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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team Empty Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

Post by Ospreydragon Sat 16 Mar - 21:35

I've been a big critic of Howley's selections and tactics in the past year, but I have to give credit where it's due - to Howley and the coaches, and of course the players.

I still think Wales can have a more balanced midfield, and I would not be surprised to see some changes in the next year. However, in terms of power, control, scrum dominance, keeping the errors to a minimum, and defence, that performance ranks as one of Wales' best in many years. I haven't seen a better performance from Wales for a long time, especially in terms of pack power and keeping errors to a minimum. The squad deserves immense credit by coming back from the first half horror show against Ireland and building momentum by getting the wins, building their confidence.

England were unlucky today to play a Wales side in Cardiff whose confidence had been restored and where some big-game players had also returned during the 6N to bolster the side (Alun-Wyn). Wales put out a very strong 15 -- I worried that Ryan Jones would be a big loss, but the back row was superb. Then again, all the players played very well -- the front 5 were immense. For me, Adam Jones demonstrated why he is the best TH in the NH, if not the world. Wales also have a good bench. I've always rated Ian Evans, who in this 6N and last year again proved what a quality lock he is. Wyn-Jones' work rate in defence is tremendous. Halfpenny has been consistently brilliant under the high ball and with place-kicking throughout the tournament. Hibbard and all the forwards carried the ball so well throughout the matches and played well in the tight. And Tipuric, for those who don't see him play for the Ospreys on a weekly basis, showed what an outstanding, truly gifted player and athlete he is: he has great hands, pace, footwork and vision and if there's a better 7 in the NH I haven't seen him.

As for England, they have a very good team. It wouldn't have changed the result today, but Twelvetrees has to play in midfield to start. Brad and Tuilagi are not a balanced midfield. England had a couple of good chances -- Tuilagi showed his weakness in not giving the pass for one of the try-scoring chances. England will get better -- they have a lot of excellent players. Their young props, especially Marler, were exposed today -- but experience really counts at this level and it takes years to develop a really good, top-class, streetwise prop. The likes of Adam has served their time to earn the plaudits. Launchbury is a superb player, as is Croft and Robshaw. Farrell is a great kicker and has an amazing temperament, but he has to develop his game -- but the same applies to Biggar.

I still think Wales can put out a better balanced team, and against the SH teams, I think we'll need to. Full back, 10 and 12 can really change Wales' attack. There is a lack of creativity. Wales' performance today did remind me of the great 70s teams -- they dominated matches through their forwards and then the likes of Edwards, Gerald D, and JJ finished them off. But the forwards, as always, did the damage, as Wales' pack did today.

On Monday the World rankings will still show England above Wales (I know it's based on results over a period, but it once again shows that the rankings can be misleading). Today's match should leave no one in any doubt who has the better players and team at the moment. However, I have no doubt that England will get stronger and Wales will have to too. For Wales, that can start with blooding some new or fringe players on the Japan tour later this year. We need to give experience to more front 5 players, and in the back line, especially at centre and fullback. We need to add more creative spark to our back line. We have two excellent, very powerful wing finishers. Cuthbert still shows his lack of rugby though -- in his butterfingers, poor positioning and defence; but he'll get better in those areas with more game time. His pace and power are superb though, as is North's. But I'd still like to see at least one jinking, really agile runner in Wales back line -- at 13, 15, or one one wing!




Last edited by Ospreydragon on Sat 16 Mar - 21:41; edited 1 time in total

Ospreydragon

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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team Empty Re: Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

Post by senghenydd1913 Sat 16 Mar - 21:39

Tups.Warbs And Toby were superb-a no fault game today
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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team Empty Re: Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

Post by Shifty Sat 16 Mar - 21:43

Wales had a lot of experienced big game players, who have won 3 grand slams and god knows what else since 2002+.

England had a young team, in the pressure house of Cardiff that was the difference. There was no way the Welsh boys were not going to give it everything with a crowd like that behind them.
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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team Empty Re: Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

Post by Ospreydragon Sat 16 Mar - 22:05

"in the pressure house of Cardiff that was the difference" -- I don't think it was that simple. Wales have a better team of players at the moment -- better and generally more experienced.

Tuilagi shows his inexperience, Brad B and Tuilagi don't work (too similar), England back 3 lack pace and power, Ashton should be dropped, Farrell lacks creativity (excellent in some areas though), props lack experience and Marler particularly is not a strong scrummager yet. Wales simply have better Test players at the moment -- it's when we lose a lot of our best players to injury (as we often do) that we suffer. England have a lot of young players who will develop -- they should be a real force in 2015. But they have some better players who didn't play today.

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Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team Empty Re: Well done to the players, Howley and the coaching team

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