RUGBY

Autumn Rugby Internationals: Gloucester players in focus

Throughout the Autumn Internationals Gloucester have had a select few get the call up to represent their country, Owen Williams and Motu Matu’u represented Wales and Samoa respectively, whilst Ellie Kildunne was a part of the England Women’s squad who took on Canada in their three test series.

Owen Williams -Wales

Williams has been a revelation for Warren Gatland’s side and has been exactly what they have been screaming out for, a ball playing inside-centre that will open up space and unlock defences.

Wales’ attack has at time been criticised for being too one dimensional, long gone are the days where you can steam roll over teams. Granted there is a still a place in the game for hard one-on-one running to bust through a defensive line but the creativity provided by more skilful players opens up space and width creating an exciting brand of rugby that both players love and spectators love to watch.
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The Cherry and White has found himself out of position playing in the centres, but Williams and fly-half Dan Biggar dovetail nicely, switching between fly-half and centre in a way not seen under Gatland since James Hook and Gavin Henson during the 2008 Grand Slam.

The decision to first play Owen Williams in the 21-29 defeat to Australia was an inspired one. Despite the loss, his partnership with Dan Biggar at fly-half was a combination that Michael Cheika said, “kept the Australians guessing” and the Welshman demonstrated good attacking ability versus the All Blacks, although he was exposed defensively.

Motu Matu’u – Samoa

The muscular hooker was in fine form throughout the autumn internationals for the South Pacific Islanders, although his time on the field was cut short in the final test versus England due to  sustaining a concussion.
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This typifies Matu’u in his performances, he will throw his body into everything at 100% as many of the Samoans do, taking great pride in wearing the shirt whilst showing greatv ball handling skills. They put their body on the line and leave everything on the field.

A disappointment from the autumn for Matu’u and the Islanders will be their 17-13 loss to Romania, a game in which they would’ve targeted a victory but a small consolation  for the hooker would be that he got on the score sheet.

Ellie Kildunne – England Women

Kildunne was the only Gloucester-Hartpury player featured throughout the series, but was one of many debutants in a very youthful squad selected by Simon Middleton for the three test series versus Canada.

The Red Roses ran away with the series claiming a 3-0 white-wash over their opponents from across the Atlantic.
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The full-back who made her debut in the second test bagged a brace in an emphatic 49-12 victory at the Twickenham Stoop and it will certainly be a game that she will not forget.

She demonstrated  great counter attacking ability in open space whilst showing good positional awareness for a younger player on the international stage, Gloucester-Hartpury have got themselves a talented young women who could go very far in the game.

 

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