The Welsh Fly-Half Debate – Gatland’s Top 10 Options

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It seems that with less than 10 months to go until the World Cup Warren Gatland is still no closer to deciding on his first choice fly-half.

Gatland has now tried a number of players in the number 10 shirt, but none have quite stuck through a succession of injuries and drop-offs in form. This is now becoming a serious concern for Welsh rugby fans as despite there being no shortage of contenders, not one players has seemed capable of stepping up to claim the famous jersey for their own.

With that in mind, here are the 10 key contenders for the Welsh 10 jersey;

1.Dan Biggar

Biggar must be considered the most likely option for Wales at the moment as he has started at fly-half in recent weeks when fit. Biggar has shown an ability to control games and has a solid kicking game, yet he still divides opinion. Many fans will see Biggar as the safe selection, however he doesn’t quite have the spark of some of the all-time great Welsh fly-halves of yesteryear.

2.Rhys Priestland

It’s hard to believe that Priestland was the fly-half who helped guide Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup such has been his fall from grace. Priestland has shown flashes of what he is capable of recently but looks shorn of confidence, and will not have been helped by the chorus of boos that greeted him at the Millennium Stadium recently.

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3.James Hook

For some reason Hook continues to be overlooked as a starter for Wales, despite now turning out in the position regularly for Gloucester. There’s no doubting that Hook has the international experience and flair to appease Welsh fans, however his ability to play in a number of positions across the backline makes him a favourite for a spot on the bench.

4.Gareth Anscombe

Anscombe has only been in Wales a matter of days but is already being touted as a potential started for Wales during the Autumn Internationals. His lack of experience with the Welsh side will count against him, but his time spent playing for the Chiefs in New Zealand will be seen as a big bonus. He looks likely to get his chance sooner rather than later, the only question is can he cut it?

5.Rhys Patchell

Patchell has been somewhat unlucky with injuries when it comes to international duties, but should he remain fit he must be considered a genuine contender. Patchell is probably the most exciting fly-half in Wales right now and also has a howitzer of a boot to match, questions will however be raised over his international experience.

6.Owen Williams

It seems that the main thing currently counting against Williams is the fact he is playing over the border at Leicester. He managed to keep Toby Flood out of the 10 shirt last season and is now outshining Freddie Burns this time around. Questions still remain over his consistency, particularly from the boot but there’s no doubting that Williams looks capable of stepping up on his day.

7.Gavin Henson

It seems highly unlikely at this stage, but there is always the chance of Gavin Henson receiving a recall to the Welsh set-up. He has shown his class in recent weeks stepping into the 10 shirt at Bath whilst George Ford is away on international duty and performing well. The big question however is whether Gatland would be willing to reconsider his inclusion.

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8.Jason Tovey

Tovey must be considered a real outside bet for the Welsh fly-half jersey, however should Gatland require a consistent performer then he need look no further. The Dragons man has been improving considerably under the stewardship up Lyn Jones where he has developed his game management and defence to help the Dragons to some impressive results.

9.Matthew Morgan

At just 22 Morgan is still quite fresh for such a pivotal international position, but if the early signs are anything to go by he’s certainly one to keep an eye on. His move to Bristol is likely to count against him unfortunately but with one cap already to his name he is clearly on Warren Gatland’s mind, and is currently being coached by former Scotland and England boss Andy Robinson.

10.Sam Davies

Davies was only the second Welshman to be voted IRB Young Player of the Year after a certain Gavin Henson. His main outings for the Ospreys have come at full-back unfortunately but it seems that his long-term position will be at fly-half. The 2015 World Cup may be a bit too soon for Davies, but he must only be a couple of injuries away from a call-up.

Who do you think should Wales’ first choice fly-half going into next year’s World Cup?

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