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Just too many new combinations - albeit some enforced, but if you look at Wales Gatland would happily pick almost the same 15 regardless of how they've performed recently for their clubs.
Lancaster took a pick and mix approach where he looked at the result of the Aviva final (must have been the deciding factor for going with Farrell over Ford), recent club performances (confidence in Barritt who did have a great season), and of course, choosing Burgess for his record in League not Union.
4 Months, 1 Week ago
Folau seems to be trying too hard. Obviously wants to make a big impression, but just needs bide his time a bit more and not butcher opportunities like he did in the first half.
Hooper had his usual moment of madness and was lucky not to get binned for it, but him and Pocock were immense. Beale made a big impact as well - funny how forced substitutions in both England games were instrumental in critical tries.
England once again strangely lacked composure and confidence. Why Ben Youngs was taking tap and go penalties instead of going for territory and a catch and drive is a mystery. And that Aussie scrum...wow. Wales need to make sure they don't knock on any ball on Saturday.
4 Months, 1 Week ago
England were undone by their lack of ambition. They've got one of the most potent back lines of any NH team and went with a game plan that meant that Watson or May we've given little space to attack or got much ball in hand. Jonathan Joseph's absence showed how crucial he is to England
Wales were lucky that the scrum count was relatively low, but obviously extremely unlucky with the injury count. Also, I'm getting tired of pundits sayings Faletau had a 'solid' game when he was immense as displayed by gathering the ball in the final seconds in yet another scrum going backwards - you can see why Gatland wants to keep him at the Dragons!
The Welsh discipline and composure was excellent in the second half. For me this was best captured in the way Cuthbert - in possibly one of the best things he's done for a while - picked up North's stray pass, managed to stay in field, secure the ball and lay it back, which eventually led to the try. With his poor lack of form and confidence, you would have bet your house on him spilling, knocking on, or straying into touch, but he did everything perfectly, and it was those small differences that changed the outcome.
The way the Welsh players worked in pairs at the breakdown and always made every effort to show they were supporting their weight was also critical and gained the winning penalty.
Credit must always given to 2 players I've always thought as decent club players and no more (Lloyd Williams and Gareth Davies, who I thought had a so so game) producing a moment of magic a piece - amazing in-field kick on the fly and a great support line, and that pick up was sublime. Just goes to show that although some players may not excel in one particular facet having a broad skill set can be extremely valuable at the right time.
4 Months, 2 Weeks ago
This article from Rugbyworld cup is also worth checking out, which highlights even more Tipuric's work than the video does. Without wanting to criticise Sam Warburton too much, as a Blues fan I'm always surprised how little influence he can have in club games, whereas Tipuric does this for the Ospreys every game.
There is some truth in Sam having a big game mentality and stepping up, but we've lost more of those big games than we've won. Would be more beneficial to Wales for Gatland to park his massive ego and pick the best team based on form.
5 Months, 1 Week ago
5 Months, 1 Week ago
The team selection and performances of the 2 teams just reaffirmed that Ireland have more strength in depth. Still, you wouldn't expect such an inconsistent defensive performance from Wales that included drift, gaping holes, & Hibbard doing a one man blitz.
Tipuric seems to be growing in-confidence for Wales. Interesting to see the Aussie's starting Pocock and Hopper against NZ - picking 2 opensides worked pretty well for Wales last time they did it, but for that to happen again, Warburton would have to start at 6, and you could never see Gatland doing that.
6 Months, 3 Days ago
6 Months, 2 Weeks ago
With the penalty try, it's hard to tell if the ball was travelling backwards when Brook James knocks it out. Looks like it might have been then it would have been a try scoring opportunity. Would be interesting to know what Nigel Owen's other options have been. Fofana not attempting to get anywhere near Farrell for his try reflects how one team just wanted this game more than the other.
1 Year, 9 Months ago
"Monumentales!". Damn straight.
2 Years, 1 Month ago
It's a beautiful looking forward pass
2 Years, 3 Months ago