Two more Welsh derbies, more head to head clashes for the Welsh coaches to ponder team selections for the 6 Nations. With the Scarlets and the Ospreys coming out on top, who shone and who earned selection to the team of the week? Here are the choices.
15/ Rhys Patchell – Scarlets. Some performance from this outstanding back player. 112 metres in attack, started at fullback and was excellent and then moved to 10 for the last quarter and again shone. The Welsh selectors must seriously consider how to make use of this player, just a superb footballer wherever he is asked to play. Would to see him have a go at 12, especially with how Wales want to adapt their back play, but I have said this for a while now, and I am still waiting.
14/ Alex Cuthbert – Cardiff Blues. Got a yellow card late in the game for being offside which due to his position he took made a try-scoring opportunity thwarted. Carried strongly and was eager for work throughout.
13/ Ashley Beck – Ospreys. Class performance from the outside centre. Made his tackles and with the ball in hand very dangerous, his timing of the pass to offload to others after he made the initial break was outstanding. Always been a quality performer just is regularly beset with injuries, hopefully, gets a clear run for a while.
12/ Hadleigh Parkes – Scarlets. No real stars at inside centre this week. Owen Watkin went well until his injury near the end of the game when he was stretchered off, hopefully, it’s not too serious. However, the choice this week goes to Hadleigh Parkes for his performance against the Dragons.
11/ Owen Lane – Cardiff Blues. Took his try well and is a real menace with the ball in hand. A young man who must be in with a chance of making the 6 Nations Welsh squad with the injuries in those positions. Being a real party pooper has some work to do on his kicking game, but a real potential star in the making.
10/ Dan Biggar – Ospreys. Superb performance from the 10. The chip and chase and then slight of hand with the pass for the Rhys Webb try was world class. And his all-around game all day was outstanding.
9/ Rhys Webb – Ospreys. Aled Davies played very well for the Scarlets, but the Ospreys half backs were superb. Webb scored two tries and was a constant threat to the Cardiff Blues.
1/ Rob Evans – Scarlets. Did the basics well at scrum time, but yet again showed his ability with the ball in hand. Nicky Smith also showed up well for the Ospreys, Wales have two very good loosehead props available to them and don’t write off the returning Gethin Jenkins yet either.
2/ Ken Owens – Scarlets. The British Lion was in fine form on Friday night showing up very well in the loose.
3/ Samson Lee – Scarlets. His first game back from injury and the tighthead prop was excellent. Great to see him back in action.
4/ Steve Cummins – Scarlets. The best game I have seen him play so far for the Scarlets. Strong at the lineout, and carried well with the ball in hand. A mention also for Bradley Davies of the Ospreys, who in recent weeks has started to show the form we are used to when was playing regularly for Wales.
5/ Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys – The Ospreys second row was very good on Saturday afternoon and the Welsh captain was a constant nuisance at the breakdown and in the tight.
6/ Aaron Shingler – Scarlets. Great with the ball in hand and was able to use his ability in open play in a dominant Scarlets performance scoring a try. A mention for Aaron Wainwright of the Dragons who never gave up and looks one to watch.
7/ Justin Tipuric – Ospreys. In open play was outstanding showing some lovely link-up play and also got on the scoresheet. A mention also for teenager debutant, Taine Basham of the Dragons. Made 15 tackles in the game, Dragons top tackler and in tough circumstances never shied away.
8/ Nick Williams – Cardiff Blues. Carried strongly and got on the scoresheet and won some turnovers also. When “Big Nick” gets in position over the ball, I am not sure even a digger could remove him from the spot. A mention also for John Barclay of the Scarlets, who was excellent but the Cardiff Blues number 8 gets the nod.
There you have it the team of the week this week. There will be no team of the week for a few weeks due to the upcoming European games and then the Anglo-Welsh games, but then they will be back. Please listen to our friends at The Attacking Scrum for their take on the selections as well as their usual thoughts on all rugby related matters in Wales.