Wales v Georgia – Team Selection Posers.
This weekend, Wales take on the Eastern European country, Georgia, in the second game of the Autumn Series. The team nicknamed, “The Lelos” are ranked twelfth in the World rankings and are not a team to be taken too lightly by Wales. They have a number of players who play their rugby in France in the Top 14 League. They have a big strong powerful pack of forwards and a very talented young scrum-half in the shape of Vasil Lobzhanidze who plays with Brive. Will Wales as Warren Gatland stated in his press conference after the Australian defeat, go with wholesale changes, or with New Zealand and South Africa the following weekends after this, make a few changes, allow combinations where there is inexperience, have another game to gel? Well, we won’t have long to find out to see his team announcement due tomorrow. For what it’s worth, this would be my match day 23 on Saturday.
15. Liam Williams
14. Alex Cuthbert
13. Owen Watkin
12. Rhys Patchell
11. Hallam Amos
10. Rhys Priestland
9. Rhys Webb
1. Nicky Smith
2. Elliot Dee
3. Leon Brown
4. Seb Davies
5. Cory Hill
6. Dan Lydiate
7. Justin Tipuric
8. Josh Navidi
S Williams, S Evans, A Davies, K Dacey, W Jones, T Francis, A Beard, S Cross
From what I understand, Webb and Tipuric are available for selection, so I feel before we take on the mammoth challenge of New Zealand a week Saturday, they need to gain some game time, so I would give them both a start. With the big loss of the injury to Jonathan Davies right at the end of last weekends game with a long-term injury, then Wales need to look at who will play at outside centre. Watkin looked very sharp in his cameo role last weekend, and I would give him the first opportunity. Scott Williams, I would have on the bench and look to bring him into the game if all being well, around the 50-minute mark.
Let’s see Liam Williams in a Welsh 15 shirt, using his counterattacking skills, lines of running supporting the ball carrier from a central position. Another Williams, Owen Williams went well at inside centre last Saturday, but I would give an opportunity to Rhys Patchell for this game. The Scarlets man has in my view, all the attributes to be a real option at 12 for Wales. A strong kicking option, a swift pass, big and strong who makes tackles and also, takes the ball to the line, either as a ball carrier or can offload under pressure in the face of defenders.
Elliot Dee has been the form Welsh hooker in the Pro 14 League this season to date, and I would put him into the starting line up alongside his fellow Dragon, Leon Brown in the Welsh front row. A real talent in Seb Davies in the boiler room alongside Cory Hill who also, looked eager for work last Saturday. In the back row, the tackling machine, who stops the ball carrier either before or on the gain line more often than not, Dan Lydiate. Which if Lydiate can do this, Justin Tipuric will love. Tipuric will embrace the more expansive playing style Gatland is looking to implement, and expect Tipuric in the wide expanses with the ball in hand, a superb rugby player in his own right. Josh Navidi who can play right across the back row completes the trio wearing this time around the number 8 shirt.
Those are some of my reasons for selection and that is my matchday side, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Please let us at Y Ddraig know.
Feature Picture Credit: http://www.autumn-internationals.co.uk