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Players to watch 2014/15

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BigTrevsbigmac
South West Saint
Geordie
Welly
profitius
sirtidychris
Bathman_in_London
bedfordwelsh
Jimpy
mbernz
ScarletSpiderman
Sgt_Pooly
SirBurger
B91212
Jhamer25
funnyExiledScot
Bathite
formerly known as Sam
thebandwagonsociety
clivemcl
HongKongCherry
25 posters

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Post by HongKongCherry Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:13 pm

There was a great thread last year on this subject, but apologies I cannot recall who posted it, but here's a big nod to them for my blatant plagiarism! OK

Who are you tipping for the players to watch in the forthcoming season?  They don't need to be from your own team or league but who are the:

  • International player to watch?
  • Club player to watch?
  • Youngster to watch?
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Post by clivemcl Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Ulster:
Stuart Olding. Was looking to be the best prospect we've had in years when he made a few games the season before last. But injury ruled him out of last season. He will be back this season, and most Ulster fans are hoping that the injury hasn't set him back and that he will be the talent we originally hoped he would be.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:33 pm

Leinster:
For Leinster it will be a quiet enough season coming up.  

Martin Moore is now next choice behind Ross at TH for both Leinster and Ireland.  I reckon this season could see him nudge in front as he matures another bit.

Luke McGrath is now nipping at the heels of Boss/Reddan for the scrumhalf role. He can produce a higher tempo than Reddan, can box kick as well as Boss and can control a game from 9 better than either of them.  Now that Cooney isn't blocking his progression by taking away minutes, I expect this kid (while well known to Leinster fans) to really start getting noticed in the wider Pro12 world.

Outside bolt from a youngster would be Ringrose. A centre and a strong performer at the last JRWC. BOD is gone, Darcy will be rested for most of the Leinster season with the RWC around the corner and Irelands situation at centres.  Reid and Macken are both solid performers, neither appear to be showing themselves as anything higher than pro12 level to date.  The stage is set for this kid to bolt up the depth chart for Leinster centres if he stays fit up to Christmas and continues to develop as expected.

==Another strong performer from the JRWC was Kelleher at fullback/wing. Looks like a great prospect, his progression will be impacted by having Rob and Dave Kearney along with Kirchener in front of him in the depth chart of the squad.  This kid has the fundamentals and attitude of Morris who has been with Leicester for the past while but has an extra little spark which most teams would love their fullback to have.  He will suffer as will the backrow kids from the depth in front of them at the province.

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Post by HongKongCherry Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:37 pm

Purely from a Glaws perspective I'm expecting Ben Morgan to have a make or break season. He's had flashes of brilliance, but with no consistency and has been out shone by Kalamafoni and Evans. He surely must benefit from Laurie Fisher's arrival, so I'd have him as the International/club player to watch.

Only just in the youngster range would be Shaun Knight who spent the bulk of last season will niggly injuries in an underpowered scrum. With Afoa being the front line TH and with competition from Puafisi he should hopefully have the time to regain full fitness and push on to start fulfilling his early potential.

From a wider perspective I'd expect the following:
International: Marler - I've been very critical in the past of his scrummaging ability, but have to eat a large dose of humble pie on the showing of last season. If he can continue this level of improvement this season he will fully justify being the first choice LH for England.
Club: Hines - it might be after the horse has bolted but I feel Hines is an excellent addition to Sale's squad and despite being in his 50s he's still one of the best around
Youngster: Cowan-Dickie - I said him last year, but he didn't get the opportunities, so surely this must be his year?
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:42 pm

From Tigers:

International - all eyes will be on the return of Tom Croft. When fully fit and in form one of the most talented and controversial blindsides on the planet. Has had a lot of injuries but will be fit for the entirety of preseason training. Will it be a revival just in time for the big RWC push or will the injuries have taken their toll on the dynamic fan favourite.

Club player to watch: Fraser Balmain. He's now 22 played loose head vs the Baabaas for England despite being a tight head. Powerful and a grafter in the loose whilst developing his scrummaging technique to a level where he is now a threat to the opposition. Needs to push on and challenge in the early part of the season whilst Cole is injured as the young Castrogiovanni impersonator Pasquali is coming through the academy and will soon be challenging him for game time.

Young player - the young powerhouse 12 Javiah Pohe is causing a lot of interest among Tigers fans. Manu sized with a decent passing game the idea of that combination would be pretty brutal. He is known for carrying a bit of extra timber so it'll be interesting to see if his loan experience at Notts and Tigers preseason will have him in some more athletic shape.

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Post by Bathite Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:56 pm

For Bath it is all about Slammin Sam Burgess really. The massive question mark is over which position he plays. England are hoping it is 12, but we are really well stocked there at Bath, with both Devoto and Eastmond battling for the shirt. As Bath fans we are hoping he turns out to be a powerhouse 8 or 6, which would allow Garvey to take the lock shirt again.

In terms of youngsters coming through, my shout would be Will Spencer at lock. He's been coached by Grewcock for a few years now, he's a bit of a lump and a brute and he's been away playing championship finals rugby as well. With Caldwell leaving and Attwood away more and more, he's quite likely to get some game time.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:58 pm

From a Scotland/Edinburgh perspective:

International player - Stuart Hogg. With Matt Scott out until Christmas there's a lot on the shoulders of Stuart Hogg in the AIs to both create and finish opportunities. He's become a hugely important player for Scotland, and hopefully Vern Cotter will get more use out of him than the hapless Scott Johnson.

Club player - there have been a number of new recruits at Edinburgh, but I think the arrival of Anton Bresler is the most exciting. A proper old school enforcer from one of the hardest rugby environments, moving to a side with no defensive capabilities whatsoever. He's bound to make an impact.

Youngster - from a Scotland perspective Jonny Gray, no question. Combine the athleticism of Richie Gray with the graft of Tim Swinson, and you get Jonny Gray. Was remarkably consistent last season. From an Edinburgh perspective I'm looking forward to seeing young Sam Hidalgo-Clyne get more game time at 9 this season. Good pace, good playmaker and gets the ball away crisply. With Laidlaw out there's a good three-way contest for the 9 jersey at Edinburgh.

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Post by Jhamer25 Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:37 pm

Scarlets
From a scarlet point of view we are up against some big teams in the European Championship Cup. Will be great development for Samson Lee coming up against the likes of Toulon and Leicester we will need a plat form. He is only going to get better than what he is so he is my international player to watch as he should now be Wales' number 1 number 3.

Club player to watch has to be Chris Halafuia. We don;t know what to expect at the moment but if he pays of he is what we have been needing for the past 2 seasons. We are desperate for a big strong 8, yes he is 35 but hopefully there is still two season left in him.

Still only just turned 23 last month Jake Ball is definitely our youngster to watch even though he towers over everyone else in our team he is still young and has already got a few caps in a very competitive position in the Wales team. Still think he is the one to settle in with at second row with Alyn Wyn in the so distant future.

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Post by B91212 Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:38 pm

I will takek a shot at Saints (no major signings announced yet)-

International - Alex Corbisiero. Returned very late at the business end of last season and started in the Amlin & Jeff finals. Before all the injury problems had showed the potential to be a top international LH and his performance in the 3rd Lions test could be viewed as World Class (not saying he is or ever was, just that single performance maybe was). His development will have at best stalled and his game time is obviously going to have to be managed, will he be able to be the player he before and maybe more? He struggled in the Jeff final against the renowned scrumager that is Matt Stevens and worth noticing that he has hardly played with the latest scrum laws in force - could he potentially be another Adam Jones in this area?

Club - Mike Heywood. Started the season as first choice 2 due to Dylan Hartley's suspension and also finished it due to the aforementioned players injury. Was injured himself mid season and form initially dropped upon return but was very good in the crucial games, especially against Tigers in the semi where he worked himself to a total standstill. Does all the hooker basics to a decent level, throwing not perfect but better than many young 2's, goes well in the scrum but main strength is with ball in hand in the loose, both carrying into contact and keeping a move going. Game time will be limited if Hartley stays fit and out of trouble other than international windows but a more than decent back up to have in what is one of the most important positions in the modern game.

Young Club Player - Tom Stephenson. Potential to go a long way and will be pushing to make the 12 shirt his own this year. Started last season as a squad/A Team/LV player but injuries and Burrell's England call up gave more first team opportunities than expected and finished the season as a fixture in the 23. Tackles well, runs good lines, stocky and carries well into contact. Not really seen a kicking game for Saints first team yet but supposedly okay in that area with room for improvement. Could push Burrell to 13 in some games although George Pisi may have something to say about that.

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Post by SirBurger Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:43 pm

London Irish/England:

International - Danny Cipriani. Of the three 10s who played against the All Blacks, DC arguably looked the best and most composed (although he did have the least game time admittedly). Farrell has the mindset and temperament for international Rugby. His attacking game has developed to the point where it isn't a weakness. Cipriani, however, could propel England to a different level if he is given a proper chance to shine.

Club - Eoin Griffin. I am hoping that his game can give a bit more creativity and spark to our midfield. I haven't seen loads of him, but I am very optimistic. He can certainly fizz a pass whilst moving at pace which is something I like to see in a centre.

Young - Gerard Ellis. The year when his conversion to Hooker will be undertaken properly. Could, possibly even should, be England's Hooker by 2019. An absolute beast of a ball-carrier.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:32 pm

Falcons

(Int)Alex Tuilagi - has he still got the hunger? Can he still cut it? Hopefully yes to both these questions as we massively need some punch in a lacklustre backline.

(Club)Juan Pablo Socino - we left way too many points on the pitch last season. Championship player of the season Socino can kick like the best of the them. He's a rock in defence and runs hard and direct, he could be a real hit if played in his preferred 12 position rather than the rumoured 10.

(Youngster)Dom Barrow - Time for the JWC winner to step up to the plate. Barrow oozes class and was often our best player in a troubled season. He needs to stay fit and nail his position. A future Falcons captain & England Int.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:22 pm

Might not be so bad Sgt. Clegg is a decent 10 he just can't kick. Socino will do that for you and Clegg can get on with the play making. Socino plus the two Tuilagis and that other PI winger you have will give you plenty of meat to truck the ball up with in the backs.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:26 pm

Clegg's kicking was really good last season Sam, easily the best of our FH's. It was the rest of his game that fell apart, basically aimless kicking and passing.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:37 pm

Jhammer, I think next season is probably the first time in ages we have not really been left in a oossition where we are going to have to throw a youngster in at the deep end. However I do have a feeling that Rob Evans will be our first choice loose head by the end of the season.

Rory Pitman could also be a surprise package. Been in the wilderness for a while now, but could/should get decent game time if he can stay fit.

International I think Gareth Davies will steal the number 9 shirt, and Jordan Williams will burst onto the scene somewhere in the back three as our brute force tactics are struggling.
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Post by mbernz Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:08 am

As an England supporter who doesn't follow any one particular club I think this could be a big season for 20yo Anthony Watson.  Plenty of pace, good strength and one of the best balanced runners I've seen for a while in the English game.

We've been struggling to finalise our back three and as a wing/FB he gives us good options in terms of the composition of the starting backline and bench.  Lancaster is definitely a big fan, marking him out early as one for the future, and he made a pretty decent showing when backed to start the Crusaders game in NZ.

Bath look well placed to continue to provide him a platform to display his abilities on and I think a good start to the season will see him get an opportunity for England in the AIs.  If he can make the right impression there I think Lancaster will give a Watson-Yarde-Brown trio a fair amount of time to blossom as an ideal combination for the duration of the 6N and WC.

Wade will almost certainly have something to say about it if he's back to his pre-injury form, but I suspect Watson's extra size and ability under the high ball will see him edge it if it's close.

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Post by Jimpy Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:47 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Might not be so bad Sgt. Clegg is a decent 10 he just can't kick. Socino will do that for you and Clegg can get on with the play making. Socino plus the two Tuilagis and that other PI winger you have will give you plenty of meat to truck the ball up with in the backs.
 
Alex Tuilagi was a favourite at Welford Rd as we all know. But, i think even the most die-hard Tigers fan would have admitted that he was past his sell-by date when he left, and he's had two (I think) seasons in Japan prior to returning. Even before he left Tigers, you got excited when he got the ball, but were always concerned that he would knock it on or balls it up somehow. He is a mediocre distributer of the ball (arguably not a huge problem for a winger) and more often that not ran into contact relying on his bulk to beat opposition players. Later on only a quite low percentage of his barrelling runs produced points. He might look good in a Falcons back line, but I don't think he'll have what it takes to propel his team up the table.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:23 am

I'm sure he'll do fine Jimpy. Obviously he's no Scully or Morris but he'll add something to the Falcons backline.

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Post by Jimpy Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:07 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I'm sure he'll do fine Jimpy. Obviously he's no Scully or Morris but he'll add something to the Falcons backline.

My concern, were he returning to Leicester, would be that what he adds is about 5 stone and not much else...

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:10 am

Luckily you don't need to worry about this as he isn't.

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Post by Jimpy Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:21 am


Sgt_Pooly wrote:Luckily you don't need to worry about this as he isn't.
 
Nope, cos Cockerill wasn't that daft...

As i say, he probably will look pretty good in a Falcons team, but he's past his best.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:23 am

Yea he's an awful signing Jimpy, I'm gutted we couldn't have found somebody better like Scully.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:40 am

I think the two years in Japan will have benefited him. It's a fair standard of rugby with a bigger off season and pro care off the field. His body should be in good shape and a preseason at Newcastle will give him the right preparation. He might not be as explosive as he once was but he's still a beast that'll provide lots of good forward.

Oh dear on Clegg. Seems a reversal to his form at Quins where he looked good with the ball but naff off the tee.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:46 am

Cheers Sam, Jimpy has a bit of a downer on Falcons, I think similar of Tuilagi.

Clegg was often dreadful but held it together off the tee. Shows how bad he was as Richards preferred Godman and his kicking is sub standard at best.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:14 pm

Internationally - Well lot will depend on if Gatland wants to change things but for me I hope Gareth Davies gets the chance to really prove himself.

Regional - Well there's two and both also fit into the youngsters to watch category and they are Jack Dixon and Morgan Tyler. Both are young and some say maybe it's a bit to early for them but (through necessity) the Dragons normally have to play young kids.

As outside old timer to watch well again will be good to see how Byrne and Powell go this season.
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Post by Bathman_in_London Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:54 pm

Bathite wrote:For Bath it is all about Slammin Sam Burgess really. The massive question mark is over which position he plays. England are hoping it is 12, but we are really well stocked there at Bath, with both Devoto and Eastmond battling for the shirt. As Bath fans we are hoping he turns out to be a powerhouse 8 or 6, which would allow Garvey to take the lock shirt again.

In terms of youngsters coming through, my shout would be Will Spencer at lock. He's been coached by Grewcock for a few years now, he's a bit of a lump and a brute and he's been away playing championship finals rugby as well. With Caldwell leaving and Attwood away more and more, he's quite likely to get some game time.

Agree with you on both Bathite. Burgess is the big unknown but Spencer is the young player to watch I think. He is a big boy (same size as Attwood) but still young and a bit more athletic I think. At the very lease he should be playing in the LV games and during international windows.

It will also be interesting to see how Henry Thomas develops. He has run before he can walk in a way as he played for England without standing out in the league. Neal Hatley seems very good at getting our front row into shape and if Thomas can get his scrimmaging up to scratch while staying mobile around the park he will be some player.

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Post by Jhamer25 Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:35 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:Jhammer, I think next season is probably the first time in ages we have not really been left in a oossition where we are going to have to throw a youngster in at the deep end.  However I do have a feeling that Rob Evans will be our first choice loose head by the end of the season.

Rory Pitman could also be a surprise package.  Been in the wilderness for a while now, but could/should get decent game time if he can stay fit.

International I think Gareth Davies will steal the number 9 shirt, and Jordan Williams will burst onto the scene somewhere in the back three as our brute force tactics are struggling.

I don't know mind, I myself was calling for Phil John to be released at the start of last season but in all honestly he has been immense this season. I mean he has became one of the mist dominant looseheads in the pro 12. Rob Evans does have the potential though might get more game time in the number 1 position but i'm hoping Phil carries on his form from last season.

I don't think Gareth Davies will get much of a chance to start personally unless Mike Phillips is injured. As long as Mike Phillips is available he will be our 9 until the world cup. I just wish Gatland wasn't so stubborn because Gareth would add a whole new dimension to the welsh team.

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Post by Jimpy Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:18 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:I think the two years in Japan will have benefited him. It's a fair standard of rugby with a bigger off season and pro care off the field. His body should be in good shape and a preseason at Newcastle will give him the right preparation. He might not be as explosive as he once was but he's still a beast that'll provide lots of good forward.

Oh dear on Clegg. Seems a reversal to his form at Quins where he looked good with the ball but naff off the tee.

The general consensus on the Tigers forums, is that it won't - although many supporters are looking forward to see him face up against his old club. I am too.

I don't particularly have a downer on Falcons, i'd like somebody to point out one thing i've said that isn't true.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:57 am

Welly I like the Tigers forum but some of the posters on there still think the Japanese league is below Championship level and all things Tigers is brilliant/not as good as it was in the old days. Very polarised views. The facts are that recent returns from the J League have actually come back rather well. Just look at Kaino.

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Post by Jimpy Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:01 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Welly I like the Tigers forum but some of the posters on there still think the Japanese league is below Championship level and all things Tigers is brilliant/not as good as it was in the old days. Very polarised views. The facts are that recent returns from the J League have actually come back rather well. Just look at Kaino.

Let me put it another way, given the choice, who would you rather have at Tigers - the encumbent wingers or a returning Alex?

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Post by bedfordwelsh Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:43 am

[quote="Jhamer25"]
ScarletSpiderman wrote:Jhammer,

I don't think Gareth Davies will get much of a chance to start personally unless Mike Phillips is injured. As long as Mike Phillips is available he will be our 9 until the world cup. I just wish Gatland wasn't so stubborn because Gareth would add a whole new dimension to the welsh team.

If he performs like he did in the last SA test then I don't have a problem with Phillips starting, my problem is as it has been in the past Gatlands' reluctance to change if its not working.

We have seen him drop both Phillips and more recently he subbed A Jones and the dropped him so we know he can make the calls I just wish he would do it more often when required rather than as a knee jerk action.

A pairing of Phillips and Davies as starter and bench option is for me the ideal situation as one offers complete contrast to the other so can play different styles but they have to be used correctly.
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Post by sirtidychris Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:28 am

Bathman_in_London wrote:
Bathite wrote:For Bath it is all about Slammin Sam Burgess really. The massive question mark is over which position he plays. England are hoping it is 12, but we are really well stocked there at Bath, with both Devoto and Eastmond battling for the shirt. As Bath fans we are hoping he turns out to be a powerhouse 8 or 6, which would allow Garvey to take the lock shirt again.

In terms of youngsters coming through, my shout would be Will Spencer at lock. He's been coached by Grewcock for a few years now, he's a bit of a lump and a brute and he's been away playing championship finals rugby as well. With Caldwell leaving and Attwood away more and more, he's quite likely to get some game time.

Agree with you on both Bathite. Burgess is the big unknown but Spencer is the young player to watch I think. He is a big boy (same size as Attwood) but still young and a bit more athletic I think. At the very lease he should be playing in the LV games and during international windows.

It will also be interesting to see how Henry Thomas develops. He has run before he can walk in a way as he played for England without standing out in the league. Neal Hatley seems very good at getting our front row into shape and if Thomas can get his scrimmaging up to scratch while staying mobile around the park he will be some player.

Totally agree for sam burgess and will spencer, as far as club player this year will be huge for Olly Devoto and Nathan Catt, Devoto has all the attributes to be an amazing 12 for club and country and after getting LV breakthrough player of the year; this is his year to nail the shirt down and knock on that england door with the 12 shirt still anyones for engalnd. Nathan Catt has been a slow burner but having been at the club for long time he is now reaching the peak of his powers, under hatley and James tutelidge I expect him to be one of the best looseheads in the league and on a par with corbisiero as a destructive looshead scrummager.

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Post by Bathite Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:04 pm

I agree, but think Shiells is a canny addition as well though, that will challenge Catt again

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Post by profitius Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:45 pm

International - Henshaw,
Province - Copeland, Jack Conan, Olding, Heenan
Youngster - Furlong, Darragh Leader
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Post by Jhamer25 Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:57 pm

bedfordwelsh wrote:
Jhamer25 wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:Jhammer,

I don't think Gareth Davies will get much of a chance to start personally unless Mike Phillips is injured. As long as Mike Phillips is available he will be our 9 until the world cup. I just wish Gatland wasn't so stubborn because Gareth would add a whole new dimension to the welsh team.

If he performs like he did in the last SA test then I don't have a problem with Phillips starting, my problem is as it has been in the past Gatlands' reluctance to change if its not working.

We have seen him drop both Phillips and more recently he subbed A Jones and the dropped him so we know he can make the calls I just wish he would do it more often when required rather than as a knee jerk action.

A pairing of Phillips and Davies as starter and bench option is for me the ideal situation as one offers complete contrast to the other so can play different styles but they have to be used correctly.

Yes Phillips played well in the last game but in all honesty it is the best game he has played since the 2011 World Cup against France. He has been terrible since and since that time he has dropped him once for Rhys Webb. It's just not good enough. Dropping Adam Jones was the right choice and he did it with ease but as you say I don't understand why he is so reluctant to drop Phillips. Personally i wouldn't even pick him in the team anymore unless we have a crises. People are forgetting how good Rhys Webb was playing before his knee injury, very similar to Gareth Davies and these two guys are the scrum half's Galtand should be looking at and working on as well as Rhodri Williams as third choice.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:08 pm

profitius wrote:International - Henshaw,
Province - Copeland, Jack Conan, Olding, Heenan
Youngster - Furlong, Darragh Leader

Furlong is an interesting prospect, the silent masses were always touting him the whole way up through the under age. Definitely agree with the rest of your list as well. If all those names stay fit for the full season then it will make a lot of teams very competitive.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:46 pm

Jimpy, would depend entirely on the wages of the returning Alex. I wouldn't want Andy as part of the deal which is what the Falcons agreed to. He'd have certainly been a useful addition had we not brought in Loamano especially with Benjamin and Camacho out.

At the end of the day we have good back three resources and the Falcons do not. We are also looking to compete for silverware on two fronts where the Falcons are looking to survive. Two Tuilagis is a good deal for us. A returning Alex would have only added to our squad depth.

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Post by Welly Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:16 pm

I think japan is can have lots of benefits it is lower impact and generally faster, considering it has been only 1 year since his last international game. (I think) I wouldn't worry if I was a falcons guy. But look Geaorge smith and how he was from playing in Japan.

For international: not english but Aussie will Skelton huge man mountain of a guy, with amazing hands and a aggressive game face really looking forward to seeing him get more international game time my international player to watch.

For club: I am going for either the victor of the burns/williams 10 battle or Goneva not surprising here really but if the this back line can stay fit and give goneva more ball in space oh lord would hate to be up against him.

Young player: hard to say because of the strenght of depht we have but I would go with Matera only 22/21 yet internationally capped has so more raw power, had some great games for tigers (newcastle away and sarries at home) but was immature at times letting quints get to him and he lost his cool big style, but now after a season to get used to the culture I feel he will push salvi which is saying something.

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Post by Guest Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:31 pm

International
Samson Lee, Gareth Davies, Corey Allen

Club
Rhys Patchell

Youngster
Tyler Morgan

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Post by Geordie Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:32 am

JUst back off a lovely holiday in Greece...refreshed for the battles on 606 this season  Very Happy 

Re: Tuilagi.
I think the Falcons have numerous young skilled backs but many of them have no physical power to take route one when needed and it cost us a lot.

The signing of Sinotti proved that..as he was a revelation. Tuilagi might not be the player of old but if we can manage him properly and use him to smash that ball up creating space for the likes of Kibirige, Powell and some of the youngsters like Hammersley etc then it will be a worthwhile signing. Not to mention what he can do for the youngsters in training.

International Player: Can Keiron Brookes really take this season by storm after a successful tour to NZ for him personally. The other is Josh Furno. A big aggressive Italian international who plays 4/5/6 and is a lineout option also. Could be a massive signing.

Club Player: Will Welch (Captain) has some serious challengers for that 7 spot after a mixed season last one. He is quality but with Saull, Kiwi 7 Temm and the young Blaydon tyro (a real deal 7) all challenging this season he is going to have to raise his level and consistency.

Youngster: Ah where to start? Kibirige? Barrow? McGuigan? Scott Wilson, Hammersley? ....the list goes on.
Dean gave many youngsters significant game time last season and I suspect many will increase that this season. The academy is in VERY good shape at the minute and I think in good hands with Dean in charge.

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Post by South West Saint Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:48 pm

Well first post in a long time. Looking from a Northampton point of veiw these are the players I'd like to really push to prove themselves.

International Player: While I would love to see Burrell move to 12 and really cement a place in the team, I just just think the coaches see him as an option there thinking of him as more of a Tuilagi 0.5 just a lesser crash ball option but he showed at saints last season that he has a far wider passing repitour than he is given credit for as well as a slowly improving kicking game.
As I can't see that happening though I will go for Yarde to have a stand out season, make himself first choice on the left wing and really show progress from the vast potenial he has so far showed in glimpses for England.

Club Player: Ben Nutley is the player I'm going to pick for saints, the ex England U20 player who has previously captained the wanderers. He managed 14 apperences last season but with most coming from the bench. While flanker is a area of relative strength for saints last season, I feel with Dowson getting on this season will be a perfect chance to blood him in some of the bigger games as a flanker combination of Wood and Nutley would give exceptional work rate and aggression adding a little more on the deck than Clark does although any combination of the three would give us a very strong option.

Young Player: I'll go for Newcastle's latest loss on Joel Hodgeson the young 9/10. From what I saw at the tail end of last season for the Falcons he looked to be a real promising talent with plenty of spark and not too bad a boot. While he has been mainly signed as a 9 I would love to see him getting some game time as Myler's understudy as Dickson did not really show much other than a big boot and Hooley while impressive in most aspects of his game (was seriously impressed with his defence), the boy can't hit a barn door off the T so maybe give him the LV to show his stuff with Hodgeson in the match day 23.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:55 am

Wasps -

Return from injury & hopefully pushing for England's right wing Christian Wade and playing inside him, very excited by our signing of Samoan Alapati Leiua.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/rugby/is-hurricanes-star-alapati-leiua-the-hardest-player-to-tackle-in-super-rugby-fox-sports-stats-say-yes/story-fnii0ksb-1226908970709?nk=1d353f9cfedebd7c2a0ba5553e164a9e

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Post by Welshmushroom Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:15 pm

I'll take the Dragons:-

(Int) Falatau - It's no secret he didn't have his best season for the Dragons last year and given the Lions Tour we probably didn't see best out of him in a Wales jersey either.  Dragon bring in Powell who will add a genuine threat to his space at club level which in turn could affect his international opportunities.  Expect him to come out firing on all cylinders after getting a full pre season under his belt.  

(Club) Gough - Could have gone for either of the half backs (Rees & Tovey) who both will play a important role in leading the team but for me it's all about Gough.  Not so much for his playing contribution as he is not the player he once was but more importantly for his experience and knowledge of top rugby.  I'm hoping his addition will bring an enforcer to the Dragons and much needed leadership in the pack.  Gough will hopefully get the other front 5 playing with a lot more physicality (as I don't expect to see Gough starting that often) and get them all fronting up next year.  Also mentions to Brew & Byrne who will add a serious amount of threat to the dragons backline play.

(Youth) Tyler Morgan - The 15stone + centre as made a been a genuine talent for the U20 at the ripe old age of 18.  He's got a couple of centres ahead of him but he is a quality youngster who has the physical attributes for pro rugby.  I expect him to feature a bit more this year and he really is a exciting prospect.  

All in all there are a lot of talented youngsters coming through at the Dragons and if the old heads can sure up a flakey set piece game we can have a decent season.  Expecting the Dragons to be a serious threat for the top sides at home with our famous 16th man behind them.  Rodney could be a hell of a ride next year.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:21 pm

International- from my country: Anthony Watson or Christian Wade, which ever gets the chance to. Wing is one of our free slots that a youngster can easily break in on and both have the talent.

Other- I hope Jordan Williams gets a chance cause he is class. Buttin for France. Ardie Savea

Club- my own- Clifford and Walker for Quins. Clifford is a future England captain with pace and flair and the ability to play across the back row and will get gametime. Walker will fill in where needed at 13, 14 or 15 in lots of competition and frankly looked class last season

Other- Sarries' Kruis is another one
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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:16 pm

CJ,

I agree with you on your wing position and ours in J Williams. From your point of view and IMO May just isn't up to it at the top level and was your week link.

From our point of view whilst I think there is a place for North and Cuthbert (who for me is worth his place more than North at the moment) it would be great to have another option one that would keep players guessing much in the way S Williams did.
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Post by George Carlin Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:31 am

From a Soapdodger/Scotland perspective:

(International) Genuine reasons to be more optimistic for the national team.

In the forwards, 3 players stand out as being critical for me: Jonny Gray is a monster and genuine international class, he just needs to show it in the 6 Nations now, Gordon Reid is potentially the best young SQ prop of his generation and had a breakthrough season last year - he needs to take the loosehead shirt from Ryan Grant now and Grant Gilchrist needs to repay the enormous faith that his club and national coaches have shown in him and become the consistent force of nature that we're all hoping he can be.

In the backs, we have the back 3 and 9 now, it's all about the centres. Matt Scott and either Alex Dunbar or Mark Bennett could be our midfield for the next 10 years and the prospect of those combinations gelling is wonderful, particularly in comparison to the pile of old scrote that's been dished up in previous seasons.

(Club) Glasgow needs two players to show form - Finn Russell needs to put on a stone and get a full season of games in but he's looking more and more like Scotland's next 10 every time we see him and Daniel Van Der Merwe needs to come back strong from the terrible injury that saw him sit out the majority of last season.

Two honourable mentions for other clubs:

* the explosive Bundee Aki from the Chiefs is Connacht's best signing for years. If he shows the same form as he did in Super Rugby, it's going to be hard for any midfield to contain him.

* the animal that is Anton Bresler will have the same impact for Edinburgh as Muller did at Ulster. Watch this space.  

(Youngfeller) I really want to see Sam Clyne and Jamie Farndale start to get some game time for Edinburgh, particularly Farndale who is a blaster and exactly what is needed to allow Grandpappy Solomons to comfortably bring Dougie Fife into the centres, where he can most usefully serve both club and country in my view.
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Post by Cumbrian Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:59 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:International- from my country: Anthony Watson or Christian Wade, which ever gets the chance to. Wing is one of our free slots that a youngster can easily break in on and both have the talent.

Other- I hope Jordan Williams gets a chance cause he is class. Buttin for France. Ardie Savea

Club- my own- Clifford and Walker for Quins. Clifford is a future England captain with pace and flair and the ability to play across the back row and will get gametime. Walker will fill in where needed at 13, 14 or 15 in lots of competition and frankly looked class last season

Other- Sarries' Kruis is another one

You rate him that highly? I'm impressed if true. I thought he looked like he had potential playing for the U20s, but I have been worried about where he will play. He looked a little small for number 8 & 6. Although looking at his stats, they say he is 6ft 3in or 6ft 4in, something I find genuinely surprising. He always had an impression of him being smaller and more compact than that.
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Post by Geordie Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:04 pm

Im sure Clifford was discussed on another thread for exactly that reason Cumbrian...his size.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:10 pm

He looked ok last year in his AP cameos, he'll never be huge but I think he's powerful enough
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:36 pm

"Gordon Reid is potentially the best young SQ prop of his generation"

Isn't Reid 26/27 George? Quite old to breakthrough these days

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:40 pm

He's 27 - not really a youngster, although as a prop he has his best years ahead of him. He's a great example of someone who has stuck at it and learnt his trade the hard way through putting in the hours as a pro. I would never have said he'd become a Scotland player a couple of years back, but he has every chance of ousting Lion Ryan Grant for club and country off the back of his form last season.

Just goes to show that just because someone isn't setting the world on fire in their early 20s, doesn't mean they won't still develop into a good international player.

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