheads.

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Post by maestegmafia Wed 30 May 2012, 9:20 pm

sugarNspikes wrote:
grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.
maesteg, read the OP properly mate. It's about strength there now, not just potential. Also, disagree with your comment on looseheads.

Sugar/safeasmilk/cyril

You thought Wales would come forth in the six nations and not qualify for the RWC quarter finals.

Your thoughts on welsh rugby are well noted. Why post about it...? Do you think any of us take your views as anything other than inane and relentlessly pointless trolling?

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Post by sugarNspikes Wed 30 May 2012, 9:23 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
sugarNspikes wrote:
grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.
maesteg, read the OP properly mate. It's about strength there now, not just potential. Also, disagree with your comment on looseheads.

Sugar/safeasmilk/cyril

You thought Wales would come forth in the six nations and not qualify for the RWC quarter finals.

Your thoughts on welsh rugby are well noted. Why post about it...? Do you think any of us take your views as anything other than inane and relentlessly pointless trolling?
Eh? I just made a suggestion about what the OP was discussing. It's got nothing to do with my predictions about anything. Why are you being so aggressive.

It's discussion mate. Oh, and I do agree, that in some areas Welsh strength in depth is improving.


Last edited by sugarNspikes on Wed 30 May 2012, 9:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Liam Wed 30 May 2012, 9:23 pm

I wouldn't say Phillips is the best scrum half since Edwards, Howley and Jones much better imo, but Phillips is a superb player no doubt.

I feel you have missed out a few names as people have pointed out, such as the scrum halfs, beck in the centre and williams at fb.

I agree with the basis of your point, for the first time in a long time we have genuine strength in depth, with each player that can come in possessing the quality needed at international level.

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Post by Liam Wed 30 May 2012, 9:25 pm

maestegmafia wrote:Loosehead is really strong. Gethin, james, Bevington. That is stronger than any other home nation.

Don't forget Gill also, superb player. Plus hopefully Mitchell can get some game time after playing well for Exeter last season.

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Post by maestegmafia Wed 30 May 2012, 9:29 pm

Gill is a great back up too. Very strong.

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Post by TycroesOsprey Wed 30 May 2012, 9:56 pm

The only position we dont have strength in depth is tighthead where we only have Adam and Mitchell. Other than that we have at least three of four players in each position who can come in and thats without accounting for all of the players who can play in a multitude of positions, like Hook, Ryan, Halfpenny, Shingler A, James, McCusker, Roberts. Our strength in depth is fine except at no 3.

1. Gethin, James, Gill, Bevvington
2. Owens, Rees, Bennett, Hibbard
3. Adam, Mitchell,
4. Bradley, Ianto, Day
5. Charts, AWJ, Read
6. Lydiate, Ryan, Shingler, McCusker
7. Warbs, Tipuric, Turnbull
8. Faletau, Powell, Delve,
9. Mikey, Lloyd, Webb, Gareth Davies even Peel or Rees
10. Priestland, Biggar, Hook, Tovey
11. North, Robinson, Harris
12. Beck, Roberts, Hewitt, Shingler
13. Scott W, JD, Bishop
14. Cuthbert, Brew, James
15. Halfpenny, Byrne, Williams, Fussell

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Post by Biltong Wed 30 May 2012, 10:34 pm

sugarNspikes wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
sugarNspikes wrote:
grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.
maesteg, read the OP properly mate. It's about strength there now, not just potential. Also, disagree with your comment on looseheads.

Sugar/safeasmilk/cyril

You thought Wales would come forth in the six nations and not qualify for the RWC quarter finals.

Your thoughts on welsh rugby are well noted. Why post about it...? Do you think any of us take your views as anything other than inane and relentlessly pointless trolling?
Eh? I just made a suggestion about what the OP was discussing. It's got nothing to do with my predictions about anything. Why are you being so aggressive.

It's discussion mate. Oh, and I do agree, that in some areas Welsh strength in depth is improving.
Maesteg and sugarNspikes, is it at all possible that the two of you can occupy the same cyberspace without getting up each other's noses?

If you cannot comment on each others posts with maturity then rather leave one another's opinions alone.

Maesteg this is enough now.

Gentlemen let this go.
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Post by wales606 Wed 30 May 2012, 11:51 pm

The problem will come when you remove some of the older player.

Hopefully Gethin and Adam will still be going strong at the next WC.

But there will likely be no Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett, Lee Byrne, Stephen Jones, Luke Charteris, R.Jones (though he appears to be able to play like a 20yr old)

All of those players will need to find replacements if we are to continue to have depth at the next WC.




At LHP, we will have Gethin (fingers crossed), Gill, Bevington, Rh.Jones and maybe Paul James around at the next WC - not to mention other prospects like Hobbs at the Blues

At THP we can pray that we still have an on form Adam Jones.
Mitchell looks to be doing well at Exeter and hopefully will step up and give Adam some competition.
Rh.Jones is being tried at THP, Andrews may develop.
Then there are the Ospreys production line lads - Joe Rees and Aaron Jarvis are already decent scrummagers, and Adam will still be around to teach them.

Without Bennett and Rees we will need a star Hooker to come through at one of the regions
(Dacey - Blues, Phillips - Scarlets, Baldwin - Ospreys, whoeverreplacesBurns - Dragons)

Lock shouldn't be a problem, if you just look at the Blues there is Reed, Downs, Hill and Cook - at least 2 of them will be ready by 2015 - and AWJ, Davies and Ian Evans should still be about.

At 6 we have Lydiate and Shingler who will be around.
Not sure who else though, Turnball may come good - then there is the Blues duo of Pretorious and Paterson if they are selected to play for Wales.

At 7 there is Warburton and Tipuric already at the top of their game. After that Turnball is a possibility or the up-and-coming new Blues 7, Navidi.

At 8 we have Faletau.....when R.Jones isn't around there is little cover.
Gilbert at the Scarlets will get gametime next season, then there is Pretorious at the Blues and the youngster Hamilton.

Plenty of centres as Roberts, JD2, Hook, S.Williams and Beck are all young. Adam Hughes and Adam Warren are good prospects and there are several youngsters about.

On the wing we are seriously short of depth with only Cuthbert and North the out-and-out wingers.
There is also very little coming through at the regions - lots of 'do a job' players about (James, Czekaj, Brew),
But young wingers can come through very quickly (see North and Cuthbert)
We will have to see what Robinson and Li.Williams can do for now.

Liam Williams is a ready made replacement for Byrne. Hook can cover, but really we need another FB from one of the regions (Fish at the Blues maybe, no other prospects around really, which is worrying)
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Post by Knowsit17 Thu 31 May 2012, 1:44 am

You're being very kind in some positions. Byrne hasn't had a good game for Wales in ages, unless you count Namibia in the WC. Hook is cover at best at FB and centre. I don't regard cover as significant strength in depth, it's something you settle for when you don't have much choice. For example AWJ can play flanker if we absolutely need him to, that doesn't mean he's a relevant consideration in that area.

Jones at FH is all but retired from playing for Wales so I don't see why you've counted him. If anything count Biggar instead who is deservedly back in the fold, at least for now.

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Post by Ospreydragon Thu 31 May 2012, 12:25 pm

"I wouldn't say Phillips is the best scrum half since Edwards, Howley and Jones much better imo, but Phillips is a superb player no doubt. " - Terry Holmes was a better scrumhalf.

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Post by maestegmafia Thu 31 May 2012, 12:59 pm

Joe Rees looks really good as a long term replacement for Adam Jones.

Hopefully he will get another decent amount of gametime in next season too.

Adam jones rates him highly himself. That's as good a word as there is in world rugby.

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Post by wales606 Thu 31 May 2012, 1:00 pm

maestegmafia wrote:Joe Rees looks really good as a long term replacement for Adam Jones.

Hopefully he will get another decent amount of gametime in next season too.

Adam jones rates him highly himself. That's as good a word as there is in world rugby.

Ive been impressed with Aaron Jarvis this season - he has started all the games Adam has missed and the Ospreys scrum has look good - he's a bit further ahead that Joe Rees in his development.
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Post by welsh-matfield Thu 31 May 2012, 6:57 pm

The area were we are certainly spoilt for choice is back-row. Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau, Jones, Delve (although not involved) and Tipuric are all international class players. we also possess players like Powell, Turnbull,mcusker etc who are capable back ups as well as up and comers such as Navidi, pretorious etc.
Using this as a standard however i would say were Wales need to improve is in the front five position and back three. behind the four second row mentioned there is infact incredibly little to choose from in terms of squad members and Scarlets and Dragons severly lack any welsh second row quality now Charteris and Reed have left.

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Post by sugarNspikes Fri 01 Jun 2012, 9:33 am

biltongbek wrote:
sugarNspikes wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
sugarNspikes wrote:
grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.
maesteg, read the OP properly mate. It's about strength there now, not just potential. Also, disagree with your comment on looseheads.

Sugar/safeasmilk/cyril

You thought Wales would come forth in the six nations and not qualify for the RWC quarter finals.

Your thoughts on welsh rugby are well noted. Why post about it...? Do you think any of us take your views as anything other than inane and relentlessly pointless trolling?
Eh? I just made a suggestion about what the OP was discussing. It's got nothing to do with my predictions about anything. Why are you being so aggressive.

It's discussion mate. Oh, and I do agree, that in some areas Welsh strength in depth is improving.
Maesteg and sugarNspikes, is it at all possible that the two of you can occupy the same cyberspace without getting up each other's noses?

If you cannot comment on each others posts with maturity then rather leave one another's opinions alone.

Maesteg this is enough now.

Gentlemen let this go.
I made a perfectly reasonable comment that he was including players untested at that level and also that I disagreed with his comment on looseheads. Where is the problem?

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Post by Shifty Fri 01 Jun 2012, 5:56 pm

We NEED another tight head prop, every time Adam Jones takes the field he has more bandages on that Mr Bump the Mr Man. Especially around his right ankle. Somewhere we have to find one because if we lose him were in the shít.
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Post by wales606 Fri 01 Jun 2012, 6:16 pm

It will be interesting to see what Craig Mitchell can do when he comes back from his operations.
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Post by slartibartfast Fri 01 Jun 2012, 6:46 pm

15 - Byrne is by far Wales best fullback

6 - Ryan jones - best all round player for Wales great end to season ( lions captain anyone?)

Other than those two any other positions are weak.

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Post by LondonTiger Sat 02 Jun 2012, 8:11 am

AlynDavies wrote:We NEED another tight head prop, every time Adam Jones takes the field he has more bandages on that Mr Bump the Mr Man. Especially around his right ankle. Somewhere we have to find one because if we lose him were in the shít.

Quality THs are in short supply within the Home Nations. Ireland and England have little cover for Ross and Cole, while Scotland have struggled since Euan Murray suddenly became carp (the man who destroyed the beast is now a shadow of his former self).

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sat 02 Jun 2012, 8:15 am

T/Head is our biggest concern and we really need someone to put their hand up and challenge A Jones.

Most other positions we seem to be developing some decent level of depth though a lot are still young and unproven at the top level.
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Post by Breadvan Sat 02 Jun 2012, 10:36 am

Ospreydragon wrote:"I wouldn't say Phillips is the best scrum half since Edwards, Howley and Jones much better imo, but Phillips is a superb player no doubt. " - Terry Holmes was a better scrumhalf.

I don't rate him at all tbh. He certainly shouldn't be nailed on for next years tour. What does Rhys Webb have to do to start a Wales game? far better than L Williams imo...
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Post by TycroesOsprey Sat 02 Jun 2012, 10:45 am

I think we have a long term replacement for Adam in Mitchell, Hes been playing well in the Geoff and if it wasnt for injury would be playing today. Behind those two we have a clutch of unproven youngsters coming up. Andrews, Gardiner and Rhodri Jones are the best placed to kick on at the moment but all of the academys have young no3s that are highly rated coming through. If we cab get Adan through another two seasons we will be in a much better position with front row backup.

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Post by TycroesOsprey Sat 02 Jun 2012, 10:52 am

Breadvan wrote:
Ospreydragon wrote:"I wouldn't say Phillips is the best scrum half since Edwards, Howley and Jones much better imo, but Phillips is a superb player no doubt. " - Terry Holmes was a better scrumhalf.

I don't rate him at all tbh. He certainly shouldn't be nailed on for next years tour. What does Rhys Webb have to do to start a Wales game? far better than L Williams imo...

Mikey is nowhere near the best since Edwards, Holmes was certainly a better scrum half and what about Dai Bish? Mikey is a poor copy of the pooler legend. Honestly if he hadnt have been such a nutjob he would have been pushing Edwards for greatest ever. Instead he got one cap, should have been fifty. If Phillips could pass half as well as Bishop or Holmes then he would be damn good. As for his abrasive play well DB used to beat up teams on his own including my beloved all whites. Watching one man demolish fifteen is an awe inspiring sight I can tell you.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sat 02 Jun 2012, 11:25 am

Bishop was his own worst enemy though.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Sat 02 Jun 2012, 11:30 am

Also meant to add that whilst Mikey P isn't everyones cup of tea he has been the best we have had for a while now but I have always said that we need opposites.

For me if Peel hadn't gone to Sale, which pretty much ended his Wales carear then him and Phillips would have been the ideal pairing and foil for each other.

Peel for the faster paced game

Phillips for the physical round the fringe games when we needed to tie back rowers in.
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Post by wales606 Sat 02 Jun 2012, 12:09 pm

Phillips is not the experienced cocky SH we need.

He has done an excellent job bringing in players around him - no doubt without Phillips, Preistland would have had a lot worse WC.

He has become a gamechanger for Wales, and he controls the pace of a game very well. His passing can still be awful, but apart from that he is a good all-round player. He is also one of the players who has finally brought patience to the Welsh attacking game.
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Post by maestegmafia Sat 02 Jun 2012, 12:30 pm

I think as Wales will now over the next few years we will be more. Likely to need players in the Rhys Webb or Gareth Davies mold rather than the Mike Phillips.

Fast and brain rather than bash and brawn.


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Post by maestegmafia Mon 04 Jun 2012, 5:13 am

Nice article praising the last teenage welsh winger to make a try scoring debut on the international stage.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/18312098

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Mon 04 Jun 2012, 6:36 am

Most posters appear to have gone off topic on this one, the OP talks about 2or 3 players in one position that we KNOW can do a job at international level.

If the that criteria is kept to it renders majority of these posts irrelevant to the OP. As S & S stated.

Eg. I personally would not put Hook in the category of 'knowing' he can do a job at 10 at international level. Far too inconsistent, lack of game management, inconsistent passing etc.

There are plenty of positions where Wales have POTENTIAL strength in depth, like England, but that was not the criteria for the OP. Which if contemplated is fairly narrow.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 04 Jun 2012, 10:49 am

I'm not sure what the obsession by Wales regarding utility is. Dont get me wrong here, im sure its handy having a sub on the bench who can cover a host of positions incase they are needed too but that does not detract that the worlds best tend to be specialists in one position.

Hook playing at 12 or 15 is poor option. I think Howley got that selection horribly wrong. He should either have selected Hook or Biggar, not both. The guy I really felt for watching that was Adam Hughes who should have been given a chance looking at his form for the Dragons (at 12) in the last 3 months.

I hope Stoddard comes back from his latest injury setback because in the World Cup warm up matches he looked one of our best places and on form I would imagine he is the backup Full Back. Liam Williams is also bound to come through.

I'm glad they gave R. Jones a chance at Tighthead (even though I think he will end up as a Loosehead in the long run). Reallity though is they really need to look at Tighthead which is a real weakness for Wales. Buck & Joe Rees should be looked at as soon as possible if only to give them International experience of what is required at this level so they can go away and work on it with their Regions.

We seem to be blessed at Centre at the moment as well as a host of other positions. But the only real issue for Wales is Tighthead and at a push Wingers. Most other areas are looking strong in my opinion.

I also thought Webb was outstanding for Wales on the weekend. Probably should be Wales 2nd choice if im honest.

Also I think Waters has been amazing but sadly with 2 freaks in front of him in Warburton & Tipuric he may actually never get capped for Wales.

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Post by flyhalffactory Mon 04 Jun 2012, 12:38 pm

grandoslammo wrote:By strength in depth I do not mean 2 or 3 players who can play in that position or 2 or 3 players who are doing alright for their clubs. I mean 2 or 3 players who have the talent, but we also KNOW can do the job there at international level.

This is where I think we HAVE and DON'T HAVE strength in depth.

STRENGTH IN DEPTH:

Full backs: Halfpenny, Byrne & Hook .

Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny have both excelled in this position, but for many different reasons. James Hook seems to play well whenever he's put there. It's great to have 2 players on form, but with different skill sets that will suit different opposition. Byrne is on fire for Clermont and Halfpenny was instrumental in helping Wales win the Six Nations.

Centres: Jon Davies, Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams & James Hook.

Davies & Roberts excelled during the Six Nations and Scott Williams has stepped up to the mark whenever the call has come. Hook has had some genius performances in the centre, but has also had some right clangers with interceptions and poor tackles, but he is still a credible option as a centre.


I would say you would have at

FB
Stoddart - possibly your stand out player let alone the stand out FB at about the time he got injured
Barry Davies (when fit) - has always been good enough to keep Byrne out of the sides
Tom Prydie - forget about "potential", this lad proved it on the wing at 17 on the international stage, and IMHO is a better FB than a wing
Liam Williams - had a decent game last weekend, and is an aggressive competitor

Centres
You can add
Beck... he needs to work on his first 5 yards but apart from that has had an excellent season

Pretty soon you will see the likes of
Warren, and potentially an even better Centre/FB in Jordan Williams at the Scarlets, plus the possibility of unleashing the North God at 13 pretty soon

....and the list goes on

I would say the overall strength in depth for Wales has improved considerably since the birth of regionalism and certainly in a better position now than say five years ago, possible the only weak areas are loose head and number 8
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