What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies

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The Wales coaching team were in attendance at both weekend regional derbies, running the rule over potential candidates for the autumn Tests.

The first hit-out of the summer saw the Scarlets comfortably dispose of Cardiff Blues in Llanelli and the 14-man Ospreys draw with the Dragons in Swansea.

What would Pivac have learned from the encounters?

If he were picking a side based entirely on the two regional jousts, who would be in it?

MARK ORDERS tries to help him out...

15. LEIGH HALFPENNY

Halfpenny may have left his kicking boots at home, but he brought his running shoes to Parc y Scarlets, with one of his thrusts forward bewildering the Cardiff Blues’ defence, admittedly not such a difficult challenge on a day when the visitors leaked five tries.

Those missed kicks would have annoyed Halfpenny, but his general play was good.

A nod for Hallam Amos, who also had his moments.

14. ASHTON HEWITT

What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第1张Ashton Hewitt scores

An eventual day in Swansea for Hewitt saw him bashed out of the way by George North as the Wales wing rampaged over for an early try, then North overran while chasing a kick and careered into the airborne Dragon, earning himself a red card in the process.

In between, there was a superbly taken try from Hewitt.

He rounded off his trip west with another five-pointer that earned his side a draw.

In credit? By a mile.

Johnny McNicholl and Josh Adams also caught the eye.

13. JOHNNY WILLIAMS

OK, he had a No. 12 on his back for the Scarlets against Cardiff Blues, but this guy really hit the ground running for his new team.

Clean in defence, he was sharp in attack, cutting the opposition defence twice and rarely looking less than dangerous.

Snap judgements are not always advisable, but let’s be bold and suggest the watching Wayne Pivac would have been impressed.

12. KIERAN WILLIAMS

What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第2张Kieran Williams of Ospreys is tackled by Sam Davies

Dan Lydiate has hailed him as a ‘little cannonball’ and the Dragons found out why. Williams generates huge power and doesn’t often fail to dent the opposition defence.

If he could have defended better in Swansea, he ran at the visitors as if they’d offended him in another life.

It was quite a weeked for inside centres, with Johnny Williams also shining and Jack Dixon having a strong game for the Dragons.

11. STEFF EVANS

It said much that the quality of Evans’ performance managed to be more of a talking point — just — than the extraordinary mullet haircut the wing sported.

He had an exceptional game, scoring two tries and making 10 runs that earned 145 metres for his side. He hasn’t started a tournament match for Wales for pushing two-and-a-half years, but there are few more creative players in Welsh rugby and Wayne Pivac would have been impressed.

10. SAM DAVIES

No fly-half could be completely satisfied with the way things panned out over the weekend.

Maybe Davies was the pick.

He missed a few shots at goal, but some of his kicking out of hand was of slide-rule precision, stretching the 14-man hosts to breaking point.

9. RHYS WEBB

Tomos Williams set the standard with a typically feisty, skilful display for Cardiff Blues against the Scarlets before leaving the field early, the fate of Gareth Davies on the day.

Injuries to both preceded Rhys Webb making a statement for the Ospreys at the Liberty.

He played as if he would have taken the field for nothing, appearing to enjoy every moment. Not only was he alert, he also controlled the game, pushing the Dragons back with his kicking. His was a display of real authority.

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1. NICKY SMITH

Wyn Jones had a fine half for the Scarlets, scrummaging strongly, but Smith was exceptional for the Ospreys a day later, resembling a whirling dervish as he twisted his way past Dragons defenders with some of his ball carrying.

His set-piece work was also on point.

2. SAM PARRY

He is known for his power — he would be the right man to have around if a lorry needed a shove at the bottom of a steep hill on an icy morning — but Parry has also turned into a snaffler of tries, with five this season placing him at the top of the Ospreys’ touchdown chart.

The hooker seems invisible to the Wales selectors.

But they surely would have noticed him in Swansea, with his try seeing him run in from 25 metres. There were also a couple of turnovers and hard graft. It was all highly impressive.

Of the others, Kristian Dacey shone most, tackling soundly and making ground with ball in hand.

3. LEON BROWN

What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第5张Dan Evans tries in vain to stop Leon Brown

If Nicky Smith caused him the odd problem in the scrums, Brown was close to being the lord of all he surveyed in the loose, with the big man crowning his effort with a rampaging try to rival the one he scored against the Ospreys in January.

How much worth would he be to Wales if he could take a leap forward in the set-pieces?

What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第6张What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第7张Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in8Cancel Play now

4. LEWIS RAWLINS

Adam Beard and Matthew Screech got stuck for their sides during the Sunday derby, with Screech winning 15 line-outs and still finding time to tussle with Justin Tipuric near the end.

But maybe Lewis Rawlins deserves a nod.

While the Scarlets line-out wasn’t the last word in reliability, Rawlins had a real go around the field.

5. ALUN WYN JONES

The lock who made most impact was Sam Lousi, but he has a stack of Tongan caps in his cupboard at home so doesn’t qualify for this team.

Jones will be annoyed to have missed a couple of tackles, but on the plus side he made two telling interventions in the build-up to George North’s try. He also made 10 carries and achieved a turnover.

In an Ospreys side who showed real character to claim a draw while playing with just 14 men for 66 minutes, the old warrior put his hand up.

6. JOSH MACLEOD

Again, a slight liberty taken, because Macleod had a No. 7 on his back for the Scarlets against Cardiff Blues.

But, still, he has to be in this side.

He achieved a couple of turnovers but didn’t overcommit, instead waiting for his moment. His defence was good and so was his support play. Another uncapped player, he’s a player who could interest Wayne Pivac if he maintains this form.

The hard work of Olly Cracknell and Ben Fry should also be mentioned.

7. JUSTIN TIPURIC

Englishman Olly Robinson came up with four steals in a superb display for Cardiff Blues.

What impressed about Tipuric in Swansea was the way he stepped forward when the odds were against his side, with numbers down for more than an hour after George North’s dismissal.

Two expertly snaffled turnovers were highlights, while the Ospreys captain was rarely far from the ball and frequently put his body on the line.

Circumstances demanded that home sleeves be rolled up, and Tipuric led by example.

8. ROSS MORIARTY

What the Wales starting XV would look like if it was picked entirely on the weekend derbies epaper 第8张Ross Moriarty had a strong game for the Dragons (Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency)

Uzair Cassiem had a strong game for the Scarlets but the fans’ favourite from South Africa isn’t available to Wayne Pivac.

Both Morgan Morris and Will Boyde also had their moments, but Moriarty eclipsed his rivals with a hard-hitting effort at the Liberty, one that had ‘international class’ stamped all over it. He can be abrasive and as a fuse that seems never far from blowing, but he’s a player others would want on their side.

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