What is Welsh DNA? Are the current Welsh team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more.
Before we look at the Welsh DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Gareth Jones for taking the time to answer our questions and give an insight from a Welsh fan. Thanks for this Gareth.
1. Game Plan/style. What is the traditional style of play for the Test team?
Fast forward play not necessarily with the biggest pack. To paraphrase legendary 1970s hooker Bobby Windsor on the Pontypool front row ‘we weren’t the biggest or the strongest but were the trickiest‘. It’s general to any of the forwards, player like Graham Price at prop or Bob Norster at lock were like that. If I had to pick one then a skilful openside that acts as a link to get the ball out to the backs is a priority.
Absolutely key to the Welsh DNA is the half-backs, especially at 10. An aggressive attacking 9 with a creative fly-half outside that can flit through gaps. Finished off with hard running centres and jinking wingers that can step. In any team, the 10 is a key player but the scrutiny in Wales is massive on the outside half all the time.
2. Who were the great players in the past, up until those just retired?
- Opensides = Dai Morris, John Taylor, Martyn Williams
- Scrum half= Gareth Edwards, Rob Howley, Mike Phillips
- Fly-half = Phil Bennett, Jonathan Davies, Barry John
- Wingers = Gerald Davies, Ieuan Evans, Shane Williams
3. Is there any pattern in those players? Their positions. For example, do certain countries produce talented players in certain positions?
Openside, scrum-half, 10, 11 or 14.
4. Is that country now playing a modern version of their traditional game?
No they don’t entirely. The traditional scrum-half remains but the current management put the emphasis on size and stability. Hence the excitement you get from fans about the likes of Sam Davies or Steff Evans or Keelan Giles and annoyance at selections like Cuthbert. It’s not just that they think the players may be better, it’s that they play in the style the Welsh fans think the team should play. Same at openside all the fan polls pick Tipuric to start or James Davies over a ‘six and a half‘ as Eddie Jones calls them.
5. Are key players in those old positions strong today?
osh Navidi, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar, George North/Liam Williams.
An aside to illustrate: Back in my college days in the 90s Neil Jenkins was a tough kicking fly half and all the Wales fans in the room were wishing he’d be dropped for someone more flamboyant. An English rugby fan in the room thought we were all insane and he’d put him straight into the England side. He remains the 3rd highest test points scorer of all time yet in any retrospective on Welsh rugby he’ll barely be mentioned. Not very fair but true.
The 1014 review how they see the Six Nations DNA
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Author: The 1014 Rugby
The 1014 is servicing the needs of a passionate and respectful global rugby community by producing world-class content based on three important values – Passion, Integrity and Respect.
All content is through the pure eyes of two children starting out on their journey in life. The 10 and 14 represent the two characters on this journey and everything produced is through their outlook on life.