We’ve had our Scouts at the various grounds around the country this weekend, and here’s who caught their eye. Let us know if you spotted anyone else that deserves a mention.
Started last year in sublime form, catching the eye with blistering pace and several searing breaks. Was forgotten slightly after the rise of Ben Youngs, the shoulder injury that ruled him out the Six Nations and the hamstring problem that forced his withdrawal from England’s summer tour. However, his performance against Gloucester at the weekend suggests he could be back in the reckoning – outstanding, speedy delivery and always a threat around the fringes.
A hat-trick performance stole the headlines at Kingston Park, and Johnno will have spotted them. There’s talk of him finding his ‘spark’ again, and there’s no denying his pace. His defence wasn’t really tested by Newcastle, so hopes aren’t up yet, but we’ll keep an eye on him in the next few weeks.
Broke into the England setup last year, but hasn’t been quite as convincing so far this term. His work rate around the park was immense last season, but without Carl Hayman on the other side of the scrum, his performances seem to have dipped. Was in contention for the Autumn Internationals, but needs to up his game to force his way in.
When you are identified by the television analysts as being average for your club, does that spell the end of your England career? Sunday’s conditions should have been ideal for an international lock to step up, but as Austin Healey showed, every time he got the ball, he was only looking to go to ground. There are many more promising talents around, and not much evidence to suggest that Johnno was wrong to drop Borthers.
The heartbeat of Ulster’s side, and has been central to their performances so far this season. A phenomenal player and a shoo-in for Ireland, but latest injury may be yet another set back. He left the field after just 10 minutes of the Connacht match after a blow to the ribs, but fingers crossed that it isn’t serious and that he’ll make a return in time for the Autumn to play a full part in Declan Kidney’s Rugby World Cup preparations.
Mike’s younger brother and half-back partner was a key figure in Edinburgh’s victory over Leinster, pressing home the advantage that the pack provided, controlling the game, kicking the points when appropriate, and scoring a try to boot. Would have been an interesting match up with Jonny Sexton had he been fit, and will keep an eye on how he fares when they face Leinster again at the end of October.
We’re looking for more scouts, particularly in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, so if you fancy helping out with the Scout Notes every now and then, please get in touch.