The very different and stronger-looking Wales XV that could face Scotland when Six Nations clash is rescheduled (According to Wales Online):
Certain Wales players may be fit again, while others could be unavailable if the clash takes place in October like its expected too.
Gareth Anscombe is amongst the players who could be back for Wales:
In these uncertain times, with rugby and sport generally pretty much in hibernation because of the Covid-19 emergency, it’s hard to look much beyond next week let alone seven months ahead.
But all will hope the nasty little bug will be seen off in the coming months.
If it is, and the Six Nations is able to resume, then the next challenge will be to find suitable dates for the four postponed matches.
October 31 has been mooted as a potential option for the three round-five matches, namely France v Ireland, Italy v England, and Wales v Scotland. A weekend also would have to be found for the Ireland v Italy match that was also called off.
The problem is that October isn’t an international-window month, meaning clubs would not have to release players.
Could special dispensation be arranged given that the matches are Six Nations fixtures?
We do not know, with all of us operating in uncharted waters.
But the way things stand, neither Wales nor Scotland would be able to choose their England-based players.
What team would Wayne Pivac be able to field, then?
Here’s our best guess…
15. Liam Williams
Liam Williams eased his way back into Test rugby against England.
It’s set to be a straight choice between Williams and Leigh Halfpenny for the No. 15 shirt. If the 2020-21 season starts on time, Williams will have had opportunities to move back up the gears and the assumption is he’ll be back to his exceptional best. It’s very much a flick-of-a-coin call, mind, with Halfpenny having beaten off threats to his position before.
14. George North
Let’s assume the big man makes his determined and gutsy performance against England at Twickenham his default setting. If that happens, the No. 14 jersey will surely stay with him.
13. Jonathan Davies
Back in November, there was a suggestion Wales’ number one centre would be sidelined for six months after knee surgery. Predicting how long it will take for any injury to clear up isn’t a precise science, but the hope will be that master midfield organiser is playing again by the autumn.
12. Nick Tompkins
Let’s take a punt and say Tompkins will have hooked up to a Welsh region by the time the new season starts, with Cardiff Blues said to be the favourites. If he has and he’s available for any Wales game in October, the likelihood is he will switch to inside centre, where he has played with impressive effect for Saracens. If such a move doesn’t happen, it will be Hadleigh Parkes wearing the shirt — or Owen Watkin, depending on whether Wayne Pivac is in live-for-today mode or looking to tomorrow.
11. Josh Adams
He makes try-scoring look easy and, within three months, he’ll be recovered from the ankle injury he picked up in this Six Nations. He starts.
10. Gareth Anscombe
Gareth Anscombe is helped off the field after sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for Wales against England at Twickenham
Dan Biggar has had a strong Six Nations, so if he’s available Wayne Pivac will have a difficult call. But, as things stand, the Northampton-based player would be beyond Pivac’s reach for October.
Jarrod Evans and Sam Davies are in the mix, but if Gareth Anscombe is fit and ready after his long-haul recovery from knee surgery, with his leadership and self-belief, he’d likely be first in line.
9. Rhys Webb
He’ll be frustrated after working his way back to the front of the queue with a strong performance off the bench against England. But the man has unshakeable confidence and that counts for a lot at any level of sport. It’s for others to catch up with him now.
1. Wyn Jones
Not too much to see here. Jones was picked to face Scotland for last Saturday and, assuming his form holds up, the squat, hard-working Scarlet would be fancied to get the nod again.
2. Ken Owens
He’ll blow out 34 candles on his birthday cake come January and there are some who’ve already questioned how much time he has left at Test level. But change for the sake of change is a course past Wales coaches have pursued with sometimes disastrous results. Before saying goodbye to Owens — and everybody has a sell-by date — Pivac will know another No. 2 needs to prove himself better. That hasn’t happened yet, not by a long chalk.
3. Dillon Lewis
Tomas Francis and WillGriff John are likely to be off limits to Wales in October as they play for English clubs. Samson Lee seems to have vanished from the international radar, with injuries not helping, so it could be another chance for Lewis to wear the jersey.
4. Cory Hill
Like Rhys Webb, the Dragon will be frustrated after working his way back to prominence only to see his scheduled return to the starting line-up take a direct hit. Like Webb, he’s a character who’ll want to keep his foot pressed to the metal, though.
Jake Ball should be available but Hill is tireless on the pitch and the previous Wales regime enjoyed his capacity for hard graft. Adam Beard doesn’t seem to be pressing the right buttons in the eyes of the current coaches. Hill appears out in front.
5. Alun Wyn Jones
It’s a Lions year and Wales’ captain will want a big campaign to stake a claim.
He will also want to put behind him the absurd criticism that’s come his way over the Joe Marler affair. Marler may be ‘a joker and people love him for it’, as England international Mike Brown claimed, but even that’s open to question and, for sure, grabbing a fellow player’s private parts isn’t the wittiest move ever.
In sum, the prop appeared to be trying to force a reaction out of Jones but it didn’t happen and he’ll have 10 weeks to reflect on his actions. Having a go at Jones for his press-conference response to a clearly offensive act isn’t Brown’s finest hour, either.
Anyway, time heals and come the autumn the Wales lock will be keen to kick on. He’ll be 35 in September, but no Welsh rival is yet near him.
6. Ross Moriarty
Will he still be playing in Wales next season? Uncertainty mounts the longer it takes to resolve his contract situation. There’s appears to be an issue over his valuation by the Welsh rugby panel that’s dealt with his case and it’s taking worryingly long to deal with to the satisfaction of all concerned. The Dragons want Moriarty to stay and, apparently, he’s not averse to sticking around and doing his bit under Dean Ryan. But there’s been no announcement and English and French clubs are watching closely.
Taulupe Faletau won’t be available for an October Test as he plays over the border. If Moriarty’s still in Wales, he’ll be favourite to feature. If not, Aaron Shingler or Aaron Wainwright would likely step up.
7. Justin Tipuric
Justin Tipuric runs in his team’s first try against England.
He’s had a outstanding Six Nations and will be there or thereabouts to be named Welsh rugby’s player of the year. Like a top batsman, he seems to take a fresh guard each season and not content himself with anything but excellence. Wales are lucky to have him.
8. Josh Navidi
His performance against England, after so little rugby over the previous four months, was something else.
Close on three years ago, after New Zealand had defeated Wales in Cardiff, Steve Hansen had enquired of Warren Gatland: “Where did you get the kid with the dreadlocks from?”
Navidi became a Gatland favourite, with the then Wales coach valuing his grit, his selflessness and appetite for unglamorous work.
He still has those qualities.
And he’ll still have them next season.
Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me