A fall in standards for Wales

 

By Jorden Marvelley

After a stellar performance at the World Cup and a successful 6 Nations campaign this year, I had high expectations for Wales at the start of this year’s autumn internationals. Not for the first time, I was however left sorely disappointed.

The first 20 was pretty much as I expected, with both sides somewhat cautious still trying to suss out how the opposition wanted to play the game. I should clarify before I begin that I don’t dislike Rhys Priestland at all however, I think it was a big mistake starting him as he has been less than impressive all season and it more than showed on Saturday afternoon. I’m obviously not the only one who was unsure of Priestland’s ability; the coaches couldn’t have made it any more obvious than when they gave the kicking duties to Halfpenny. The pace and tactics of the game did improve to degree with the arrival of Hook but Wales were still very much asleep and failed to capitalise on even the half chances.

At halftime the score was a fair depiction of how the first 40 had gone, with the battle of the boot making all the difference. It was quite possibly the only aspect of the game where we were firing on all cylinders. Even the players you expected to add a bit of style and class (Roberts, Halfpenny, North and Cuthbert) seemed lost amongst the crowd. Even when we were going forward we knocked on, dropped the ball or simply gifted it back to Argentina.

It really was truly frustrating. Part of me honestly thinks that Argentina weren’t even playing at their best, had they been, we would’ve had an absolute hammering. As it is I believe that Argentina just made the most of what was a tremendously scrappy, ill-disciplined and lacklustre performance by Wales and the best team won hands down.

I couldn’t even end this by saying that on the bright side there were some bright individual performances, Scott Williams showed glimpses as did Cuthbert but simply not enough for me to say any more than that. Going forward I’d like to see Hook starting at 10 and Biggar on the bench and just for a fiercer performance all round from the lads. We are a world-class team and noticeably we got beaten by a team ranked below us yesterday, if we continue to play like that, teams like New Zealand and Australia are going to make it look more like a cricket score.

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