International Scout Notes – 19th Oct

Ben Youngs

The second round of the Heineken Cup is now behind us, and thoughts are quickly turning to the Autumn Internationals that begin in a few weeks. It won’t be long before the teams are being announced, so here are a few notes that might help those in power – and it struck me that all of these players could be stars of the Rugby World Cup next year.

Tom Croft
I’ve had lingering doubts about Croft as an international, with concerns about his work rate and a tendency to hang around on the wing, but his performance at the weekend went a long way to dispel that concern. Croft worked tirelessly all afternoon, and he has the pace and handling skills to catalyse the offloading game for which England ought to strive.

Ben Youngs
Another Tiger that was prominent, and despite Joe Simpson’s top performance for Wasps, Youngs has to be Johnno’s number one scrum-half. Outstanding distribution, giving Toby Flood the platform from which to control the game – perhaps they should be England’s half-backs after all.

Jonathan Sexton
Scored all of Leinster’s points in a tense and dramatic fixture at Wembley. Calm under pressure to slot the important kicks, and his decision-making under pressure was flawless, keeping Sarries in their own half when they were chasing the game. Ronan O’Gara was handy for Munster as well, but we’ll be recommending that Declan Kidney opt for the youngster.

Shane Williams
There were rumours that Williams was a fading force, particularly after a disappointing Lions Tour in 2009, but he showed at the weekend that he can turn a game with a moment of brilliance, and that warrants his inclusion for as long as he is fit. The clip from RugbyDump is below if you haven’t seen it already.


Photo: Patrick Khachfe/Onside Images

6 thoughts on “International Scout Notes – 19th Oct

  1. You had lingering concerns about Tom croft as an international? what have you been smoking naughty boy?!

    Did you see the Lions tour?he was thrown in late doors and played magnificently in 3 brutal test matches of unrivalled intensity. If Geech backs you, then so should everyone else.


    Little Shane is like marmite i think. Im on the negative side. he does some really amazing things but when the chips are down, give me something a bit tougher any day.

    England have got some mouth wateringly good players in the early 20s coming through!

  2. Obviously he was superb for the Lions, but he has looked a little work-shy in a white jersey…popping up on the wing more often than scrapping at the breakdown. More of a Chris Jones at 6 than Richard Hill, and I know who I’d rather have in the back row.

    However, he can be very effective, and if Johnno can get the best out of him as Geech did, he should be first name on the teamsheet.

    Don’t forget though that Croft wasn’t in Geech’s original squad, so not whole-heartedly backed by the great man!

  3. England have been average apart from beating Australia 21-20 and Croft played well!

    You are comparing 25 year old Croft with Richard Hill, who was voted in everyones world XV/lions XV of all time etc…hmmm (perhaps not Animal XV tho :)

    Croft can be as good i think.

    he wasnt in Geechs original team (Ferris was a shoe in) but as Geech says, Lions tours are for people to step up so scoring 2 tries and playing in all the tests, he turned out as good as / better than ferris!

  4. You know the rugby season is back in full swing in Ireland when the ROG v Sexton arguments start. Sexton is back with a bang, credit where it’s due, but ROG has shown a new lease of life in the past couple of games for Munster, Stringers fast ball is giving him the extra split second on the ball. Roll on the Autumn internationals!

  5. ROG is a (gambling) liability under pressure.
    when has he delivered at the highest level for Ireland / Lions?

  6. ROG was a pretty central figure in the 09 Grand Slam, was he not? His Lions moment of madness was an exception rather than the norm.

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