Our scouts have been back on the road now that the Autumn Internationals are finished and the Six Nations are looming.
Brian O’Driscoll may be out injured with a jaw fracture but his boots were capably filled by 22 year old Eoin O’Malley. The outside centre brought plenty of creativity and pace to the Leinster backline. He has an uncanny skill of fixing the defender before offloading at the perfect time to create space for those outside him. The 13 jersey is in safe hands at the moment.
Again, like O’Malley, McFadden has been thrown in at the deep end over the last couple of games to to a lengthy Leinster injury list. This week he was covering Luke Fitzgerald’s spot on the wing, and he did a fine job. McFadden has pace to burn as he demonstrated on Saturday as he flew past Fijian flyer Nalaga. Fergus normally plays in the center but acquitted himself well on the wing.
Andy Robinson is building his Scotland team with Parks at the centre, but his performance for Cardiff against Northampton exposed his key limitation. His kicking game is outstanding, but he struggles to orchestrate proceedings towards scoring tries. The Blues couldn’t score against the Saints, and that could well mirror Scotland’s problems against the big teams.
Praised for his performance for Toulon against London Irish and should still be part of England’s plans. However, it seems he’s about to sign a lucrative new deal to keep him in France, so it’s a good job the policy of selecting England-based players came with the ‘exceptional circumstances’ caveat.