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.
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.
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.
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.
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