Team of the Week – Guinness Pro 14, Week 1
Each week we will publish a team of that respective week based on the performances of the four Welsh sides competing in the Guinness Pro 14 League as well as when applicable, European competitions.
The team will be selected of players in their respective positions by our view, the best individual performances in those positions. It will not be based on just Welsh players, but players irrespective of nationality playing for Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Dragons. The main reason for this in some positions you are limiting yourself very much if just selecting Welsh players and would be a danger of same names appearing as no other options from a group of only four sides.
At the end of the season, we will select the team of the year based on the number of appearances each player has made in the weekly selections, and if there are any ties, then a decision will be made by us, on who we felt performed better. The weekly team will be selected each Sunday or Monday when all teams have played their respective matches.
Right enough about the process, first week in the league and two wins and two losses for the Welsh sides. Cardiff Blues were very disappointing on Friday night losing at home to Edinburgh. Dragons lost to Leinster and two wins for Ospreys and Scarlets against Zebre and Southern Kings respectively.
Without further delay, the team of the week is as follows:
15/ Leigh Halfpenny – Scarlets. Solid debut made by Halfpenny. Four kicks out of five, a try and an assist in another try. The back trio of Halfpenny, McNicholl and Evans look a dangerous unit and will be interesting to see how they go over the coming weeks when they get used to each other’s play.
14/ Johnny McNicholl – Scarlets. Two tries from the ex Crusader. Looked really dangerous with ball in hand, an excellent performance. A mention too for Keelan Giles and Ashton Hewitt both back from injuries and looking sharp.
13/ Scott Williams – Scarlets. A fine performance from Williams, showing his footballing skills in the outside centre position on Saturday. A mention too for Ben John, who performed well for the Ospreys.
12/ Cory Allen – Ospreys. The player looked in the best shape for a long time Saturday. If he can maintain his fitness and the form he showed Saturday, Ospreys and Wales have another option in the centre position. A mention too for Hadleigh Parks, another strong showing for Scarlets.
11/ Steff Evans – Scarlets. Carried on his form from last season, scoring a try and causing problems for the opposition. A mention for Aled Summerhill, one of the few bright spots for Cardiff Blues on Friday, looking dangerous whenever he received the ball with any space and always looking for work.
10/ Rhys Patchell – Scarlets. Good distribution all afternoon and a fine try from the Scarlets 10. Has been in good form for a while now, and is looking a contender for the Welsh squad in a position Wales have a number of players.
9/ Gareth Davies – Scarlets. Looked tired end of last season, but Saturday looked really sharp around the fringes making some good breaks.
1/ Rhys Gill – Cardiff Blues. Scrummaged well against WP Nel and put in a real shift in defence for Cardiff Blues. The best we have seen him play for a number of games.
2/ Ryan Elias – Scarlets. Another strong showing from the young hooker, with Ken Owens and Emyr Phillips also on their books the Scarlets are blessed in this position. A mention too for Elliot Dee on his return from injury for the Dragons who put in a commendable display in a beaten pack.
3/ Leon Brown – Dragons. A tough day for the young tight head up against Cian Healy for Leinster, but came through well showing up very well in the loose. A mention too for Samson Lee who looked very strong for the Scarlets.
4/ Jake Ball – Scarlets. Strong all around performance from the lock forward, also getting himself over the try line. A mention too for Seb Davies the young Cardiff Blues lock forward, a player of real promise in the boiler room.
5/ Tadhg Beirne – Scarlets. The player who continued on from last season where he was outstanding. Irish honours cannot be too far away for Beirne.
6/ Aaron Shingler – Scarlets. The athletic number six won his fair share of lineout ball and was always a willing ball carrier on Saturday.
7/ Justin Tipuric – Ospreys. Won turnover ball, and was always looking to create space for others when running with the ball in hand, creating an assist for one of the tries. Nothing new from the player who is a fantastic ball player. A mention too for James Davies who yet again, was outstanding for Scarlets on Saturday.
8/ John Barclay – Scarlets. The Scottish international was solid and dependable on Saturday as always, an excellent back row player.
So there you have it, our first team of the week. Do you agree with our selections? Have we missed out a player you felt deserved a selection? Let us know!