Team of the week. Guinness Pro 14 League. Week 12
Two further Welsh derbies in this round of fixtures and another two games next weekend. Scarlets and Ospreys victorious in their games against Cardiff Blues and Dragons respectively.
Some tougher selections in this round, but here is the selections with a rationale as to why the player was selected.
15/ Carl Meyer – Dragons. Some mixed performances in this position from yesterday. Leigh Halfpenny was solid, Matthew Morgan was good with the ball in hand but his defence was found wanting twice badly when the Scarlets scored two tries. Dan Evans played well but the majority of the game he was on the wing after an early injury. The selection this week goes to Carl Meyer who was solid in defence, his defensive kicking was good and when he did have the opportunity to attack made some good breaks making 67 metres with the ball in hand.
14/ Tom Prydie – Scarlets. Ashton Hewitt looked dangerous for the Dragons but needed a bit more composure on his decisions after making the initial breaks. The choice goes to Prydie, who after a rare start, was excellent in defence, his kick chase was good and also got on the try-scoring sheet. Very good performance.
13/ Rey Lee-lo – Cardiff Blues. Strong in defence with his blitz defence spotting the planned move from the Scarlets a number of times. Also carried hard.
12/ Scott Williams – Scarlets. Solid throughout the game made very few mistakes. Just gets the nod over Willis Halaholo for the pick this week.
11/ Tom James – Cardiff Blues. Made 65 metres with the ball in hand, and had a strong all-around game yesterday.
10/ Gareth Anscombe – Cardiff Blues. Some fine performances in the fly-half position in the last round of matches. Dan Biggar went very well for the Ospreys showing off his great ability on the up and under and ability to regather to set up a try. Arwel Robson of the Dragons showed some real promise and did not look overawed. Rhys Patchell also showed some nice touches for the Scarlets, but my choice goes to Gareth Anscombe, who bar a poorly missed kick at goal, his all-around game was excellent yesterday. His decision making was very accurate as was his execution. Very good performance.
9/ Gareth Davies – Scarlets. Excellent performance from the scrum-half yesterday. As always a constant threat around rucks and set pieces. But his tactical kicking yesterday was also very good. In very good form currently is the West Walian.
1/ Wyn Jones – Scarlets. Strong scrummaging display from the loosehead prop, who also was prominent in the loose. The prop is very good at maul time often getting into a position to hold the ball up and get the scrum for his team. Scarlets have two very good loosehead props on their books.
2/ Matthew Rees – Cardiff Blues. The hooker is in really good form. Carrying really strongly and going well in the set piece. Pips Scott Baldwin who put in a very strong performance yesterday.
3/ Werner Kruger – Scarlets. Been really impressed with the South African this season to date. His all-around game is very good. And biggest praise I can give is that Samson Lee has not been missed. The Scarlets have real strength in depth in their front row, and full credit to them for that.
4/ Tadhg Beirne – Scarlets. George Earle played well for the Cardiff Blues, but serial choice Tadhg Beirne gets the nod. Made 15 tackles in the game, and was constantly available to carry the ball. Was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on when Cardiff Blues were on the ascendency in attack, but got away with it.
5/ Adam Beard – Ospreys. Josh Turnbull played well for Cardiff Blues, but the choice goes to the young Welsh lock, Adam Beard. Went well in the lineout and carried well.
6/ Aaron Wainwright – Dragons. In defeat, the back rower was outstanding for the Dragons. Made 14 tackles and carried for 48 hard metres. Very impressive performance from the player who never stopped trying.
7/ James Davies – Scarlets. Made 17 tackles and was a nuisance throughout the game. How he got away with the crucial turnover on his line mind I will never know, but a very good performance from the 7. Justin Tipuric always played very well for the Ospreys, but Davies gets the nod.
8/ Ollie Cracknell – Ospreys. A robust performance from the back rower. 20 tackles made and the player looks to be playing himself back into the form that got him into the Welsh squad last year.
So there you have the team of the week. I will be back this week with the team of the season from weeks 1 through to 12, of the players who have gained selections the most in the respective positions. I hope you enjoy.