International Scout Notes – 12th Oct

Nick KennedyNick Kennedy
Out of favour with Johnno, but given his performance against Munster, we might be able to change his mind. Dominated the opposition lineout, which is so often a strength for the former champions, and contributed effectively in the loose. With Borthers now slipping down the order and dynamism being the order of the day in rugby, maybe we can persuade the boss to give him another chance.

Rhys Priestland
Having developed a reputation as only a solid regional player, performances such as the one for Scarlets against Perpignan, could push Priestland into contention for a place in the Wales’ squad for the Autumn internationals. It will take something very special to prevent his second-try on Saturday from going being the try of the season award. Warren Gatland has few options at full-back, and Priestland’s early season form will definitely offer him food for thought.

Peter Stringer
Got his first Heineken Cup start since October 2008 due to the thumb injury sustained by Tomas O’Leary last week, and he was straight back into top form. Stringers snappier distribution allowed the Munster backline to be alot more dynamic, they were running from deeper and seemed to have a much better flow to their game than previous weeks. Ronan O’Gara had a superb game and this was aided in no small part by Stringers quick ball from rucks. This faster ball allows O’Gara an extra half-second to make decisions. Coming into the Autumn tests Stringer is certainly back in the mix, just behind Isaac Boss with Eoin Reddan snapping at their heels.

Bob Casey
Saturday’s game against Munster demonstrated that Casey still has alot to offer the Irish setup. He gave a commanding performance in the lineout enabling London Irish to turnover 4 of Munster’s lineouts. Casey has only been capped 6 times for Ireland due to the stranglehold that Paul O’Connell and Donnacha O’Callaghan have had on the Irish 2nd row berths. With O’Connell out of action until Christmas at best, there is a chance that Casey could return to the Irish fold for the November internationals. Ireland play the Springboks in the opening game of the Autumn series and Casey’s physicality would be a welcome asset it what is set to be a brutal affair.

Dan Biggar
The Ospreys’ outside half came off second best against his opposite number and boyhood idol, Jonny Wilkinson. A missed penalty and some poor kicking out of hand in the final quarter, more or less cost his side a valuable away win at Toulon. Such a performance would have vindicated those who question Biggars’ temperament – in particular, his ability to cope with pressure. On such evidence Warren Gatland will be unlikely to put as much faith in Biggar, as he did in June, for the second-test against the All Blacks.

This week’s scouts included Conor Buckley and Paul French

Photo: Patrick Khachfe/Onside Images

8 thoughts on “International Scout Notes – 12th Oct

  1. A few comments on Twitter backing Casey to start alongside O’Callaghan if POC is not fit. Where does Leo Cullen fit into the Irish order?

  2. Casey is much more physical but less mobile than Cullen, I would put him ahead, but Kidney sees things differently!
    They are pretty even in the lineout, both superb operators, But Casey would definitely give the pack a bit more grunt and turnover more ball on the ground.

  3. I’ve seen a lot more of Casey than I have of Cullen, but I rate the former…although either would be third choice behind POC and DOC in my view.

  4. I think Ryan Lamb should’ve been on here instead of ROG. It may have been Munster’s tactics that meant ROG carried more ball in 80 minutes than he has in his whole career but Lamb’s accuracy and tactical kicking were superb.

  5. Kennedy has looked good so far this season, and fingers crossed will be pushing for a place in the EPS squad come the AI’s, 6N’s and the RWC. Kennedy and Lawes would make a great partnership, with Shaw on the bench as the impact player in the last 20mins

  6. Biggar is out of form, as seen in previous games. But it is form not temperament. Last season he led us to victories out in Munster and to victory in the final away in Leinster, You dont play as well as he did in those games when your temperament isn’t up to it imo.

    He has been poor for about 3 or 4 games for the Ospreys now, making it form imo

  7. I agree on the Casey selection, but playing in London won’t help his chances. You can only get away with that sort of geographical displacement if you’ve got the skills of Tommy Bowe.

    I think we’ll also see Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull sneak in to Gatlands squad!

  8. Nick – I personally felt those performances at the end of last season were the exception, rather than the norm, for Biggar.

    He seems to have a habit of chocking when the Ospreys are on the back foot. He is still a great talent – and only twenty still. I just don’t think he’s ready to become a Wales regular quite yet.

    Marcus – Turnbull has almost paid for being a bit too versatile, if he can nail down the Scarlets’ number six shirt, then he is certainly worth a bet for making the World Cup squad.

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