RUGBY

Is Gatland’s Squad Selection The Right One? Part Two

Warren Gatland Selection dilemma became apparent with questions on who should be the fly half and who should be in the back three, similar to the back row plenty of options for him to choose. Here is our Welsh rugby correspondent Gavin Barrett’s review on the backs selection to face France this weekend.

9) Gareth Davies

Similar to a couple of the forwards this one is a no brainer. One of the most dangerous attacking scrum halves in world rugby, Gareth Davies is the clear starting 9 for Wales especially in the absence of Rhys Webb. Expect him to be back to his best this weekend after not playing to his normal high standards against Italy. Good Decision.

10) Dan Biggar

One of, if not the massive talking point this week on who would play fly half, Gatland to no one’s surprise has gone back to tried and trusted in Dan Biggar, which is disappointing for a lot of Welsh fans. Wales look so much more dangerous with Rhys Patchell on the pitch and even Gareth Anscombe, yet no room for Patchell in the math day squad. Biggar returned from injury against Ireland and was way off his best. Wrong Decision.

11) Liam Williams

Liam Williams has his chance at full back last week but it turned out to be arguably his worst performance in a Welsh shirt. There are questions over his fitness following his injury that kept him out for a few months but he would have been disappointed in himself last week and will be looking for redemption against France. The decision to drop Steff Evans is a very harsh one similar to Aaron Shingler but will be interesting to see what Evans can do against a tiring defence. Good Decision.

12) Hadleigh Parkes

Hadleigh Parkes may be winning just his sixth cap, but he’s quickly become ‘Mr Indispensable’ in the Wales midfield. His man-of-the-match performance against Italy showed he’s got the traits most New Zealand rugby players possess, namely that they do the basics well and have an innate ability to do the right thing at the right time. No question his selection. Good Decision.

13) Scott Williams

There were some calls for Owen Watkin to keep his place at outside centre following a decent performance against Italy. But Scott Williams is a high quality operator and his experience and defensive power could be crucial with someone like Basteraud running in the midfield. Good Decision.

14) George North

George North returned to the starting line up against Italy for the first time in this years tournament and he marked his return with a vintage North display. The Northampton Saints wing was attempting to get his hands on the ball at every opportunity. North beat three defenders and made 105 meters in the match, including two tries. North looked fresh and re-energised in the Welsh shirt and on this form it’s impossible to keep him out of the side. With the back three options becoming competitive for places and depth, it’s the perfect time for North to return to form. Good Decision.

15) Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny was written off by the majority of Welsh fans before the start of this campaign, but he has been in great form to try and prove them wrong. Like myself majority have been calling for Liam Williams at fullback but Halfpenny has looked close to his best especially with a man of the match performance in the opening round against Scotland. With his kicking crucial he will be hoping to replicate that performance this weekend against France. Good Decision.

Gatland overall has gone with tried and trusted and he will be hoping his trust has been put in the right people when they take on France at the Principality Stadium this weekend.

 

 

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