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The Wales squad - Scotland, Autumn Nations Cup, and beyond

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 22 Sep 2020, 10:06 pm

First topic message reminder :

Wayne Pivac will announce the squad on October 6th, likely to be a Scarlet-heavy selection and rightly so. I would also like to see new players come in so we can see what they have to offer. 

Wales might play France on October 24th in warm-up, but there is currently some doubt on whether this will go ahead. Next up is the re-arranged 6N match with Scotland on October 31st. In the autumn nations cup Wales will face-off against Ireland, England, Georgia and either France, Fiji, Italy or Scotland. 

Venues to be announced.

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Post by No9 on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 10:27 pm

Pivac has to go... Any head coach who thinks Byron Hayward and Jonathan Humphries are good, never mind international coaches, is obviously not fit to hold onto his role.

If we dont get a good result in the Autumn Cup, and I dont mean beating Georgia, then the WRU need to give him his marching orders.

He's just undone all the hard work done over last 12 years under Gatland.

We've become a laughing stock again.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 10:40 pm

If you think he's undone 'all the hard work' then perhaps you don't know what the all hard work actually was?

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 10:45 pm

Pivac won't be sacked. He'll get rid of his assistants before he leaves.

This was always likely to happen at some stage. I didn't think it would be immediate, more like some time in the middle.

There's too much judging of results and not seeing the positives. The Scotland performance was terrible yet Wales could still have easily won the game - it was terrible primarily because Scotland are not a good team. The England, France, and Ireland performances were all better. The worry is that maybe Wales are back to 'playing the opposition' - able to raise their game v better teams, but still lose, while incapable of dominating a poorer team like Scotland or, who knows, Samoa. That shows a real lack of confidence and identity as I've said elsewhere. Something fundamental is missing to this Welsh team. They tried to go back to basic but that was a worse performance than anything Galtnd and Howley produced in attack. Brace absolutely killed the game, and hurt Wales, but it was still poor.

In context, Wales aren't a million miles away. Their forwards need to toughen up again and stop conceding soft tries. The obvious change is the defence coach if he can't stop the rot. Today was better in defence but, as mentioned, Scotland are not a good team and looked impotent for 65 minutes until Wales started to tire having done nothing to amend the scoreboard. It would be too easy reading in to the dominance performance on the gainline as a significant improvement when, in reality, Scotland are some way off the other 3 teams we lost to.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 10:55 pm

It's been a hard tournament to judge teams by. France and England probably the best two sides, but France were beaten at Murrayfield and England pretty poor in that game (albeit unplayable conditions). You're saying Scotland is some way off Ireland, and yet we finished on the same points. Very much a transitional tournament for a number of teams.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 11:04 pm

As I said, it's deeply flawed to judge things by a final result. This year in particular has been all over the place. If you just look at the England score today you might think it was a typical England-Italy game: but no, Italy played really well and forced England in to many errors and played good rugby in the middle of the pitch (lacked cutting edge/tryscorers).

I know Scottish fans will celebrate what is an improvement and a big result against a team they haven't had much success over in the last two decades but everything I see tells me the Scots are not a good team and are some way off the other 3 teams. Wales could easily leapfrog them if/when they sort things out, they have better players, plain and simply. It's about the level all teams could potentially get to. At this stage, Enland are comfortably the best team in the 6Ns as they've shown their ceiling is so much higher than the others. France are showing signs of getting back to being a top international team but still seem deeply flawed. Ireland look like the same old Ireland albeit with a bit more openness. Wales were gash today and are going through the biggest transition post 12 years of Gatland. Based on Italy's performance today, you can separate the 6Ns in to 3 tiers - and the Scots are in the bottom tier for me. That might sound like sour grapes or whatever but it isn't, I just don't see a good team coming from Scotland unless they find 5-6 big, strong players who can get them over the gainline. Given half their team is South African now, it seems like I'm not the only one who thinks this, either.

Reading too much in to the two games you mention would be the epitome of wishful thinking. The England game was a washout and France well and truly choked, in the truest sense, when they gained the favourites tag. There are some top players in the Scottish team but AS a team, I don't rate them at all. I think you'll get blown away by any team that can front up to you but also plays even just 10% more attacking rugby than Wales did today. I see too many weaknesses for Scotland that will come out in different styles v different opponents. They'll get exploited.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 11:20 pm

No9 wrote:Pivac has to go... Any head coach who thinks Byron Hayward and Jonathan Humphries are good, never mind international coaches, is obviously not fit to hold onto his role.

If we dont get a good result in the Autumn Cup, and I dont mean beating Georgia, then the WRU need to give him his marching orders.

He's just undone all the hard work done over last 12 years under Gatland.

We've become a laughing stock again.

Fair comments, there’s nothing to prove otherwise so far so I don’t get why you’re receiving idiot replies Headscratch

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Post by TightHEAD on Sat 31 Oct 2020, 11:36 pm

Give the guy a chance.

Can't stand fans asking for the coach to be fired.

It's not Soccer!
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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 6:17 am

Pivac or his staff won't get sacked, now the WRU is struggling for cash with the pandemic. He or some of his staff will probably not get an extension at their two year point however.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 6:56 am

Unless the WRU manages to buy someone like Pat Lam out of his contract, the 4 year cycle means Pivac is highly unlikely to be sacked. It would be surprising if Wales don't hit a rich vein of form at some point before the end of next year when the contract will be reviewed: it's at that point I imagine we may see a shake up of back room staff.

Who's better than Pivac? After turning down Dave Rennie, which was the option I thought and hoped Wales would go for, there's no one really banging on the door. Dai Young, currently out of a job and struggling to find a new one? The tragedy is there is literally no Welsh coach that has the credibility to compete for the job and, once again, this should be a period where the WRU and Welsh rugby starts focusing more on the grassroots of the game and to rebuild the actual foundations of Welsh rugby - coaching and playing - instead of papering over the cracks by throwing money at world class coaches for the national team. Particularly once this whole virus saga starts becoming less important and we need to actually deal with the massive financial costs of crashing the economy.

Pivac is a decent, even a good, head coach who did very good things at the Scarlets - but they were primarily based on recruitment within a club environment. The same issue that Rob Baxter has and we may well see if he gets the England job: recruitment isn't an asset when it comes to international rugby. Yes, maybe there's some lateral ability to pick up men like Tompkins and Rowlands who look like they'll win lots of caps over the next few years and will be good assets to the squad, but there's only so far that kind of database approach and good 'eye' for an unsung player can go as a test coach.

If Pivac is struggling this badly, it's not just his fault. It's not just the assistant coaches' fault, either. This is a facile and rabid reaction and part of the embarrassing football blame culture of 'sack X' as soon as things start going less than ideally.

The regions are fairly crap. Grassroots rugby is dying. We haven't had nearly as many good or very good players breaking through in the last 5 years compared to the previous 10 years. Welsh coaching is in an absolute state at every single level of the game but more dramatically in pro coaching. This makes Gatland's success look even more impressive as Wales are swiftly slipping behind the other tier 1 nations when it comes to infrastructure and a system to work from; the best young Welsh players are now coming through the English schools and academy system (LRZ, Ioan Lloyd, Sheedy etc). This should be a MONUMENTAL wake up call but, sadly, it is something that reflects society outside rugby and ties in to a wider social, cultural, and economic trend of divestment in what actually produces excellence or even competence in both private and public organisations and services.

Moaning about Pivac is fair enough after that Scotland game. Clearly something is missing from international rugby and the team's attempt to 'get back to basics' and put in a pseudo-Shaun Edwards gameplan didn't really work when their maul defence couldn't deal with a simple openside peel that scored from 20m out. Something is wrong with the top end coaching with Pivac and co, however missing the bigger picture about what is wrong with Welsh rugby just so you can moan about...missing Gatland...as if he was perfect and fixed everything that needed fixing in Welsh rugby, is boring, uninformed, and reactionary.

If Pivac is failing this badly it is a sign of many things; one of those things is that Welsh rugby, from academy and semi pro up to the regional level, is not fit for purpose at present when it comes to competing in the Six Nations. Wales could not and should not play Gatlandball forever. Evolution is necesssary, and such a drop off in form and results under Pivac is more reflective of where Welsh rugby is when you look at regional performances and results over the last 10 years.

The club/regional game in Wales needs fixing. It's that simple. Produce a healthy, competitive regional environment and Wales will be better for it. The most obvious thing for the national team is to rediscover an emotional meaning and motivation when it comes to playing for Wales. They don't have the defensive hunger any more and cannot build their emotions around that. Clearly. So, they need to find another source. Not sure where it's coming from at the moment. That performance looked unfocused and lacking in self belief, particularly ball in hand. It looked a bit like Australia and France were when at their worst. Rediscover a purpose - and that is up to Pivac to instill that, and to find the kind of leaders the national team has lost over the last 3 years - and Wales will likely turn what are relatively narrow defeats in to wins. But the bigger issue still remains: Welsh rugby is struggling massively and is in danger of dying. I'd rather the WRU focus on that rather than trying to find someone to replace Pivac. As of yet, there are many indications that some of the benefits he and SJ bring as a coaching ticket have been passed on to the national team; unfortunately, they were less evident against Scotland than v England and Ireland.

Let's see how this next block of games go. If there's no backlash and improvement then we're in trouble because it becomes a true losing streak. But as of yet, there's still a lot of decent to good things about Pivac's tenure. Results just haven't been one of them.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 7:25 am

Also, I'd look to Scotland as a good example of how to fix the game.

The Super 6 tournament is a great way of adding a failsafe or net to catch players who miss out on a club contract but can still bounce back up if they perform well. By contrast, the next tier for Welsh rugby is pants and the massive drop off in standard in the Welsh Prem is a major issue.

On the flipside, I don't want the WRU to have the same approach to the SRU when it comes to foreign players. I don't want the Welsh team to become a South African 5th XV full of rejects, imports, and project players. It makes the whole supporting of international rugby a farce and makes any success largely meaningless. There is a significant grey area when it comes to certain players, particularly in England, but if any NH national team needs to fill 1/3 of its matchday squad with imports then it's become a joke and covers over the fact that the actual country isn't producing the national team's players. International rugby should be a reflection of...wait for it...the national game within a country. It shouldn't be about who can attract the best Saffas and Kiwis with pro club contracts due to economic might.

The increasingly corporate influence in the game will always, always take the easiest and most demonstratively beneficial policy when it comes to growth and improvement: quite simply, that means importing players over funding the game and creating infrastructure that is highly inefficient when it comes to producing top class international rugby players. However, the latter scenario is literally the measure by which rugby actually works as a true system of growth and internal replenishment. The comfort with which most people seem to accept that allowing the game in Wales to die, while ploughing ever increasing money in to the hands of foreign talent, is sadly reflective of the wider economic model that disincentivises replenishment and protection of the country as it is, because it is less efficient and less immediate than external solutions. It's a joke and it's testament to how you need actual rugby men in an organisation, not just corporate jobsworths. There's a balance; sport is not a hedge fund. It is not some consumer product or brand that produces one of 500 types of slightly different biscuit. It has far more meaning and is far more culturally resonant and reflective of society - mass attendance of commercial sport played a big part in replacing active participation in church ffs. It's not just some plaything for management to dabble in before getting a job managing an airport.

It's also a bitter scenario where money is being artificially funnelled out of the men's game to fund the women's game in the hope a secondary 'product' can be produced that women will want to buy given that they are earning more and are more education than their male contemporaries (after 30+ years of active preference over boys in the school/education system). In football as in rugby. And how long will it take until we have women's rugby advertising itself as a 'truer' reflection of national pride or national identity when the men's game is basically a cosmopolitan, multinational commonwealth XV festival where the NH sides are packed full of Saffas, Islanders, Kiwis, and Australians? I reckon it will come sooner than we might expect.

So, lessons to be learned by looking at the SRU. Namely in sorting out the club game and the space between regions and clubs. However, I wouldn't want Wales to 'solve' the problem the way Scotland have done with a primarily non-Scottish squad (while compensating for that by getting rid of Cotter...!).

Tbh, Wales cannot sustain 4 regions. That much is glaringly obvious and has been for a long time. If the Dragons were still useless it would be very hard to justify their continued existence, however they've finally turned themselves around, have a good head coach, and may well become competitive again. It's been over 10 years since they were semi-competitive and that's too long a period of underachievement. However, they deserve a chance. If it doesn't work then it needs to be looked at again - the answer may well be in combining regions. And I almost think the best solution might be to rip it up and start again. You can't just kill the Dragons to keep the other 3, it's not like the Blues and the Ospreys haven't had their periods in the pits as well. The Scarlets are the only side that has been half decent in recent years and have been there or thereabouts year on year, even with coaching and playing disruptions due to overachievement. But, it's not working. The regional system isn't working. Much of Scotland's rebirth was staked on Glasgow's surge that seemed to begin around 2012ish. And yes, much of that was due to a good crop of young talent, but it's also a benefit of having a concentrated pool of players and talent within one team.

At the moment, the regions are coached by foreigners. The teams are packed full of foreign players. It's not as if Wales have an opportunity problem - as mentioned, good Welsh players are finding greener grass in England. That's not a problem with lack of opportunity, only maybe Josh Adams applies there, and that was due to poor luck to be coming through at a time when the Scarlets were very well stocked in his position with two Lions back 3s. The issue isn't there's more talent than space; it's that talent is stagnating in a system where winning isn't expected or demanded, excellence isn't championed, and England offers a far, far superior opportunity for many young rugby players to both make it pro but also expand horizons, benefit educationally and professionally etc. Is it really helping Wales to be largely uncompetitive in regional rugby? No. It's not. It may have worked in the short term to mean good players weren't tired/injured when it comes to playing for the national team, but AWJ came through an Ospreys team with Justin Marshall, Marty Holah, Jerry Collins, Shane Williams, Gavin Henson, Ryan Jones etc. in it. Mat Protheroe, for instance, left and went to Bristol, didn't make the grade, and now his 'second chance' back in Wales is coming in an Ospreys team where the stars are...Dan Lydiate? You cannot siphon off the top like that and not expect it to destroy the structure for the next generation. And that is what has happened and what continued non-competitive participation in Celtic Rugby is guaranteeing.

If/when the club game restructures, then Welsh rugby needs to think about ripping up its pro game. The Pro14/Celtic rugby venture hasn't really worked as the Irish have monopolised it as mentioned through several ways and means, and it has a produced a system where perpetual Irish success and Welsh failure has created a norm where - without changing anything - Welsh rugby will just continue dying and declining. Creating a meaningful layer of club rugby can work. Maybe a 6 team league like Scotland have. The 4 'club regions' as they are now with a north Wales and 'Valleys' team in S Wales to make it 6. Possibly. You then have Wales split in to two super regions when it comes to European competition or whatever is going to replace the Heineken, whether it's B&I or just another European tiered system. East and West Wales. Who cares about the names, give them generic ones. West plays at the Liberty and the Parc, plays in black and red. East plays in Newport and Cardiff and plays in whatever colours they want, patchwork, who cares. Re-create region-specific club rivlaries beneath the top tier of the game because, clearly, this half in half out measure of regions as they stand hasn't work. You still have parochialism that keeps people away from the regions, but more importantly the lack of success is what drives apathy: look at the Ospreys crowds in 2008 v 2018. Success is what matters, and by pooling together talent in super regions it can only be good for Welsh rugby in the long run. In my opinion.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 9:50 am

RiscaGame wrote:Pivac or his staff won't get sacked, now the WRU is struggling for cash with the pandemic. He or some of his staff will probably not get an extension at their two year point however.

That’s what I had in mind, but I thought the autumn nations cup would conclude his two year contract with us, or do we have a 6 Nations later in the year? Hard to tell where the season is...

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 10:17 am

I assume it'll be up to and including the Autumn Internationals next year?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 11:05 am

Would be madness to jettison Pivac so quickly. Given the wru have gone for a coach with such a different philosophy to Gatland you simply have to give him time to get ideas across, performance will follow.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 12:13 pm

He’ll get his 2 years at least. It’s just going to be painful to watch.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 12:45 pm

I think fans shouting for Pivac to be sacked. should really take a step back and maybe realise that he as some big shoe's to filL Taking over from Gatland after the world cup. he needs time to get the the squad ( wales)  to play they way he wants them to play.

This pandemic has not helped him or Wales in any way.
Maybe if Wales finish in 5th place next 6ns the fans may have just cause to say sack him.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 01 Nov 2020, 3:10 pm

“ The Wales coach does have a reported two-year break clause in his deal - which runs until 2023 - meaning his role can be assessed next year.”

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 02 Nov 2020, 9:23 pm

The case for going down to 2 super regions has never been more stark.

All 4 regions and the national team losing within the same 'weekend' to opposition they should (mostly) be beating.

Not fit for purpose as things stand.

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Post by TJ on Tue 03 Nov 2020, 6:24 am

At the risk of getting flamed and accepting I do not know the details clearly but this is my view as a Scotland fan on Wales slide


1) - you came up against a Scotland team that is further down the rebuilding road than Wales are and that are finally finding a cohesive style
2) Gatland had the team overperforming / greater than the sum of the parts
3) Too many of the welsh players are over the peak of their careers and the youth have not got the experience either at club or country level. More youngsters should have been brought thru. Keeping the older stars in the regions has reduced chances for the youngsters to get game time. Scotlands youngsters now have experience - Wales's do not. this caused Scotland pain over the years but we reap the rewards now.
4) the strength of teams is cyclical. The wheel has turned on this welsh team. Its time for a rebuild which will take time

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Tue 03 Nov 2020, 8:40 am

All fair assessments, I don't think anyone will 'flame' you.

On the young player and experience point, I think it's also simply a matter of talent. From the late 90s to mid 2000s, Wales had a hugely experienced group of players break through. Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones, Gavin Henson, Stephen Jones, Shane Williams. Some really top players. From the mid 2000s to early 2010s, we had another brilliant crop: Faletau, Sam Warburton, AWJ, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Tipuric, Leigh Halfpenny, George North.

From 2012ish to 2020, we simply haven't had as many top players come through. We've had two 'golden generations' of rugby talent back to back. Depending on how you count Liam Williams given he was an established Scarlet by 2011, the only player I can think of would be Josh Adams, and he came a roundabout way to his position. Ellis Jenkins might fit but his career has been devastated by injuries. Rhys Webb would probably be in latter 'generation' as well but he had similar injury issues. Navidi has proben to be useful but isn't quite top class and took his time to get there, Moriarty isn't Warburton class, Cory Hill not AWJ pedigree, Owen Watkin never lived up to the promise he made at U20 level. And at present, there are no outstanding players in their early 20s, either. From Macauly Cook to Lloyd Peers to Rory Thornton - and it's no coincidence it's in those positions, either - the talented players at youth level are simply not translating that in to the national or regional game.

It's cyclical, as you say, but I also think it's structural and societal/systemic. That's a discussion for another time but the academy system only works if it truly produces elite players in an elite environment. Evidently, it isn't doing that - it's providing players with more opportunity than they had 20 years ago, but is it selecting the right players? Is it picking kids at 11 or 14 and forsaking too much talent under the guise of an 'elite' programme that is still a lot about who you know, where you live etc., while letting smaller clubs rot and completely ignoring schools rugby.

There hasn't been a young, exciting Welsh player for a while: LRZ is perhaps the only one and, yes, as I mentioned earlier, he's come through Hartpury and the English system, which is exactly the point I'm making about what needs to change in the WRU/Welsh rugby structure. The absence of these players coming through in quick succession is a great sign that talent is sometimes just a matter of chance, and sometimes it's because the systems aren't doing their best to create them. I look at Rhys Carre and can see a Gethin Jenkins type talent in 4-5 years time, but not yet. He got a pasting in the scrum by virtue of simply being too tall. Wyn Jones shored up the scrum and Wales battered Scotland at the next one, before bringing on a tighthead who we know cannot scrummage, killing the benefit gained by the switch. Carre might become a top, top player, but he's not there yet, in a position where you're judged on set piece more than open play ability, and it's ok not right to expecting the rare talented players like Carre or LRZ or Adams to be driving the Welsh team. The lack of ability, particularly in the boilerhouse of the pack, that Wales produces is a major issue, hence having to go to England to fit some in Rowlands and Ball. Other than that, it's a shame we have talents like Jordan Williams and more recently Sam Costelow in such small bodies - we could do with another Henson type player, talent and physical ability. At the moment we either produce one or the other.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 12:39 pm

Good news. Byron Hayward leaves role as defence coach with immediate effect.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 4:13 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Good news. Byron Hayward leaves role as defence coach with immediate effect.

Depends who you get in though. Edwards made the Welsh team look better than it was in my opinion. They had a monster defence to fall back on when the often limited attacking game plan or average scrum surfaced over the last couple of years. Edwards is a tough act to follow, just look at what he's done with France over not very long.

rugby racing and beer, I'd say there is long talent but Wales don't like picking it from England. Adams only really came into it once they knew they could tempt him home. I'm somewhat baffled by how Young is overlooked particularly given how poor James Davies was the other weekend. Costelow is small in stature but he tackles hard and pound for pound very impressive. Tigers fans are concerned he's not backed the right horse as he shouldn't be sat in the stands for most of the Scarlets games, he'd have played more had he stayed at Tigers.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 4:21 pm

Good of Pivac/WRU to throw him under the bus. Wonder who will take the blame next, when we only win one game in this Autumn Nations malarkey.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 5:00 pm

Sam, I think Gethin Jenkins is filling in for now. I’ve no idea who we could bring in as a replacement but hopefully it’s someone from overseas. Hayward had to go, there was no reason for him to get the job in the first place. You would think Humphreys is on thin ice too - if that answers your question Risca.

Sam also agree with you on James Davies, always overrated out West. We have a few 7’s who seem capable of stepping up but I also think we need to bring Young home. Ospreys look as if they need another capable 7 to step in. Possibly Scarlets too. Dragons and Blues have plentiful.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 6:20 pm

Mikey the Welsh regions had their chance and really most of them should have been at least in contact he's a class act week in week out.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/thomas-young-interview-exiled-star-18734741.amp

He seems to think he's now in exile because no one offered him a contract. The WRU need to sort that out and get him involved.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 7:01 pm

Yeah there should have been contact at least but nobody needed a 7. There should be contact now as like you say he’s one of the best in the Prem. Apparently, he would still be eligible if nobody offered.

Tigers academy might have dumped Morgan Jones a bit too soon. He’s been pretty good since joining Scarlets academy. He’s a big lock and looks good at this level too.

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Post by TJ on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 7:13 pm

Squidge rugby analysis is interesting - and remeber he is a welsh fan.




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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 8:48 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Yeah there should have been contact at least but nobody needed a 7. There should be contact now as like you say he’s one of the best in the Prem. Apparently, he would still be eligible if nobody offered.

Tigers academy might have dumped Morgan Jones a bit too soon. He’s been pretty good since joining Scarlets academy. He’s a big lock and looks good at this level too.

Morgan Jones left in 2017 when MOC was in charge. Can't blame him. MOC never showed any interest in developing anybody or creating a pathway from the academy. Was he another Hinckley school lad?

Irrespective of whether you desperately need a 7 you should be after Young if you have the chance to get him in below market value (using the carrot of international rugby). Dragons Wainwright/Young/Moriarty, Blues Jenkins/Young/Navidi then Scarlets as an upgrade or Ospreys just to get some young blood into that backrow.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 10:03 pm

TJ wrote:Squidge rugby analysis is interesting - and remeber he is a welsh fan.




What did you find interesting about it?

I learnt that Steve Tandy employs a SH style defence and is cutting his cloth with Scotland. I’ve seen cries for him to come home but I think it’s best that he stay with Scotland for a while. That defensive style usually isn’t good at defending against the ABs, just an observation I’ve made.

Scotland were smarter but we already knew that. Seems like Pivac has ripped up everything Gatland did to do his own thing, and it’s not working. He’s on borrowed time and Hayward has already gone.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 08 Nov 2020, 10:08 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Yeah there should have been contact at least but nobody needed a 7. There should be contact now as like you say he’s one of the best in the Prem. Apparently, he would still be eligible if nobody offered.

Tigers academy might have dumped Morgan Jones a bit too soon. He’s been pretty good since joining Scarlets academy. He’s a big lock and looks good at this level too.

Morgan Jones left in 2017 when MOC was in charge. Can't blame him. MOC never showed any interest in developing anybody or creating a pathway from the academy. Was he another Hinckley school lad?

Irrespective of whether you desperately need a 7 you should be after Young if you have the chance to get him in below market value (using the carrot of international rugby). Dragons Wainwright/Young/Moriarty, Blues Jenkins/Young/Navidi then Scarlets as an upgrade or Ospreys just to get some young blood into that backrow.

Well if it’s to be believed he was ready to declare for Wales since boyhood. He was in the Exiles programme anyway but you definitely let a good one go. I think so as he was from Hinckley.

Dragons and Blues have very good back-row forwards, so for them the money is best invested elsewhere - like 2nd row. Young is a class player right now though. He must be looking at Tips and Davies and laughing. He would be needed at Ospreys, they seem to have less 7’s than the others, hence why Lydiate is playing there.

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Post by TJ on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 6:00 am

Micky - the interesting point was that Pivac has changed the playing style / formation and its not bedded in yet.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 9:45 am

TJ wrote:Squidge rugby analysis is interesting - and remeber he is a welsh fan.




Barely.

He's English with Welsh parents and a monumental virtue signaller who tried to 'out' Courtney Lawes' father to 'win' a twitter argument and ended up doxxing (i.e. revealing the private information) of the wrong man.

He jumped the shark a while ago.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 9:59 am

TJ wrote:Micky - the interesting point was that Pivac has changed the playing style / formation and its not bedded in yet.
The parts about that structure without Parkes carrying but Watkins ability as a first receiver is interesting. Watkins, Tompkins and Williams are all talented centres but they really need JDv2 to find his best form for any of them to bed in.

A discussion for a different thread but Scotland playing a passive defence increases the worth of Harris as a 13. He's a vanilla in attack but makes good decisions defensively which is important if the outside defence can give the opposition room by being less aggressive.

Wales have plenty of talented youngsters but the senior players haven't been performing under Pivac.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 10:00 am

RiscaGame wrote:Good of Pivac/WRU to throw him under the bus. Wonder who will take the blame next, when we only win one game in this Autumn Nations malarkey.

Agreed. This has the hallmarks of a football manager throwing his assistant to the wolves. Like Brendan Rodgers the summer before he lost his job getting rid of Colin Pascoe.

The defence hasn't been good but it was markedly better v Scotland. If he doesn't trust him now, did he ever trust him?

I can't help but feel this is the wrong move. They should have stuck with him or ditched the coaching ticket completely. This has all the hallmarks of what I was saying earlier - the Welsh players don't know what/how to play without the emotional bedrock of being able to rely on their defensive structure and systems. The worry is they've given up and now want to 'go back' to what they knew - but that's not Pivac, they won't be getting Shaun Edwards...so what is it? It's a weird, unsustainable period that will lead to something changing in the near future. Is Gethin Jenkins going to become defensive coach?

For what it's worth, I think the new defensive system could have worked. The whole point is that Pivac's rugby is far harder to play and play well than Gatland's - but it has a higher pay off when it works. The issue was Wales had almost no turnover threat. Ellis Jenkins injured, Josh Macleod injured, Navidi injured for parts...they didn't have the personnel to make it work. The defensive system worked well at the Scarlets and was the perfect way of transitioning from defence in to attack - which Edwards' system is useless at because they're all knackered from defending the gainline so hard and for so long. It seems a regressive move to turn away from this style of rugby as, clearly, the Welsh team is not going to win playing Gatlandball with the players they now have - much smaller/less athletic relatively than they were 5-10 years ago compared to England, France - and most importantly because they don't have Gatland. So why have they got rid of him? It smacks of appeasing the WRU before Pivac eventually gets the chop.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 10:00 am

And as for 'celebrating' a man losing his job during a pandemic and the resulting massive economic backlash we're inevitably going to face...classless. But typical.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 10:02 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:Pivac won't be sacked. He'll get rid of his assistants before he leaves.

That said, I did call it...

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 10:08 am

king_carlos wrote:
TJ wrote:Micky - the interesting point was that Pivac has changed the playing style / formation and its not bedded in yet.
The parts about that structure without Parkes carrying but Watkins ability as a first receiver is interesting. Watkins, Tompkins and Williams are all talented centres but they really need JDv2 to find his best form for any of them to bed in.

Not sure what Jean de Villiers will bring to the Wales team...

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 09 Nov 2020, 10:23 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Good news. Byron Hayward leaves role as defence coach with immediate effect.

rugby racing and beer, I'd say there is long talent but Wales don't like picking it from England. Adams only really came into it once they knew they could tempt him home. I'm somewhat baffled by how Young is overlooked particularly given how poor James Davies was the other weekend. Costelow is small in stature but he tackles hard and pound for pound very impressive. Tigers fans are concerned he's not backed the right horse as he shouldn't be sat in the stands for most of the Scarlets games, he'd have played more had he stayed at Tigers.

By long you mean lots, right? Hopefully...? Anyway there is, as mentioned, lots of Welsh players in England - and that's part of the problem. At least at youth level. Costelow is another example of the English scholarship system taking Welsh players out of the system. It drains the talent pool considerably and it's showing: the players coming through for Wales (either in Wales or England, it should be said) are not as good as the players coming through during the last 15-20 years. In my opinion, but I think it would be hard to argue against - I think we've had two back-to-back 'golden' generations of Welsh players that are as much a product of socio-economic factors allowing talent to succeed during the boom periods of the 90s and 00s when these young players were growing up. Post-recession, the world is a very different place, hence the elite programmes in place - both in Wales and in terms of Welsh players leaving to England for a much, much better chance in life than staying in Wales even if they don't make it in rugby. Add in other social factors, like computer games, social media etc., decrease in people playing rugby, football's rise, and there are many reasons why the already small pool of Welsh talent has noticeably evaporated recently when it comes to producing top international players.

As for the players mentioned, I'm not quite sure I agree with your assessments. Adams was very much picked by Wales long before he was deemed good enough by a region: in fact, it was his international form that dictated where he's playing. Gatland 'had a look' at him and it worked out beautifully - he's tried it with other players and it hasn't worked. I think you've got the chronology the wrong way round there: Wales would pick Adams whatever the case, and it just so happened that his value was then high enough to the regions for them to spend good money on bringing him back to Wales. James Davies' time has largely passed now, his form was much better 4-5 years ago, but I don't think Young is the answer, either. It's very, very easy to compare club rugby with test rugby and end up favouring the club player...of course they'll look better than the test player, they're playing a different standard of rugby. I don't think Young is particularly 'good'. Or at least, he's good, but he's not 'break the bank' good. And that's the reason why he isn't at one of the regions: Wasps will be paying him very well. Why would he move? He's not as good as Tipuric or Warburton before him. I'd like him to have had a few more opportunities but I also think Ellis Jenkins is a better openside as well and when you put Navidi in the mix, he comes out at around 5th choice for Wales when all options were available prior to Warburton's retirement. He'd still be around 3rd choice now with Jenkins' long term absence. I think he's better than Macelod but then how much better? It's hard to say. I'm not sure Young is a quality test player. 7 isn't a position Wales are weak in, anyway - 8, 12, props, locks. That's where we struggle and it's no surprise that that's where our foreigners are or have been in the recent past. Costelow will get game time soon enough with the Scarlets who have a good track record of maximising young talent where the other regions probably kill it (the odd exception like Adams aside), he's still young, though I can see Leicester's disappointment with losing him.

I'm not sure Wales have a long history of disregarding English-based players to be honest. The rule is the rule, in its various forms, about playing in Wales. I think we ignore French-based players far more than we do those in England. Perhaps for obvious reasons.

I'm not sure that's the major issue when it comes to the lack of concentrated talent breaking through in Wales, though. Players tend to end up in England either because the schools/univerisities are far better, or because they're not better than their Welsh competition (Sam Lewis etc). We've picked enough English players in the last decade to suggest there's no problem with looking over the border.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 12:24 pm

One change to the starting line up. In effect it's no changes, as Tipuric was initially named to start against Scotland. That's crazy.

The bench is pretty pointless too. How has Dee suddenly leapt ahead of Parry? Why not have Moriarty or Navidi on the bench. Moriarty has seemingly trained more than Navidi, so he should definitely be ready. I would probably have had Hardy on the bench, as he was the initial squad selection and I don't really see the point in North, other than allegedly covering more than one position.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Shane Lewis-Hughes, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Lloyd Williams, Callum Sheedy, George North.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 12:26 pm

To try and be positive, at least we should have a bit of a solid front five when replacements are made. I have been keen to see Sheedy too (so that's good), but I don't see the point in having him on the bench.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 12:27 pm

Pivac has another shocker with selection. I am surprised he didn't select Lewis on the bench...

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Post by TJ on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 12:37 pm

On young talent breaking thru in wales - IMO there is not enough opportunity for them because the welsh have this thing about keeping their aging stars in wales thus clogging things up0

Scotland does not do this. so the youngsters get a chance to play. Russell going to France freed up a place for Hasting, Jonny Gray going south freed up a place for Scott Cummings etc etc this means our promising youngsters get regular first team rugby and develop well as a result. In wales they only get occasional chances


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 12:51 pm

Slightly surprised that Rees-Zammit isn't included at least on the bench. I suppose North covers outside centre too these days but looking in his form hasn't been great for a while.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 1:36 pm

I like the team. I like that the players have the chance to right the wrongs of the Scotland game. I think that's far better than arbitrarily dropping a player here or there.

He's had his bedding in period. He tinkered with selection and gave everyone a good go across all 5 games, particularly so in the main 4 earlier in the year pre-lockdown. However, that had to come to an end eventually - and it definitely had to take a back seat after the Scotland game, which to me was the only unacceptable loss Wales had actually had so far. The French and Ireland losses were disappointing, but not unacceptable - the Scotland defeat was.

So, time to stop playing games or trying to be too clever, and that means giving the players a chance to sort the mess that they made last time out. I refuse to believe that the try, for instance, with its non existent maul defence can be placed at the hands of the coaches. At least not solely. That's just poor, unenthusiastic play - and that's on the players.

There's no one really screaming for reintroduction in to the team. Shane Lewis Hughes was one of the better performers and there's no outstanding blindside in the absence of Moriarty. Carre obviously offers a lot in the loose but is clearly a weakness in the scrum, partly inexperience, partly his height. Jake Ball will add something from the bench, very good to have him back, one of Wales' more underrated players and worth his weight in gold when he plays well. Rowlands...the dury's out, there's so little to judge him on, so big test for him to show his level. Watkin is no better or worse than Tompkins it seems at the moment, it's a problem position still. There's time for Johnny Williams - and eventually Haloholo - to have a go in the 12 shirt.

There's a fair amount of tinkering on the bench, which I'm less sure about. Tough game for Sheedy to be thrown in. Very tough, particularly as Wales look pretty poor in the 10 shirt, including Biggar, sadly. Big game for Samson. Can't argue with Lloyd Williams getting a shot, he's a bit like Wales' Ben Youngs: solid, pretty good, never quite top class but rarely poor.

I can't see Wales winning. If they lose the knives will really be out for Pivac. Eesh...

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 1:37 pm

TJ wrote:On young talent breaking thru in wales - IMO there is not enough opportunity for them because the welsh have this thing about keeping their aging stars in wales thus clogging things up0

Scotland does not do this.  so the youngsters get a chance to play.  Russell going to France freed up a place for Hasting, Jonny Gray going south freed up a place for Scott Cummings etc etc  this means our promising youngsters get regular first team rugby and develop well as a result.  In wales they only get occasional chances


Complete nonsense from start to finish.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 1:54 pm

Anyone who's worked under or played under weak leadership of any kind knows almost instantly that things are 'wrong'.

I wonder what the players felt going from Gatland to Pivac. How much less professional, less inspirational, less coherent and all that has it felt? The players would have felt that almost instantly as well - as they had their first game back under Pivac not long after Japan.

That can drain the life out of you when you realise you've taken a step back - particularly when the nature of life, and a sport like rugby, is that constant growth and improvement is essential.

I did think the fact AWJ came out and contradicted Pivac about the 'rusty' comment post-France was a warning sign that things aren't cohesive. It's not a major thing on the surface but the whole team has a look and feel of a group of players losing faith in what they're doing. The positive gains that were made in the 6Ns with regard to the attacking game have all but dried up.

Compare Wales under Howley to Wales under Gatland and you see the impact he made. Yes, 2013 was a big comeback, but Gats did step in after the debacle of the autumn 2012 campaign. The 2016/2017 Welsh team under Howley was noticeably weaker - losing to Scotland, something Gatland never did.

I still maintain that, long term, this has to be seen as a good thing. Revealing the weaknesses that Gatland mitigated means they should be solved by those in charge of dealing with them. It puts the onus on people in positions of leadership not just coasting along and enjoying the gravy train of the WRU and regional rugby, but actually working hard to make Welsh rugby everything it can be.

The next 3 games are key. Pivac has the look of a dead man walking at the moment but one or two big wins against England or Ireland and things have a completely different feel. There was always going to be a decline post-Gatland: it's about working out what is acceptable and what isn't, both short and long term. In the 6Ns, for me, the performances were positive with something to build on, albeit flawed in their execution, particularly defensively and then accuracy and ruthlessness with ball in hand. They should have beaten France, were close to beating Ireland but for errors in both attack and defence, and held their own v England in that typical comeback manner. They did fairly well v a good French team a fortnight ago and it's only the Scotland game in which their attack was useless and the overall performance unacceptable. So far, the Scotland performance is an anomaly - if they can't sort that out by the end of next year, then Pivac is gone, clearly, probably before the end of the 6Ns.

Losing the confidence and stability Gatland gave them has to be a wake up call to sort the regions out. Pivac is in his job because of his overperformance with the Scarlets. The other 3 regions have been poor and now the Scarlets have been penalised again by losing Brad Mooar and it looks like we have 4 poor regions for the time being. There's no divine right for Wales to be good at rugby and the sooner people in leadership positions work that out, the better. I would expect Wales to be outplayed and lose v Fiji if they meet this series. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. It's worse than just Pivac and what looks like disharmony between coaches and players.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:15 pm

Should probably wait for the initial press conference before giving my thoughts on selection. Moriarty has rolled an ankle. I think we may have seen him on the bench otherwise.

I don’t mind players getting the chance to rectify things as such. Had Moriarty been fit, I personally would maybe have put him in over Faletau. If you’re going to have Sheedy in the 23 (Patchell apparently has a knock too), I would maybe start him with the stronger 9. I get it’s a tough game to play in, but he could theoretically come on early anyway, if Biggar gets injured.

I would probably play Liam Williams 15 personally, but I am sure they’ll want him to compete for kicks directly against Lowe.

Pivac is creating a rod for his own back. If he plays people like LRZ, at least he can hide behind the fact that he is playing players that “The Rugby Mad Welsh Public” want him to play. By going same again after such a poor performance, obviously people are going to jump on that straight away if there’s another poor performance. With the likes of The National Media of Wales clickbaiting opinion pieces to get the RMWP even more wound up, I think I would have maybe considered a change or two.


Last edited by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 4:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:18 pm

Plus by only dropping James Davies, he is again appearing to be scapegoating Wink

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:26 pm

Agree that Moriarty would make a big difference to the Wales team as he usually does every time he plays. I'd like to see Moriarty and Tipuric as the flankers as the first choice. Not sure they've even played together under Pivac yet. It's time for Faletau to show what he's about. He was the best 8 in the world 2-3 years ago but has been dogged by injuries since. Big chance for Wainwright to show what he's got as well, I can't see anything special to justify the hype yet but hope he finds his niche and grows in to the sport.

Halfpenny was the best Welsh player v Scotland in terms of postive:negative contributions for me. He's in the form of his life over the last 2 years or so, he's undroppable in my opinion. The days of Liam Williams carving up the field from 15 are probably few and far between now, he's much more of a known entity and never had top end pace or anything like Hogg has to make him unplayable - he's just a very talented, versatile footballer. The back 3 basically picks itself tbh. LRZ hasn't shown he deserves a place over North so fair enough. I'd be tempted to start North and have Sanjay on the bench just for some power which we're so lacking in but can't really complain with the way he's gone.

Ireland will be gruelling opponents. They're dealing with their own frustrations and team rebuilding. The fact they nearly won the 6Ns was a bit of a joke considering they barely looked better than Wales for most of it but they do know how to grind a weak team down and to squeeze errors (and the life) out of the opposition. I can see Wales huffing and puffing with ball in hand and it all coming to nothing, as it did a lot of the time out in Dublin. And I'm not sure selection is the issue, either. If this is going to work in the future, they need a talented 9-10-12 axis. At the moment, they have talented 9s, but substandard 10s, and non-test quality 12s. Biggar is good but he's not a footballer and it shows as defences just drift when he gets the ball as he won't attack the line with any real threat. Patchell hasn't cut it, Jarrod neither. Maybe it was worth throwing Sheedy in? I really don't know. I can see the rationale for backing a young player to start instead of giving him maybe 10 mins off the bench.

I get the feeling this one won't be a classic in terms of spectacle. One for the purists. It might be close on the scoreboard though. A return to the ding dong battles of ROG and SJ swapping drop goals?

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The Wales squad - Scotland, Autumn Nations Cup, and beyond  - Page 4 Empty Re: The Wales squad - Scotland, Autumn Nations Cup, and beyond

Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 2:59 pm

Just a little 'experiment'.

18-24 months from now, post Lions tour, post old guys hanging around to try to make that Lions tour, who is likely to be in the matchday squad for Wales from this 23?

Leigh Halfpenny - he'll be approaching his 34th birthday and for a man plauged by injury, however much of a dedicated pro and top player he is, you'd have to assume he'll be phased out of the team.
Liam Williams - he'll only be 31 and while his position means any loss of pace and power will count against him, he has the skills to be able to mitigate that. Should still be around and a starting choice.
Jonathan Davies - he'll be closer to 35 than 34 by the end of 2022. Already looks like time is catching up with him. Unlikely to play for Wales after next summer.
Owen Watkin - should still be around, the issue is whether he's good enough. Not shown the requisite development from age grade rugby yet. He's 'there' by default/lack of options at the moment.
Josh Adams - great player, will definitely still be around. Not the most talented but he's maximising what he has. Reliable and solid.
Dan Biggar - he will probably still be an option for Wales and will only be 33 but surely not a starter given issues with creativity.
Gareth Davies - at 32 he will be coming to the end and there's plenty of strength in this position. Webb will likely have stopped playing by then as he'll be nearly 34. If Tomos develops properly GD should be a bench player.
Rhys Carre - all signs point to being a key Welsh player of the future.
Ryan Elias - looks like the best of the hooking options to me, should just be coming in to his peak as a player at 27 years old.
Tomas Francis - deceptively young, he'll only be 30. This whole front row should be playing for a while to come.
Will Rowlands - hard to say. Unproven at test level, a big unit, but already 29 years old. Can you teach old dogs new tricks? Probably, but we should know more by the end of the year where he stands. Looks like a Brent Cockbain to me more than a Will James or Olly Kohn.
Alun Wyn Jones (capt) - if he's still playing for Wales it has to be in a Victor Matfield manner: bit part, and just holding on until the 2023 world cup. Durability and consistency seems to be leaving him, the ability to 'get up' for big matches doesn't. Unlikely to be captain at that point and unlikely to be the first name on the team sheet, but may still be involved in some capacity.
Shane Lewis-Hughes - looks like a good young player for the future. Didn't look out of place on his first cap despite poor team performance
Justin Tipuric - he'll be 33 but looks like the kind of guy who could play until he's 40. Possibly will be phased out given the talent at 7.
Taulupe Faletau - another one deceptively young, turns 30 tomorrow. All about whether injuries can be managed. Needs to come back to Wales to manage his fitness better but may choose the family life in England (who could blame him). Hard to call, I make it evens whether his body holds up.

Elliot Dee - should still be playing well and a good Wales option for years to come fighting it out for the shirt with Elias and a few others.
Wyn Jones - will be 30 and an established player just at the peak of his powers. Solid, surely still involved.
Samson Lee - another player who's deceptively young, will only just turn 30 by the end of 2022. Has been in and out of team and can't see that being any different in the future. A good scrummaging Welsh prop would put him out of contention so for me he's on the brink.
Jake Ball - injuries seem to be killing him, otherwise one of the best locks Wales have. Maybe even be first choice. Needs to sort those shoulders out.
Aaron Wainwright - plenty of options in this position but has youth on his side and versatility by the looks of things.
Lloyd Williams - highly unlikely to still be involved. Too old, too much depth, never really established himself for Wales.
Callum Sheedy - unproven but lack of quality competition stands him in good stead.
George North - will only be 30 and possibly closing in on AWJ's caps record by then. Highly unlikely to not be involved, may move to 13 as time goes by but he's too much of a phsyical specimen to ignore.


There aren't too many players you could bank on there, and the ones that are guaranteed to still be around aren't exactly top notch players. The spine of the team needs replacing and I'm not sure that was done in the wake of 2016ish. Wales lost Roberts, Hibbard and Warburton in the space of 2 years. While other key men like Ian Evans and Adam Jones were managed without like for like replacements, Gatland's choices of Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins haven't lived up to the job: Cory Hill's decent but Ellis has had massive injury problems. That leaves an ageing AWJ, an ageing Ken Owens, an injury Gareth Anscombe, an injured Faletau, and a non-replacement at 12...there's just far too much pressure on Justin Tipuric to pick up the slack and that shows tbh.

They need to look at hooker, lock, and 8 as well as the 10-12 axis. 15 looks ok for the time being, Liam should carry on until 2023 and 1/2P will go until he's given everything he can. We could really do with Ellis Jenkins coming back to fitness and ideally a new crop of young players filling the problem positions.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 5:58 pm

If Scarlets start backing him now then the Sam Costelow and Johnny Williams combo could work well for you. Appears Costelow was rated higher at Tigers than back home in Wales though.

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