International Scout Notes – 14th Jan

Ugo Monye
Whilst Strettle’s inclusion in the England squad may have caused a stir, Ugo Monye went unnoticed into the England Saxons. This was clearly somewhere he did not want to be and his performance against Connacht certainly emphasised this. A superb individual effort will have sent a reminder to Stuart Lancaster that there are still a few weeks to go and with the wing being a position up for grabs, this is no time to be stepping down. Ashton’s performance at the weekend certainly left something to be desired, there is still possibility that the likes of Monye and Wade could find themselves in the elite.

Owen Farrell
The Six Nations is drawing tantalisingly closer and it is looking an exciting prospect, especially after the weekend’s excitement. With the tournament nearing its return the question of who will be England’s starting number 10 makes its inevitable cameo and the pendulum has swung favourably in the way of 32 point Farrell. Saracens overturned a first half deficit to come away victorious from Racing Metro 92, with a flawless display from the young fly-half, kicking 11 from 11 penalties. Farrell has certainly found his rhythm in recent weeks but will Lancaster be looking for someone a bit more dynamic, or will he go with Farrell’s “ice cold temperament” when England take on Scotland on the 2nd of February?

Shane Jennings
Jennings looks likely to be in contention for the Six Nations following his contribution to keeping Leinster’s European hopes alive with this maximum points win. Leinster had to grind away for a well-deserved and much needed victory against the Scarlets’, who were proving a side unwilling to lie down. With his side needing points, Sexton opted to kick for touch, the resulting line out saw Flanker Jennings barge over, a try that owed much to this impressive forward work at the line out. . Leinster’s performance exemplified the ambitious nature of the coming Irish team, a great promise of things to come.

Johnnie Beattie
It seems hard work has paid off for the injury plagued forward. His inclusion in the Scotland squad shows just much a fresh start at Montpellier has benefited the 27 year old. Beattie is regular figure in the starting line-up for Montpellier, something that has given the forward a new lease of life. Furthermore his side have been excellent in the pool and his try scoring performance against Sale would have helped to have sealed his place back in the international squad.

Liam Williams
Hibbard and Jones added themselves to growing injury list for Wales making one thing for certain; The Six nations will be interesting for Wales and Welsh fans alike. Another gloomy weekend saw provided little encouragement as well. However, the Scarlets momentary resilience against leinster would have given heart to some. Liam Williams scored a try and added a sweetly struck drop goal, showing that the Welsh backline still contains some promise and raw talent.

By Jono Frank

15 thoughts on “International Scout Notes – 14th Jan

  1. Regarding Monye, can we just remember that one good performance doesn’t make him worth an international recall? He’s been given plenty of chances, including by Stuart Lancaster, and has resolutely failed to impress at every opportunity. Too upright going in to contact (similar to Courtney Lawes in that regard) and like his Quins clubmate Nick Easter, he’s never been able to reproduce his Harlequins form for England, despite ample opportunity. I quite agree with Lancaster’s decision to drop him to the Saxons – he’s there in case of emergencies but that’s it really.

    1. Agree with Matt. I used to be a big fan of Monye and always thought he could step up to being a top rate international but now my faith has kind of faded. The lions tour showed his inability to step up. He excelled through all the warm up games and rightly deserved his place in the test side on form ahead of Shane Williams but couldn’t make the same impact in the full test match.

      His second try on the weekend looked like he skinned the fullback outright, but on closer inspection the defender pulls up with a pulled hammy (or some other injury).

  2. Sadly agree with the above comments. Why can’t we produce quality wings?

    I’m trying to think of a wing who would have walked into a World Team in the last thirty years. Can’t think of one. We’ve had some decent ones, but nothing more. Another suggestion for a blog piece perhaps!

    1. I know what you mean re: world-class wingers. NZ seem to churn them out at a rate of about 2 a year!

      I think they either need to be noticeably quicker than everyone else on the pitch (Habana, Jane), have an uncanny ability to get over the line (Shane Williams) or have a combination of top pace and size (like the current Welsh wingers and Visser) to be considered world class. But they also need to do all the rest of the winger “basics” very well. I can only think of Jason Robinson in that mould for England in the last two decades and even he had his limitations (kicking/positioning).

      Wade might get there on the pace and ability to get over the line categories. I hope so.

  3. Walking into a world 15 is a pretty tough category! Jason Robinson maybe?

    Have we ever had any fullbacks that would have walked into a world fifteen? Scrum half’s? Centre’s? In fact Jonny 2001-2003 is the only English back i can think of ever to be outright number one in the world.

    Admittedly My knowledge pre millennium is not that great but who would you say would?

    1. I think Will Greenwood could be in there? Great vision and good pace, with fantastic hands. Best centre we’ve ever had. Josh Lewsey on the wing? Great pace and unusually for a winger, a very solid defence.

      1. Definitely agree – Greenwood was world class. The generation before that, I’d say maybe Jeremy Guscott? Rory Underwood? Although they both had some pretty stiff competition in their days with the likes of Sella and Campo knocking about at the same time.

        1. I did think about Greenwood. Whilst he was definitely ‘world class’ i wouldn’t be so sure that he would ‘walk into a world team’. Mortlock, Mauger, Umaga, Scott Gibbs, Yannick Jauzion and a few others competed with him off the top of my head. You could definitely state a good claim for him.

          Josh Lewseyon the other hand… whilst he was also ‘world class’ in the sense he could outplay people on his day, he wouldn’t have never got close to a world team. Howlet, Rococoko, Shane Williams, Habbana, Tquiri, Sailor (maybe), Caucaunibuca, Rougerie were all probably ahead of him.

  4. I think the Shane Jennings reference is a bit of pointless suggestion. Ireland has a plethora of quality back rows (jennings included). However, there is little to no chance of jennings getting called into the Ireland squad. A more sensible option would have been the impressive Rhys Ruddock, who came in for Sean O brien.

    I think, in regards to Monye, he is is a little to one-dimensional. Very quick and powerful but top class international wingers need more about them. Im not a fan of playing full backs on wings but Mike Brown was quite clearly effective there. I dont see who a better option could be at the min.

      1. Agree in regards to Ashton. Certainly up there with any winger in world rugby. Agree that he lost his way last year. With the England world cup nightmare and him leaving Saints he seemed to lose interest.

        Back to his best this season though and has the ability to be one of the best.

    1. Agree he was close to a world 15 spot. Nowhere near now though. Also wouldn’t agree with Jacob Jeffery that hes back to his best now. I think he’s some way off 2010 form.

  5. I know hes new to rugby, but has anyone been watching ELi Walker? where the hell did he come from?

    If he makes and plays well in the 6N, could be an uncapped Lion. Big shout i know but he runs like Christian Cullen!

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