Some huge decisions made by Gatland and i hope they pay off. Slightly annoyed by the press going on and on about there being 10 Welsh in the team - how about just saying there are 15 British players in the team?. |
Corbisiero and Hibbard are good calls for me, both imply that Gatland is going after the scrum - based on his history with Wales, he always likes to dominate the scrum, so picking Corbs and Hibbard will provide the extra power they need.
There are some concerns about Hibbard at the lineout, but last week Parling seemed to favour front ball, which any hooker worth his salt can complete.
Sean O'Brien and Faletau are both spot on for me. O'Brien has been brilliant so far on this tour and i honestly believe that if Warburton wasnt the captain then O'Brien would have got the nod for the first two tests.
Heaslip has been hit and miss for me - he seems to get 'white line fever' whenever he's anywhere inside the opponents half and his offloading has been non-existent. Faletau will gain yards EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.
Phillips had to come back in for me. He was poor in the first test, but you could clearly see he was struggling with the knee injury. If that has cleared up and he's close to 100%, we will see him back to his best. Also, his partnership with Jaime Roberts is a big weapon to have.
Onto the two biggest decisions : O'Driscoll dropped and Alun-Wyn as captain.
I actually agree that B O'D should have been dropped from the team, he really hasnt been at his best, but he should not be dropped from the squad - i think that is very harsh.
I dont think they expect Roberts to finish 80 minutes, so they've gone with Tuilagi on the bench, but if you're winning (or losing) with 10-15 minutes to go, having B O'D off the bench would be a calming or invigorating influence for the younger players. I'm very skeptical about the decision to be honest.
Alun-Wyn as captain is a no-brainer for me. The guy is a powerhouse, he always gives 200% and is a natural-born leader. The only other person you could have given it to was Phillips, but he needs to concentrate on his game at 9, so Alun-Wyn is spot on.
Its a truly massive game, i've actually had butterflies in my stomach all week so fuck knows what state ill be in on Saturday morning. The players need to be perfect for 80 minutes and we'll need some luck, but the series is there for both teams.
A path of glory is laid before them.