International Scout Notes: 8th October

Sam Dickinson

The number 8 has been ever-present at Northampton this season, after cruelly being ruled out with injury last year. There was no exception to the rule this weekend as his side played a gritty and gruelling game at Welford Road with Leicester. He imposed himself in the early stages with some barrelling runs, strong scrummaging and was unlucky to be held up for what would have been a well-deserved try. Competition for places is wide open for international selection in the opening few weeks of the season following some surprising and exciting displays. Not being in either EPS squad makes Dickinson highly unlikely to feature over the Autumn, but should injuries arise you can bet he will be on Lancaster’s radar as a replacement.

Christian Wade

Compared to last season Wade has made a quiet start this year, but there were flashes of his brilliance against Saracens at the weekend. The Wasps winger is in great shape for selection for the Autumn Internationals following a surprising summer which saw him drafted into the Lions squad. There is no hiding away from the fact that Wade is probably the most dynamic and electrifying winger in the Premiership. He burst down the line to set up a Wasps try and looked constantly dangerous throughout the match. There was speculation aplenty around why the winger wasn’t making it into Lancaster’s plans last season, but there is surely no way he can be overlooked this time round.

Owen Farrell

Although it may seem obvious, Saracens’ start to the season can’t go overlooked. Owen Farrell has been excellent at the start of this season and continues to belie his years. Excellent kicking, intelligent decision making and incisive passing have been consistent characteristics as he has marshalled his side to the top of league. With Toby Flood and Freddie Burns following close behind, the rejuvenation of Danny Cipriani and the promise of George Ford, fly-half is going to be a tightly contested position. Nevertheless, Farrell and his team remain out on top and Stuart Lancaster’s decision will get easier as this continues.

Greig Laidlaw

One of Scotland and Edinburgh’s most talented players who can double as a goal kicking, tricky scrum-half or a mastermind of backline moves as fly-half. His ability to keep the opposition on their toes with his quick and intelligent ball work combined with his goal kicking talents make Laidlaw easily one of Scotland’s most important players.

He captained Edinburgh to the 2012 semi-finals of the Heineken Cup and made his long awaited return to action last weekend against Blues in Cardiff. Laidlaw scored all of his team’s 12 points in the 29-12 loss to the Blues but showed the talent and skill Edinburgh have been missing over the last five RaboDirect Pro12 rounds. Laidlaw is key to the future of both Scotland and Edinburgh, with his goal kicking and rugby brain likely to play a big role.

Jason Tovey

Yet another example of the exceptional talent Wales have in the backline, Jason Tovey is a duel threat from either fullback or flyhalf who is dangerous with or without the ball in his hands. After a brief season with the Blues in 2012-2013, Tovey is back with the Dragons and where it all began for the 24 year old.

Tovey made his club debut for the Dragons in 2008, as a 19 year old, and in 2010 he was voted Young Player of the Year by the Welsh Professional Players awards and has since gone on to play 92 games for the Dragons, scoring 591 points in the process. His most recent effort saw him score three conversions and three penalties in a 30-7 win over Zebre at Rodney Parade on Friday night. Tovey was masterful in the match, dictating much of the play while taking his chances well. With the Autumn Internationals on the not-too-distant horizon, Tovey could find himself in with a chance of making the squad if his Dragons performances continue to improve.

By Jono Frank and Alex McLeman

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

12 thoughts on “International Scout Notes: 8th October

  1. As a Wasps fan I’d love to see Wade getting some game time in the AIs. I can’t help but feel that Ashton and Yarde are just slightly ahead of him at the moment though.

    1. Agree. Ashton is looking sharper this season, what with Sarries new playing style giving him a chance to play his natural style. I’m still a little worries about him defensively though.
      Yarde is the real deal, if a little raw still.

      1. Ashton looks very strong. All three are good wingers and they all have flaws. Wade and Ashton both lack defensively, but Yarde tends to lack vision and struggles to bring other players into the game. Any two of the three would be good though. As long as they don’t play one of our FBs out there I don’t mind!

  2. I was starting to warm to Wade. Defensively he needs work, but his running, particularly in broken defence is brilliant. However, the more I see of Marland Yarde, the more I think he is just much more complete as a player. He’s stronger, as quick and I just think a smarter player than Wade.

    One thing I always thought was strong about Ashton was his defence, but it looked a little iffy in the 6N. He’s looking a little better at the minute though. Criticism of his try-scoring ability for England though comes down to the fact that the England fly-half/centre combo was not one that notoriously spun the ball out wide. Can’t score without the ball. If Lancaster can fix the issue and give Ashton some ball, I can see him still being a serious threat.

    1. Not sure Yarde is smarter, Wade runs great lines and demonstrated against Argentina (and another example this weekend) he’s a provider as well as a finisher.

      25 tries in 42 prem games for Wade (9 in 32 for Yarde), I think we have to find out now if he can step up to international level (and if he can handle himself defensively at this level).

      I struggle to pick between Ashton and Yarde, I’m inclined to give Yarde a run as he’s started the season so well and “a bit iffy” is some understatement on Ashton’s turnstile defence in the 6N.

      1. Problem is Wade and Ashton play on the same wing – anyone know if either ever swaps? I reckon Yarde will definitely be starting. He’s a quality finisher and is unafraid of getting involved in the ugly stuff, which I think really endears him to Lancaster.

        1. Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t all three wings we are talking about play with 14 on their back all season?

          I think it will be Ashton in the 14 shirt, I just can’t see him being dropped or moved.

          It’ll be a straight shoot out between Yarde and Wade for the 11 shirt . Heart says Wade but head says Yarde.

          1. I thought Wade and Ashton played on the right and Yarde on the left? Although thinking about it now I’ve got visions of Yarde tearing down the right hand touchline, so you may well be right.

            1. You are right, I think Ashton has been moved to left wing before as well though.

              As long as we don’t move Brown there I don’t mind.

              1. When Ashton first came on the scene he was put on the left because Cueto played on the right. That didn’t last very long though and I can’t imagine him moving now.

  3. Corey Allan had an excellent game at centre for The Blues. With the Doc looking a doubt for the Autumn and Scott Williams also out we may see Allan at least get a look in the Tonga game.

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