Wales in playing competitive rugby shocker!!

This was such a good performance that rather than being happy with the performance we should be dissappointed that we didn't actually win and go on to set up a dream England Wales final (credit goes to Wooller for pointing this out!).

Plenty of positives to come out of the game for Wales. They defended aggressively and effectively. Wales took a high proportion of the All Black lineout against the throw. First up tackles were excellent, on several occassions Wales made solid tackles knocking the Kiwis onto the back foot and following up with quick, clean rucking. This denied the New Zealanders the quality ball that any backline needs and on several occassions the Welsh pack was able to ruck the Kiwis off the ball and turn attack into defence.

The scrummage was dissappointing. Wales were only able to hold our scrum (with the exception of one excellent 5 metre defensive scrum where Wales were able to hack the ball to the halfway line after an effective wheel) rather than attack the Kiwis. There was far too much procrastinating and disruption in actually setting the Welsh scrum. On too many occassions Wales were penalised for not engaging at the referee's command, for pushing before the ball was put in or for the 2nd rows charging the front rows together. Very sloppy and schoolboy but easy to fix before the England game.

New Zealand looked very dangerous every time they got the ball out wide and it was a testament to the Welsh defence in the tackle and ruck areas that New Zealand were not able to spread the play as often as they would have liked.

Picking a man of the match is hard since for me there were 20 or so men of the match. Individual performances did stand out. Unfortunately for Gareth Cooper his distribution from the base was poor and put those outside him under unneccessary pressure on several occassions. Not a good reason to stand out in an otherwise superb performance.

Shane Williams and Ceri Sweeney(after he came on) consistently made breaks and looked dangerous behind. Brent Cobain and Robert Sidoli were awesome both in the lineout and in the loose.

But man of the match for me was Jonathan Thomas. He carried the ball over the gain line and beyond regularly and was devastating in the tackle and breakdown areas. A young man with a great future.

Bring on England.

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Re: Wales in playing competitive rugby shocker!!

Good post young Toby.

I thought Jonathan Thomas and Shane Williams were outstanding and must both start against the Saes. Little Shane was changing direction of both feet in a Jason Robinson stylee, and was troubling the Kiwi defence everytime he had the ball.

Charvis finally looked liked he wanted to play for Wales, and was hungry for the ball. Mark Taylor also pulled a good performance out of nowhere.

Fitness is no longer the problem it was for the Welsh team. What we now need is regular rugby of that intensity. Regional rugby is the way to do that, even if it does take time.

A shot in the arm for Welsh rugby though, proving to the world that we aren't quite as shite as everyone thought.

15 heroes to a man - fire in the belly and ice in the head.

Bring on the Saes!

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