Sunday, 11 May 2014

Trial Match for the Welsh a Good Idea?

Warren Gatland and the Welsh coaching team have decided to bring back the Wales Senior Trial, which was last used in 2000, as a way to determine who should go on the plane to South Africa. The two teams, appropriately called, the Probables and the Possibles will go head to head on Tuesday managed by Rob Howley and Robin McBryde respectively. The last time this trial was used those two both participated.

Warren Gatland seems to think it will be a good idea. He said a few days ago,

"It's great that we are able to resurrect the famous Wales trial," 
"It's a good opportunity for the players but its also important for us in our short term as well as long term preparation."

Now, I don't think it's a horrible idea. It will give players a chance who wouldn't usually be considered a chance to show what they can do. It will also create an environment that will match the process of a world cup. All this could bode well for the team. However I have some worries. Is Gatland going to base the decision whether to take a player to South Africa completely on this match? I have seen quotes to suggest he is.

"We will be announcing the squad to travel to South Africa after the game so it's a great opportunity for players to book their seat on the plane."

I feel Gatland and the team should be picking players off their form over the whole season and not just one individual game. Is this one trial match really a accurate represent of how they can compete at the highest level? Probably not. Pick players on form. Yes, give them a chance in one off occasions to show you what they can do, but don't base a final decision on that.

Nikola Matawalu Steals Try off Hogg to Deny Hat-trick!

Take a look at this unusual video from Glasgow's 40-0 win over Zebre! Hogg on a hat-tick gets the try stolen away from him as teammate Matawula comes sprinting through to smack the ball down!

Now I think even though Hogg was on a hat-trick and it was his kick through, Matawula has every right to go for that ball. It doesn't seem that he noticed Hogg put his hand up to tell him not to go for it, and even more importantly if he had slowed down and Hogg hadn't got there it would of been even more unforgivable. I think Matawula was justified in getting that ball. Even though Hogg can feel slightly annoyed his teammate denied his hat-trick.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Injury Problems and Scares a Worry for Wales?

Tipuric (right) to miss South Africa tour, while Priestland (left) in doubt.

The injury to Justin Tipuric leaves some problems for Warren Gatland seeing as the other natural openside Sam Warburton is already out of the tour to South Africa. Where as the possible injury to Priestland may actually be a blessing in disguise.

Justin Tipuric has been ruled out of the tour in June due to due soldier surgery set to take place next week. The Ospreys flanker has been a consistent feature in Warren Gatlands side over the last couple seasons, and seeing as Sam Warburton was missing through injury, he seemed a sure start. This is a problem for Wales. Gatland has suggested he may play Lydiate on the open side and Bradley Davies on the blindside. Now don't get me wrong, Lydiate is a fantastic player. I'm just not sure if the inclusion of him at open side and Davies at bind side gives us the pace and creativity in the back row that tipuric has brought in recent games. Justin Tipuric has been a fine replacement for the consistently injured Sam Warburton and his omission could prove costly against a formidable Springboks back row.

Rhys Priestland's injury doubt on the other hand could be exactly what Wales need. The 27 year old limped off for Scarlets against the Blues today with suspected medial ligament damage. It is unknown when he will find out the extent of this injury. Why is this good? Well ever since Priestland's fantastic performances in the world cup Gatland has seemed set on playing him even when his form was clearly dropping. His performances in the  recent past have been patchy to say the least. Dan Biggar on the other hand has been a steady figure in the Wales set up when he has been allowed to play (usually because of injury to Priestland). I think Wales need someone at 10 who will kick consistently, distribute well and play in the right areas. At the moment Dan Biggar is far more accomplished in those departments than Priestland. So perhaps it isn't all that bad for Wale's chances if Priestland misses the tour.

Highlanders vs Lions Highlights

A dramatic win for the Highlanders ensures they move up to fifth place. Where as the Lions can consider themselves very unlucky after putting in a courages performance only to lose on the last kick. 

This was a fantastic game with some great tries from both teams. Buckman's brilliant finish from direct play was the pick from the Highlanders. While Mapoe when over the line after some clever hands by the Lions.

Racing Metro vs Toulouse Highlights (Top 14 Play-offs)

Racing Metro securded a great victory over Toulouse to get themselves a semi-final spot in the Top 14 play-offs.

Apart from a clever kick from Doussain and the finish from Hosea Gear the game was largely dominated by the two kickers. It was Jonathan Sexton who won that battle against Toulouse's Doussain. The Irishman knocked over 7 out of 7.

Rebels vs Hurricanes Highlights

A decent win for the Hurricanes that brings them up to fourth in the table. The Rebels played some decent stuff at times, but were never really troubling the Hurricanes. The Rebels sit at eleventh in the table now.

It wasn't the most exciting game of rugby the Super 15 has ever seen. But the try by Conrad Smith really showed the quality of the Hurricanes. The direct running from Andre Taylor, the superb vision and cross field kick by Barret and the take and offload by Cory Jane really highlights what the Hurricanes can do at times.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Chiefs vs Blues Highlights

A great win for the Chiefs that brings them up to second place in the Super 15. Tim Nanai-Williams had a fantastic game, setting up a brilliantly worked try, and finishing one for himself.

My personal favourite moment of the game was the Blues first try. It just goes to show that no matter what you think of Ma'a Nonu's temperament, he has huge amounts of quality. The way he drew the defenders and offloaded was lovely. Visinia's finish wasn't bad either!