Autumn Internationals: Wales team to play New Zealand

Wales RugbyWarren Gatland has named the following side to take on New Zealand this weekend.

There are 5 changes from the side that lost to Samoa, with Sam Warburton returning along with Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies, Matthew Rees and Luke Charteris.

What do you make of this team?

15. L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)
14. A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues)
13. J Davies (Scarlets)
12. J Roberts (Cardiff Blues)
11. G North (Scarlets)
10. R Priestland (Scarlets)
9. M Phillips (Bayonne)

1. P James (Bath)
2. M Rees (Scarlets)
3. A Jarvis (Ospreys)
4. B Davies (Cardiff Blues)
5. L Charteris (Perpignan)
6. R Jones (Ospreys)
7. S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt)
8. T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

K Owens (Scarlets), G Jenkins (Toulon), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).

26 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals: Wales team to play New Zealand

  1. Agreed. I think Wales can put up a good performance though. They will be desperate for a win so should be a good match to watch.

  2. Blighted with injuries as we are, I’ll take it, although I’d like to see Hook starting at 10. Very happy that Jonathan Davies is back though, the backline looks much better with him there. Since we’re probably (understatement of the century right there) not going to win, can we at least have a good performance please? A fair few of that first 15 need to really need to step up and demonstrate why they deserve to be there.

    1. I am not sure that you are blighted by injury? Other than Adam Jones and Dan Lydiate, is this not you first choice XV?

      1. Alun-Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate, Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Dan Biggar would be the injured in my starting 15 (although not everyone’s I’m sure). I’m also kind of including Jonathan Davies on the grounds that he hasn’t played a game of rugby since coming off against Clermont and though I’m glad he’s back, I doubt he will have his usual impact on the game. Might have been better to stick with Beck, who should be on the bench in my opinion.

      2. 2 issues for Wales here..

        1. First choice players are woefully out of form. (whether there are viable alternatives is another discussion)

        2. Adam Jones.

        I agree Jacob, that in terms of actual numbers of first choice players out we’re probably not blighted in that sense, with there only 3 being out really (AJ, DL & AWJ).

        For me though, you cannot under estimate the loss of Adam Jones, he really is that important to us.

        He gives Wales the platform to provide attacking ball, which we’ve not had at all this Autumn simply because there is nobody else in Wales who is an international capable tighthead.

        Wales have been marmalised at scrum time resulting in penalties, or shovelling on bad ball way behind the gain line.

        For me, there is no other Welsh player more important to us than Adam. Wales are just not the same without him.

          1. I completely agree with how important Adam Jones is. And I apologise for missing AWJ, he would usually start.

            My point was your missing one or two starts and it was suggested by Thomas that the team were injury ridden, that is not the case.

            The point is as you said Anarky, your first choice and ‘best’ players, are all woefully out of form. That is a very different issue to the one Thomas suggested, being injuries.

          2. I apologise for missing AWJ, he would normally start.

            My point is that Wales problem isn’t injuries as Thomas suggested, as you are almost full strength in terms of numbers (I agree Adam Jones is very important).

            The issue is as Anarky stated, Wales ‘best’ players are horribly out of form.

          3. I’d agree that the form of our top players has been lacking but I maintain that the squad is injury ridden.

            This is the list of players not available to play against New Zealand due to injury:
            Adam Jones, Dan Lydiate, Alun-Wyn Jones, Josh Turnbull, Rob McCusker, Richard Hibbard, Dan Biggar, Ian Evans.

            This is a list of more players who missed one of the two games played due to injury:
            Ashley Beck, Jonathan Davies, Matthew Rees, Ryan Jones.

            Now I’m not saying all of these are our first choices (or even many of them), but we have enough injuries to show our crippling lack of depth. Against Argentina we were playing our third choice 6 for the first half, then our fourth choice 6 in the second half.

            When we don’t have Adam Jones we look weaker and our defence has looked creaky without Lydiate (although I’d still expect it to be better than it has been).

            You’re right, form is important but for our backs in particular it’s tactics that are producing the lack of tries and creativity (watch Scrum V if you want the proof). That and low confidence, although Bradley Davies was shockingly awful against Samoa for neither of these reasons.

            Final point, if England lose a player they can bring in a pretty solid replacement. We can usually manage this, apart from certain positions, tighthead prop, potentially the back three and scrum half. However, if the replacement gets injured, England can usually bring in a solid replacement for the replacement (apologies for such a mangled sentence). We do not have the strength in depth to do this. Lydiate gets injured, we’ve got Ryan Jones (although he had a poor game against Samoa). He gets injured and we’re struggling, just as we saw against Argentina. That is why I say we have an injury problem.

  3. Is there really no one better than Preistland? I am still staggered by his kick to the dead ball line when Wales at a 5 man overlap (or so it seemed). If you don’t just follow Scotland’s example and try and pinch an inexperienced u20 player from another Union. Robbo was thwarted by Wales in his attempt for Shingler but has struck gold with Tom Heathcote!!

    1. There are better 10’s than Priestland in Wales. Hook should be starting in my opinion. Aside from that, the Blues, Scarlets and Ospreys all have young talent at 10 in Rhys Patchell, Jordan Williams and Matthew Morgan respectively, all of whom are under 20. All developing, but blooding young talent has always seemed to work for the Southern Hemisphere sides.

      1. I am not convinved all these young 10s are the answer.

        It was only a year ago that we were hearing Priestland is the young and exciting 10 that Wales need etc. etc.

        What now he isn’t? Will you just give any young guy a chance and hope they set the world alight?

        I agree that Priestland has looked horrible and should be dropped, but this Wales team that are playing now are meant to be the young guys coming though, are they not?

        1. We were hearing good things about Priestland a year ago. Nothing positive since then, he’s been pretty poor in the Autumn Internationals thus far (not alone in that it must be said), cost us the second test in Australia and had an average (at best) 6 Nations. I’m not saying we should throw in some utterly green 10 against New Zealand, like I said, I’d rather see Hook starting.

          1. Yeh I can see bringing to Hook as a good idea. He doesn’t seem to be very popular though? I remember when you would fit him into the team where ever you could. Now he is playing well and at 10, which is a position you need, he isn’t getting a look in.

          2. Personally, I hate the way we use Hook as a utility back. He never wanted to play full back or centre and you could tell from the way he played. He was pretty abject against Argentina when he replaced Roberts. I suppose they stick with Priestland as the player for the future, but Hook is hardly old either and like you say he is playing well for Perpignan at 10. I think they should either let him play 10 or drop him, which would be a great shame in my opinion.

  4. The injury problem is that the players who are missing are key and we do not have replacements for them – AWJ, Adam and Lydiate are crucial players, their replacements are not up to it. If we lost centres, wings, etc. then we’d be much more setup to replace them. Lydiate for example was player of the 6 nations for a reason.

    Yes, it is time to let Priestland go. Yes, he did seem to be a new useful 10 a year ago when we luckily gave him a run out, due to injuries, before the WC, but since then he has shown more of the form that got him ignored at the Scarlets for so many years. Hook should be starting as all of our other options are too green right now (Patchell played his first 20 mins for a few months on the weekend).

    I’ve got tix for this match, I’m treating it like a match from the 90s. Turn up late so I miss Haka (thankfully), drink throughout the match, enjoy the singing and the curry afterwards.

    1. Likewise, have a ticket but am tempted to pass it on to my sister, not sure I can bear the hammering we’re likely to receive. On another note, do you think Patchell will replace Tovey as starting 10?

    2. The ABs have ruined the haka as spectacle by being so precious about it. Funny I didn’t have an issue when Fiji did theirs mostly because the don’t go whining to the IRB if teams wish to rise to the challenge (which I thought was the bl00dy point of it)

      1. Benjit, I completely agree. I used to appreciate it but now they swan around the world demanding everyone “respects” it in exactly the way they demand, riding roughshod over everyone else’s tradition as if they are the only country in the world with a history. Then they even get it enshrined in the IRB rules. Precious little babies.

        1. I think during my lifetime they gone from being the Brazil of rugby to Man U. Still the most successful not so beloved anymore.

  5. One wonders what the reaction would be from the ABs if the Boks brought in a bunch of Zulu players and then had them do a traditional war dance at the start of the game… I’m guessing not positive

    1. How very dare you suggest such a thing!

      I’ve always thought that England should follow the haka with a morris dance just to take the p1ss.

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