Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Wales v Scotland: the teams

Wales v Scotland
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Gregor Townsend goes into his first Six Nations as head coach with probably more than his fair share of expectation buzzing around the squad. Although England aren’t as injury-hit as they are pretending to be, Wales definitely are – so there has been a slight worry for the last week that Scotland might have to deal with not being underdogs, even away in Cardiff.

Large swathes of the team have been predictable for weeks, and with fitness or appearances in recent training photos it seemed likely that Toony favourites like Ryan Wilson, Alex Dunbar or Tommy Seymour would slot right back in, even if they were short of game time.

That’s true in the case of Seymour, but Wilson only makes the bench as Cornell du Preez gets a chance to pick up where he left off in the autumn. No room for Dave Denton this time.

Alex Dunbar is likewise nowhere to be seen, and with Duncan Taylor also absent (head knocks both), Huw Jones and Chris Harris are the chosen centre combo. That will set the comments aflame I’m sure.

Elsewhere things are fairly much as we expected. And Murray McCallum is the next choice at tighthead, in case you were wondering.

Now that you know the teams, how do you see it going?

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Byron McGuigan, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Grant Gilchrist, Ryan Wilson, Greig Laidlaw, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); Josh Adams (Worcester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Steff Evans (Scarlets); Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys capt), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester).

Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Owen Watkin (Ospreys).

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (FFR)

Coverage on BBC, k.o 2.15pm

71 Responses

  1. Interesting looking Scotland team – McGuigan, Harris and du Preez starting. Hmm.

    At once conservative and surprising. Presumably Dunbar and Taylor are injured, and Harris has had more game time and is bigger than Bennett.

    1. I’m happy with that. A very good looking bench and remember that Jones played 12 in the Currie Cup fairly regularly, excelling there in the final.

  2. Couple of surprises in there! Chris Harris? Anyone see that coming? Is he known for his defensive qualities? Byron McGuigan too, could be deemed a ‘semi surprise’.
    That back line has tries written all over it.
    The pack looks great too, really pleased Toonie has gone with CDP.

  3. Chris Harris the bolter there that’s for sure. Must be Impressing within the camp and has been playing consistently well at a high level so not too worried at this stage. Glad gordy Reid is starting as think he offers more solidity in the scrum, bhatti will be more effective off the bench when the game opens up. Big game for CdP, he could really nail down the no 8 spot with a big performance this weekend. Can’t wait!

  4. Hmmmm. In Toony we trust I suppose, but I can’t understand the centre pairing. Jones’s defence has been called into question in recent weeks, and Harris didn’t exactly set the heather alight in his appearance against Samoa. I can only assume that Dunbar and Taylor are carrying slight knocks.

    Other than that it’s as good a team as we could put out given the injuries although I’m still not entirely sold on McGuigan. The bench in particular looks like it’ll have far more impact that their Welsh counterparts.

    1. Harris is a 13 put in the wing in his first test. His stats in the premiership are top rate. Statistically one of the top 3 centres in the league.

  5. Nothing massively surprising there. Bit conservative off the bench with Laidlaw and Horne but as expected.
    Huw Jones is good at 12, would presume some of the other centres are still not 100%. Hopefully Chris Harris will do well.
    McGuigan over Maitland to start is probably sensible – gives more cover options off the bench without having to shift everyone around too much.
    CDP wouldn’t be my choice, but hopefully he will have a solid game.

    Should be a good game and it’s certainly our best chance to beat Wales in Cardiff for some time! We should dominate the lineout and as long as our scrum doesn’t collapse we outclass them elsewhere. If we can get a couple of tries on the board early on, I don’t think they will catch us.

  6. Tooooommmmbbbooollllaaaaaaaa !!!!!!!!!

    Like the look of the forwards and very happy to see CdP get a start. Decent bench to make an impact as well. Not so sure about the backs. Harris looked lost in the AI when he came on vs Samoa but he has looked decent this season for the Falcons I guess. I hope Jones is as effective playing at inside in this team.

    I am surprised by McGuigan over Maitland given the noises coming out the camp this week. Expect Seymour to go intercept hunting against this Wales back line.

    All in all not too shabby. No Bennett in the squad though ??

    1. Right decision to start McGuigan over Maitland. McGuigan has been 2nd joint top try scorer in the aviva premiership this season whilst Maitland has not been great and this allows Seymour to play his natural position of 14

      1. Maybe so…..I just think Maitland is a classy operator at this level with bags of experience and a great game intelligence.

    2. I haven’t seen enough of McGuigan to know if I feel 100% comfortable with his selection, although his performance in November was outstanding, so we’ll hope for more of the same on Saturday. Maitland seems to be coming into form and is a tried and tested thinker and performer, so I would probably have gone for him. McGuigan will never have experienced anything like it before. GT knows what he’s doing, though, and the Welsh backline is a lot less experienced than ours. Still very hopeful.

  7. Kinghorn should have been at least on the bench. Most meters gained and most defenders beaten in the pro 14 and 2nd most clean breaks. Got to go with are form players and he is in far better form than Maitland.

    1. He’s a quality player, but it would be a huge occasion for a still young guy to make his debut for Scotland.

      Having said that Hogg made his debut at Cardiff 6 years ago and was younger than Kinghorn is now.

      1. Hogg was selected at a very different time from Kinghorn. We were awful with no options, Now we have real competition within this squad and others who haven’t been selected. Kinghorn will be a Scotland star, just not yet.

    2. I’m not convinced that Kinghorn should be in this squad. He will gain so much experience within the camp that will stand him in good stead for future test this campaign.
      I am more surprised Bennett didn’t make the squad.

    3. Kinghorn will make a home debut…Millenium not a good place to have a first cap (Hogg the exception to the rule).
      He will make it through into full national team, patience…
      And Bennett may go back out of squad to get more game time. Don’t need rusty legs against that Welsh back line.

      1. Agree on Kinghorn. Terrific talent. Bizarre ,I feel, that Scotland will soon boast 2 world class FBs

        A home debut is far wiser option for a young player.

      2. I think “World Class” gets thrown about a bit too much. That would mean they should be good enough to get in the Lions, or an ABs/SH select side. I think Scotland have one truly “World Class” player, Stuart Hogg.

        Huw Jones, Russell, Gray and Watson are very high quality and certainly have bags of potential but they need to perform better, more consistently for longer. Luckily they are still young and the 6 Nations is a great opportunity to continue that journey!

  8. Only real surprise is that Harris is starting at 13. I was convinced that Horne would have got the nod if Dunbar/Taylor were unavailable. Not disappointed though! Harris is an excellent player and having a terrific season. CdP at 8 over Denton? I’d personally have went with Big Dave but CdP at least offers an offload!

    Happy that the Laidlaw debate is put to bed and Price retains the 9 shirt.

    My biggest worry is an injury to McInally.

    1. Horne is our only real 10 replacement, and also suffers from being able to cover 12 & 13, at least…whether they admit or not all coaches build scenarios about ‘what if the 10 gets a knock in the first few minutes’. He’s class though, and one of my favourite players for Glasgow. Would also have preferred DD also at least on the bench. CdP needs to have an smart game, although he’s in it for ballast, as is Reid, but that won’t be enough when Wales pick’n’go. I hope Jones shows is true potential and McGuigan needs to prove he’s worth keeping Maitland on the bench. Bring it on!

  9. Harris has been a revelation at the Falcons. Big, fast and high work rate.
    Very happy and excited for him. Winning at the principality a big ask. Let’s get stuck in and you never know.

  10. Really happy with this team. Looks very solid up front and balanced in the back row. No worries there.

    Jones at 12 is a bit of a surprise but with the injuries to Dunbar and Taylor and Horne needed to cover 10 perhaps not that surprising. The alternative may have been calling up Matt Scott but he has had his own fitness issues this season. Surprised to see Harris at 13 but really looking forward to seeing how he goes. Bennett not long back from a long lay off injury and Harris being two and a half stone heavier may have been factors in the selection as our backs as a unit whilst none are small we do lack for a big unit with Dunbar out. Harris has been in great form this season though so I’d love to see both these guys shine and give Toony what would be a real selection migraine when everyone is fit.

    1. Jones is a a pretty good operator at 13 but not entirely convinced over his selection at 12, think I would rather have had Horne at 12, Jones at 13 with Jackson / Kinghorn covering 10/15 from the bench, with Bennett covering the 23 spot.

      1. I think Jones is a very, very good player. He’s played 12 before in SA and he’s definitely got the full skillset to play anywhere in the back line and perhaps we’ll see even more of those skills with him at 12. As long as he can ship it on which I’m confident he has the skills for we have the players to do damage outside him.

      2. Did you watch the Currie Cup final last year Finn? Was trying to find some highlights without any luck. Suffice to say Jones played very well at 12 – he’s a big game player.

  11. Glad to see CDP starting. Wilson is just a bit wee for me as an international 8. So long as he stays in amongst it. I’m not a fan of him hanging out on the fringes which he was doing for a bit. But it does make Barclay our only third lineout option.

    However its a long hard tournament I expect we will see Dents in before the end. We probably need a big lunatic like him for the France game. They are the ones who scare me about losing the up front battle. (if he would just lose the man bun please)

    Out wide its picking from strength really so long as Russell is fit. (pray to Odin that he stays fit for all the matches)

  12. I like the idea of Jones at 12. I’m a big Dunbar fan, and he would have been selected if fit, but Jones gives us a bit more creativity in the 10/12 axis. Let’s see if McGuigan can bring his barnstorming start against Australia into what will be a very different game on Saturday. He might be more likely to create something out of nothing than Maitland.
    The front row is as we expected, and I expect the scrum to be solid enough. Lineout and maul is somewhere I am thinking we can definitely edge.

    Bubbling up nicely….

  13. McGuigan is the right choice at 11 leaving Maitland as cover at 15. If we find ourselves in the dream scenario of having daylight between us and Wales with 20/25 minutes to go I would wrap Hogg in cotton, rest him and switch out For Maitland and Price for Laidlaw to bring us home. BIG if though. Horne can play almost anywhere except wing so he’s a great guy to have on the bench. Would expect Taylor and Dunbar to be in for France which will be a bit more physical. Bring. It. On!!! ????????

  14. Am I the only one that thinks Toonie has left the Tombola in the cupboard this time? Harris is the only surprise there for me. Maybe Bennett is still a bit short of match sharpness? Taylor and Dunbar were doubts anyway weren’t they? Harris is a bit of an unknown entity for me, he was solid if unspectacular in the Autumn. Jones should offer more creativity at 12 than Dunbar does, what a terrifying prospect that should be for any defence, a Russell / Jones axis with Hogg lurking behind them! He will have to step up defensively though and put in the unseen work that Dunbar does.

    Maitland is on the bench because of his versatility, Visser is not in the squad so that only leaves Seymour, Jones and McGuigan. Seymour did what he needed to do against Exeter to buy himself a starting spot, hope he keeps it up and doesn’t revert to his more typical form of late, the telepathy thing he has going with Hoggy also goes in his favour.

    I think DuPreez is a far more “Toonie” style of player than Denton (in that he can actually pass and offload) so it was either going to be him or Wilson starting with the other on the bench. Other than the front row the bench looks strong, it is made up of guys that have been regular test starters recently so there should be no weakening with them coming on. Will be interesting to see how Laidlaw does with Toonies “fastest game in the west”, I watched the Ireland game highlights from last year and when he wants to he can do things quickly.

    Bring on the weekend, can’t wait! We need to finally put the ghost of 2010 to bed, actually wasn’t it Scott Lawson’s binning after 2 mins on the park that started the wheels coming off the cart that day (shivers at the thought of it)…

    1. It was…

      Also, sounds like Dunbar and Taylor are both still “unavailable” following HIA return to play protocols, which will no doubt be confirmed soon.

      1. Still not forgiven Lawson. Needs a Hartrick off the bench on Saturday to redeem himself. But please at very least don’t walk over a ruck that’s been formed for about 20 secs.

  15. Looking forward to seeing Jones at 12, he has the passing game to play there and long-term, a Russell/Jones/Bennett three quarter line would be absolute fire. Worried about first phase defence though – we’re going to have to score a lot to win.

  16. I think the Welsh players are on incredible form at the moment and at home you’ve got to fancy them but one advantage we(Scotland) have is that our captain plays with 10 of their starting line-up on a weekly basis and if their is anyone knows their weakness’s and how to exploit them at this level it should be him

  17. Agree with others. CdP over Denton, as better offloading and in pole since the Autumn. Wilson covers the whole back row. Only surprise is Chris Harris, but the more you read about his season the better he sounds and must’ve impressed in training. Horne as realistic cover for Finn (Scotland & Glasgow), would’ve been bold/risky to see Bennett sneak in there with Laidlaw covering 9&10. Expect most the bench to see game time (both props, Gilchrist, Wilson, Maitland). Excited to see Russell/Jones axis. My Scotland heavy fantasy team is ready to earn some points!

  18. I’d rather see Maitland over McGuigan. Bare stats like a try count don’t mean much, fair enough if he’s run in a few like Lomu did back in the day, or had he just finished a few team moves that Maitland would’ve finished too? Some stats don’t tell you much, tackle stats can be just as deceptive.
    Harris….who knows. Presumably he’s looked the part in training, even if all the others were injured i’d still be happy with Horne-Jones at centre.
    I like CDP but would’ve picked Denton personally.

    I thought we’d lose this match by 5 points, I now think we will lose by 8. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

  19. It’s a good lineup. My main concern is an unfamiliar midfield pairing against a settled Scarlet’s partnership. Have not seen much of Harris – and was not impressed by his previous 20 mins – so hope he is up to it. Also need to see another good performance from McGuigan to be convinced that he is the answer. Nervously excited for Saturday. It’s such a massive test in terms of ongoing progress for this group and a win would be historic. Wales at home should not be underestimated though and I think the fresh faces getting a start will be hugely motivated.

  20. I’m not sure about McGuigan. He got sent off recently and even though he is the leading try scorer in the AP video highlights show interceptions and walk ins and a few meaningless consolations against Wasps and Sarries. Watching the AP a lot the games seem to involved endless collisions with very little contest at the breakdown then the ball going wide when space has been created by attrition.

    He’s up against another inexperienced wing in Josh Adams who he has played against before so that may have influenced Townsend. Wales have struggled to score tries in recent years so it may be that our defensive system for this game will be very different to the next three fixtures which will bring a bigger physical challenge.

    Du Preez has never really performed for Scotland and hasn’t been great for Edinburgh this year but if he gets his offloading game going it could have a huge effect on the match.

    1. I couldn’t disagree more, I’m not sure if we’ve been watching the same players but McGuigan is an excellent poacher in the Visser mold but is otherwise defensively sound. He’s been the highlight of an average Sale team. Same with Du Preez he’s been enjoying something of a renaissance under Cockers and is back to his best. He had an excellent autumn and for me is. Showing signs that he’s starting to live up to his promise.

  21. I don’t think you can judge a player by 20 minutes out of position on the wing on their international debut. Lets see how he performs in his favored position before making judgements on how good a player Harris.

    1. Agreed. I remember GT saying it took around 10 caps for him to get used to international rugby. Some adjust more quickly, but a few of the boys will need a bit of a run before we get a proper feel for how they will perform at this level.

    2. Agree with this. Harris got twenty minutes out on the wing and frankly this was more than likely because he was having a breakout season and Gregor wanted to get him capped before England came calling which had been touted. Worth remembering the whole team had a bit of an off day against the Samoans as well so how anyone is making judgements on the lad based on that 20 minutes is beyond me.

      Anyway he’s got a chance now in his preferred position to show his real qualities.

  22. I think its a smart selection by Townsend. Wales coaching team won’t have all the info they need because there are some new combinations there.

    Playing Laidlaw and Maitland off the bench is wise I think…that experience and composure could be very important in the last 30mins. Wilson can cover 6,7,8.

  23. its probaly a good idea now to be rotating people so they are not completed fatiqued by the last 2 games of the tournament, we can actually drop almost anyone in any position now and put in another test standard player, it makes it alot harder for the opposition to work you out i guess also.

    1. Changed times when you think back a few years and our full strength team was barely international standard let alone the backup players!

  24. I dont know about yous but i think our front 3 are better than the welsh and have a chance to have the edge in the scrums, only once bhatti, Lawson and Mcallum come on that might change.

  25. Like most I’m a bit surprised by the centre pairing! If this was Toonies long term plan then why hasn’t Jones had any game time there for Glasgow. I hope Jones and Russell have at least practiced this combo on the training ground in anticipation! Maybe there is an even more cunning plan to have Hogg attack the 10-12 channel more! We shall see! I hope the mind games are messing with Gatland!

    1. Maybe he fancies his chances against Hadleigh Parkes…similar size and build, maybe HJ will be more elusive?
      You’re right about Hogg going for the midfield – expect to see that early on. Williams has apparently not been as good this season?I haven’t seen enough to say for myself, but from Welsh press is ‘solid’ and a good passer rather than anything special. Not huge either. GT may have stolen a march by announcing a day later than WG. In Toony we trust!

  26. Optimistic, but if any of our locks get injured, we could have a problem against France. Happy with choice of CdP ahead of DD, who always seems prone to a total brain fart and doesn’t pass enough. I would have Luke Hamilton ahead of DD, as well as Josh Strauss when he is fit.

  27. Not thrilled with the team. Wales are lacking experience, and we’ve got 2 or 3 picks with a similar lack of experience that seem like unnecessary risks (McG, Harris and CDP) when their alternatives (Maitland, Horne, DD perhaps) would seem more obvious.

    Last time out we lost Hogg after about 20 minutes, they had a try that was offside (expect them to get the decisions on Saturday too), and we ended up within 4 points of their full strength team.

    I think our team is weaker on paper than last time, but we come into the game with much better form than two years ago. They ,on the other hand, are much less tested at this level than they were then….

    I think we’ll edge this one. The dream scenario would be to have a clear lead by the half, and have the luxury of taking Russell, Hogg and McInally off the field before the final quarter.

    1. I wouldn’t be giving the match assassin a full twenty minutes to operate in. Can picture the overthrown line out in our 22 now…

  28. This game entirely hinges on how we start.

    Nerves will lose it. Hence why I’m a little concerned about the fresh centre pairing. Horne may be wee but he can operate well as a 12 in that backline. I hope this is Harris’ breakthrough game otherwise it will be a long afternoon.

  29. As a Scot living in Wales (with an English girlfriend too!) s is a must win game for me (us!). The main comments I am hearing about the team from a Welsh perspective is how they will bully us up front? Don’t know where they get that one…. Reckon our pack are well up for a scrap!- with Hoggy running 50 meters to be involved, of course….

    Anyway, hopefully the ToonyTombola(tm) lands well for us on Saturday! (Just so I can have a wee gloat at work on Monday). Didn’t reckon the team he picked against Australia in the summer had much chance, never mind coming close to the ABs – so in Toony-I-Trust……..

  30. It’s funny how injuries can force your hand but might not necessarily be a bad thing in reality. By that I am referring to the front row. We have had big problems there at scrum time since the RWC. This year it could well have been a scrum of ford/brown, in between dell and fagerson. Now, all those guys have done a good job for us and it would be great if they were available. However, a front row of Reid mcinally and Welsh, to me, has much more grunt about it and I don’t think the Welsh will dominate our scrum at all. There’s even a chance we will get dominance in that area, if we do it’s game over for the men in red.

    1. Agreed, our starting front row shouldn’t give much away at the scrum. Maybe not as dynamic as the injured alternatives but I’m a firm believer that the job of the front row is first and foremost to win scrums, if they happen to be able to run, catch and pass then that’s just a bonus.

      The Welsh are something of experts at scrum time though and we should be expecting every dirty trick in the book, hopefully the ref is wise to it and hasn’t bought into the pre tournament “Scotland’s scrum is cack” nonsense. It was against the Welsh a few years ago we were having a torrid time, the Welsh weren’t engaging at the scrum and our boys were getting pinged for an early push all the time, we could see it the boys were protesting furiously but the ref did nothing, but more annoyingly our players didn’t adjust accordingly they just kept getting pinged. I think there was a general lack of deviousness in our play a few years ago, something that VC brought to our game.

      1. Also agree. We definitely lose something in the loose without props like Fagerson, Dell, and Berghan… but we may gain in the tight. If Welsh and Grant can keep scrum steady on both put ins, it may well be blessing in disguise.

        On the other hand, Toony clearly prefers a game plan that uses a fairly lightweight (by modern northern hemisphere standards) but skilled back row and uses props as primary ball carriers. So our game plan might have to change a bit – i suspect this is why he went with CdP and Harris… we’ll need others who can carry hard

  31. Well it seems like being a Scotland fan is now an emotional rollercoaster even before kickoff!

    When I saw the Wales team yesterday I got nervous. When I saw the Scotland team this morning I started fearing the worst.

    But now with some time and reading the comments above…

    I’m less nervous about the game. Should be a cracker and we have a great chance of winning. We need belief and we need everyone to front up, play their part and keep their head.

    If we can get some quick ball the Welsh defence won’t know who to defend. Do they close down jones at 12 and risk McGuigan, Seymour or Hogg space attacking the centres? Or creating space for Finn on the inside. And that’s without knowing what Harris can do! The question then is can we get the quick ball? I think that the pack looks the equal of the Welsh pack so I’m hoping the answer is yes!

    My only worry is the breakdown interpretation of Gauzere.

  32. Like everyone I never saw Harris coming however I see the menace of Parkes and the Speed of Evans.

    Having Laidlaw available is great news , we need a backup kicker and he is as good as it gets.

    Good luck to everyone travelling down, have a great weekend and glasses raised for the right result.

      1. It doesnt matter where you start from on the compass , when you are heading to Wales, you are heading down. :)

  33. Ours to win I reckon. My guage is that our XV is equal-to-better, and the bench is mostly better.

    So, play as expected or better, I think we will win; play poorly we (probably)lose.

    The main issue may be discipline and control.

    No cards please, and as few knock ons as possible…

    1. Your point about knock-ons is critical. While I’m hoping for parity in the scrum, there is a high probability of scrum penalties or lack of them having a major impact on the result. So our handling (and, perversely, Wales’ handling) is crucial. As few scrums as possible, please…

    2. Wales will set out to pin us in our own half, the scrums and resultant penalties will come , but if we hold well in the scrum that kills that one.

      Lets hope the crowd shame them into playing rugby.

      How do you plan to stop broken play runners ! Maybe they should ask Exeter how they would stop us !!!!! They have all the way to next years Cup to ponder that one.

      It is an easy game behind the keyboard. Confidence is key on the pitch.

      1. “How do you plan to stop broken play runners ! Maybe they should ask Exeter how they would stop us !!!!! ”

        Not sure if you were asking me or more generally, but getting the ball and hanging onto it is the straightforward way…

        Exeter (61% possession) 24 v Glasgow (39% possession) 15

        Exeter (56% possession) 21 v Glasgow (44% possession) 28

        Wonder how often teams lose with more than 60% possession?

  34. The more you look at the team, the more you can see Toony’s Logic. We have grunt where we need it (which was my initial concern earlier in week). Our front five look every bit as good as theirs, as I see it (Scot living in Cardiff). I fancy our back row over theirs (they’ve left out Cubby Davies which I don’t understand) and while their Scarlets backline is exciting by Gatland’s standards, believe me they are WORRYING themselves on how to defend ours! As has been said, keep errors & penalties down, play with the confidence we’ve been showing and I can see no reason why a win doesn’t come our way!

    Ps for those coming down, get out the pubs at least an hour before the game unless you fancy spending an hour in the rain in a queue getting through Stadium security!

    [edited for language]

  35. An intriguing match- Will CDP make up for the loss of dynamism in the loose from the injured props? The centre pairing effectiveness? Is Seymour fully back to form?
    Personally I think this is much more about Scotland than Wales-assuming all 3 questions are answered positively I think it could be a comfortable win.
    1/2p needs to be targeted- Saracens did that superbly in last seasons EC when he was in France-since his hamstring inj his lack of pace esp off the mark is noticeable and his kicking is not the reliable force of old.
    V excited !

  36. The pre Six Nations jitters have started for me as they always do when the teams are announced, excited positive trepidation in all its contradictory glory.

    As many have commented before, a highly expected team given the list of injuries and those mostly positive comments are a testament to the increasing depth we can rely on; if we had front row injuries this bad a few short years ago I think we would have given a shirt to the first three people to offer to play.

    Worrying about a narrow loss but hoping for a cricket score win. I wish I had pulled my finger out and organised a trip down to Cardiff as it is set to be a cracker and to quote the Black Eyed Peas, ‘I gotta feeling!’

  37. I think rather surprisingly the way to really break down the welsh would be to take them on in the first half through
    kicking the territory and driving mauls from 5-10 meters out, Mcinally is exceptional at the back of them.

    Also depriving the welsh backs getting quick ball will be essential as outside of halfpenny they are all dangerous runners, lets not give them time to get settled and find their feet they will fall apart.

    I wouldnt rule out us having the advantage in the scrum also for the first 50 mins, Reid and Mcinally are probaly our best loosehead and Hooker for Scrums regardless of injury and Welsh is not bad by any means.

    The main Welsh stat that had changed in their style in the Autumn was the amount of passing they have done so if it does go out Harris could be the key player with his defensive stats, he is going to need a massive game to shut down Scott Williams, Seymour also should be looking to come in with a few good intercepts.

    In attack i want to see the Backline really targeting Patchell and Steff Evans , im sure i read somwhere that his tackle completing was only around 50 %, lets get Hogg Jones and Seymour running down his channel all day he will not be prepared for it.
    Also might be worth targeting the other wing just due to the fact he is on his debut and in a completely new set up.

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