Six Nations 2011: Wales team to play England

Warren Gatland has been forced into several changes in naming the following team to take on England on Friday night.

Wales team:
15. James Hook
14. Morgan Stoddart
13. Jamie Roberts
12. Jon Davies
11. Shane Williams
10. Stephen Jones
9. Mike Phillips

8. Andy Powell
7. Sam Warburton
6. Dan Lydiate
5. Bradley Davies
4. Alun Wyn Jones
3. Craig Mitchell
2. Matthew Rees (capt)
1. Paul James

Richard Hibbard, John Yapp, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Dwayne Peel, Rhys Priestland, Lee Byrne

16 thoughts on “Six Nations 2011: Wales team to play England

  1. Initial impressions are that it’s lacking leadership in the pack, particularly the back row. Some good players, but Hook is a waste of talent at full-back and Roberts seems like less of a threat these days, particularly at 13.

  2. Why have they got Hook, possibly their best player, playing out of position at full back, and 2 full backs on the bench and another on the wing? I know Stoddart has been playing wing but he is a 15 and Priestland is really a 10 but has been playing very well at 15. All seems a little strange.

  3. If England don’t beat this Welsh team, it’ll be slightly embarrassing. There’s some good individual players, but there are a lot playing out of position. The only advantage i think Wales have is the bench

  4. I think there is some serious underestimation of the welshies.

    their pack isnt lightweight, their front 5 is about same weight as ours, their second row is heavier & Powell is heavier than Easter! (is that possible?)

    6&7 a bit more leightweight but not small.

    A midfield of davies and roberts looks superb.Roberts not playing well? Rubbish, hes a 3 cap Lion who plays better the higher level of game.

    this will be a tight game.

  5. Ok Stuart lets examine your “very lightweight up front” oppinion with the statistics:

    Paul James 18st 3, Matthew Rees 17st 2, Craig Mitchell 18st 8 Total = 53st 13
    Dan Cole 18st 0 Dylan Hartley 16st 9 Andrew Sheridan 19st 0 Total = 53st 9

    Ok not much difference there so lets try Second Row:

    Bradley Davies 18st 9 Alun Wyn Jones 18st 8 Total = 37st 3
    Louis Deacon 18st 2 Tom Palmer 18st 1 Total = 36st 3

    Hmm not really significant is it, what about back row:

    Dan Lydiate 17st 11 Sam Warburton 15st 11 Andy Powell 18st 2 Total = 51st 10
    Nick Easter 17st 9 James Haskell 17st 6 Tom Wood 16st 11 Total = 51st 12

    So after all that it turns out total pack weights are pretty much the same so I personally expect a good battle! I used the weights on club websites as these are for more realistic than the exagerated ones that the WRU or RFU websites are both equally guilty of!

    However I completely agree that its quite baffling to have James Hook at 15 but thats just a sad sign of the lack of depth in the Welsh squad rather than a reasoned selection.

    And Tommy I also agree with you; it would be quite embaressing for a nation with 2,549,196 registered rugby players to lose to a country with only 50,557 but then as England have been keeping up such a good run in Cardiff why not make it eight years of going home with nothing?!

  6. Well if we’re getting literal about it you are clearly right Lukov but by lightweight I mean in terms of big ball carriers who make yards, blokes who are proven World Class scrummagers and I’m sorry but they’re not there. Alun Wyn Jones is an outstanding lineout operator but not a massive ball carrier. Andy Powell is loose as anything. First choice props are missing and both flankers are more designed to be a nuisance at the breakdown than smash anyone on to the back foot. That is not a pack which is going to beat up many other international packs.

    Having said that, England’s pack is not exactly the scariest I’ve ever seen but I think in tight quarters, particularly in the scrum it might have too much. I hope so anyway because as ever Wales’s backline, weird positional selections aside, looks dangerous.

    And while we’re at it, quoting player numbers is irrelevant. once you get to the top level in any sport, especially a team sport, the gap is very tight. Just because England has got more fat 40 year olds playing beer matches doesn’t mean they should win more ionternationals. And probably not an argument to break out the next time the Lions go to Australia, we might get it thrown back at us.

  7. I also disagree with Stuart re the Welsh pack, they have got enough grunt in there and actually id swap their second row for ours…

    the point about “world class scrummagers” is over made, and there are two points here:

    1) Aussies have shown you dont need world class scrum (let a lone props) to win internaitionals – see Aussies beating NZ in Hong Kong

    2) its what you DO with the dominant scrum that matters. obviously kick penalties when you can but also turning the scrum , to nullify the oppo back row, to set yours and backs free

    England often dont make the most of their superiority

  8. Stuart I agree world class scrummagers are definately lacking… but I would say so in both teams with Sheridan being the only on either team with a proven track record at international level. The general point I was trying to make was that I think its going to be a much more evenly matched game than the first five posts on here would have me believe!

    Anyone know if the roof is going to be closed or not yet? Derek said heavy rain on friday in Cardiff on last nights forecast… could be a game changer. My guess is Johnno would like it wet and muddy!

  9. Valid points although Australia’s backline is different gravy. A lot depends on the ref. If it’s Craig Joubert then it’s irrelevant because he gives a free kick at every scrum anyway.

    I’d agree that Wales have the more athletic pack, particularly in the absence of Croft and Lawes. And you’re right that England often don’t make best use of their platform – they often need over 60% of the ball to win the game. But it’s not the strongest Welsh side of recent years and they’re without a win in 7. If England lose they have problems.

  10. what the frig is going on ? hook should start at 10 and why is lee byrne on the bench ? i may be wrong but i think we’re going to get our arses kicked ! dont understand playing players out of position british lions first choice fullback on the bench mystifying .

  11. Hook must love it when the team-sheet is poked under his door: fingers crossed someone will see that I’m the best 10 in Wales, or at least play me as an interchangeable 10-12. Nope. It’s 15 again. I’ll just catch high balls all day shall i? What’s that? You want inferior passers to throw the ball behind me and expose my lack of acceleration? Alright, i’ll do it. But i’m bloody moving to Perpignan.

  12. I think the real issue for Wales will be whether their props can equal the England props in real play, regardless of how heavy they are.
    If that happens, the back row is a great up and coming unit. Warburton and especially lydiate had excellent games against new Zealand recently and silenced McCaw etc for a lot of the game. The real flaw we had in that game was a lack of straightening the line at centre. When we finally did that we scored.

    As all games it wsill come down to getting on the front foot upfront, in whatever guise, crossing the gain line and putting the forwards on the front foot. Both sides have good sets of back if they are on the front foot.
    Interesting to see how roberts / davies set the backline in motion. I’m not worried about roberts at 13. It would make very interesting viewing later in the championship if we can get henson / hook (or jones) in side him to set him loose with their distribution.

  13. im sure Hook will not play all the game at full back, tactical play i think and is quite capable of doing the job.

    lets just hope the welsh fans get behind the team to keep the passion going.
    good luck Wales

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