Team of the week. Guinness Pro League. Week 8
Two wins out of four this round of matches for the Welsh sides, Cardiff Blues and Scarlets with the wins, so no surprises that the team of the week is heavily favoured towards those sides. Ospreys will be very disappointed with their performance against Edinburgh and the Dragons fielding a weakened side, were heavily beaten by Munster.
The selection this week is as follows:
15/ Johnny McNicholl – Scarlets. A fine performance from the talented back on Friday night. Was given plenty of space and ball to run back from loose kicking and he certainly capitalised. A talented back three player, who has a fine season to date. A mention also for Matthew Morgan of the Cardiff Blues who in the last two games has looked more confident with his core skills and dangerous with the ball in hand.
14/ Blaine Scully – Cardiff Blues. The American is a real fan favourite at Cardiff Arms Park. A wholehearted player with good basic skills and a very capable offloader. A mention also for Tom Prydie for the Scarlets. Great to see him back playing top flight rugby and showed some good touches, hopefully, his injury woes are over.
13/ Scott Williams – Scarlets. A very classy performance on Friday night, great timing of pass to put players into space, and got on the scoresheet. Class player who is now back in the Welsh squad due to Tyler Morgan’s injury. Who knows before this autumn series is out could very easily be back in the Welsh team, based on this performance.
12/ Willis Halaholo – Cardiff Blues. The Cardiff hot stepper shows all his dancing skills on Saturday night. One on one in space he is a very dangerous centre to stop.
11/ Tom James – Cardiff Blues. A strong performance for the long forgotten left winger from a national team perspective. Strong bursts with the ball in hand and have a cannon of a left foot when required in defence to get you out of trouble.
10/ Dan Jones – Scarlets. Has not been seen much so far this season in Scarlets colours after some good performances last season, but on Friday night showed what a talent he is. Varied his game beautifully, with cross-field kicks, little grubber kicks in behind, and short and long passes to his backline. A great option to have as the understudy to Rhys Patchell.
9/ Jonathan Evans – Scarlets. A strong showing from the number 9. Made some clean breaks and got a try assist.
1/ Gethin Jenkins – Cardiff Blues. On his return after months away, the legendary loosehead prop was absolutely outstanding. What an engine this player has and such an intelligent rugby player. If Wales lose a loosehead prop through injury this autumn then Geth has to be next off the rank.
2/ Matthew Rees – Cardiff Blues. “Smiler” was excellent Saturday night, his work in the set piece as always was outstanding, plus carried well and made some great hits in defence, and also got into the turnover act, as well as scoring a try.
3/ Werner Kruger – Scarlets. Good showing from the tighthead prop who got through a lot of work. Great back up for Samson Lee.
4/ Macauley Cook – Cardiff Blues. An understated player who always gives his all when called on. Still, think his best position is at 6, but a very good performance on Saturday night, making 12 tackles in defence, and being prominent causing problems at rucks.
5/ Damian Welch – Cardiff Blues. First season back at the Cardiff Arms Park after many years away, and has had a stop-start season to date with injuries, but on Saturday night was in the thick of the action.
6/ Tadhg Beirne – Scarlets. A team of the week with no Aaron Shingler! The shirt goes to the ultra-talented Irishman. Plays lock is outstanding, plays at 8, outstanding, asked to play at 6… Well you know. Some player.
7/ Ollie Robinson – Cardiff Blues. A real hard tough openside. Loves a battle and is always in the mix. Has impressed Cardiff fans and many are hoping he is offered a fulltime contract to remain at the club. A mention also for Will Boyde, who yet again put in a great shift at 7 for Scarlets
8/ Nick Williams – Cardiff Blues. “Big Nick” was at his barnstorming best on Saturday night, big hits and big carries and two turnovers, once he gets in position over the ball, watch out, so tough to remove off his feet legally.
So there you have it our team of the week. Do you agree/disagree? Let us know.
Please listen to The Attacking Scrum who amongst other things will discuss our selection and pick their man of the week based on the performances, well worth a listen.
There will be no team of the week for next few weeks as no Guinness Pro games for a few weeks with the autumn series. Please read our thoughts on the upcoming series from a Welsh perspective which will be published next week, as well as our thoughts on the games after they occur. We hope you enjoy.