Have the Welsh written themselves off too early?
There’s quite a bit of gloom coming out of Wales, regarding the tests against the Wallabies next month.
Now that Warren Gatland is on crutches, caretaker coach Rob Howley recently described the three upcoming tests as “three car crashes”.
By his subsequent remarks he seems to be thinking that while the Wallabies will merely be involved in a fender bender, his team’s vehicle is in danger of being a write-off.
One of his best players, tight head-prop Adam Jones, has been even more pessimistic, describing the coming tour as “a test too far”.
Jones feels that after an exhausting season, and having already made the long trip to the antipodes this year – where they lost out on a medal to the Wallabies – it’s going to be difficult for his team to come up with the fire necessary to win the series.
“One test, or even two, okay,” he said. “But three… well.”
On various blogs Welsh fans have made it know they are really mad at him for throwing in the towel.
Yet some of them have conceded that history is not on their side – Wales are 1-8 against the Wallabies in Australia, and 8-12 in Wales.
From Jones’ remarks it appears that he thinks that if his team loses either the first or second test, they’ll lose the series. He reckons they’ll be too fatigued and anxious to get home to come out fighting in the third.
But have he and his coach done their homework? Are they awarding the Wallabies greater prowess than the Wallabies actually deserve?
There are still question marks about our (assumed) team for 9 June.
The front row is looking good for a change, especially with two excellent hookers, even if they’re not as good as the Welsh front row.
The engine room is a concern, with Horwill off his feed and Sharpe no longer good for 80 minutes at test speed.
If Palu could be a little more dynamic we’ll have a terrific back row with Pocock and Higgers on the sides.
Genia has to play his best if he’s to keep up with Beale, who’s looking like a saviour at number 10.
The midfield is so-so on attack if it’s going to be McCabe and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
No worries with Digby on one wing, but it’s probably too soon for Mitchell on the other.
I’d go with Mogg at number 15 to sharpen up the offence but I doubt Deans will agree.
Wales will have a tall back line with Ashley Beck (six foot three) substituting for the injured Roberts, Cuthbert (six foot six) and George North (six foot four).
World-class flanker Sam Warburton is back to lead the squad, which will have been officially announced by the time you read this.
All we need is for Howley and Adam Jones to be a little more sanguine about their chances and we’ll get three combative and enjoyable Test matches.
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