Guest contributor Chris Barrett has highlighted five key players from this weekends game between England & Wales who have remained out of the spotlight…
Billy this, Taulupe that and all before mention of Manu. The landslide of hype may even be justified, but the following 5 players that aren’t getting the plaudits are just as, if not more important on Saturday where the difference between an potential England Grand Slam and Wales parading through the streets of Cardiff bellowing Delilahi could be the bounce of a ball.
Scrum halves are like children, you hate everyone else’s but your own and Ben Young’s is crabbing his way to adoption. For Antony Watson’s try against Ireland had it not been for the deft hands of… Chris Robshaw then a terrible pass by Young’s would’ve sent England back to the butchers once again for another missed opportunity. If Young’s persists in his errant ways he’ll give slow ball and land George Ford in a whole heap of shit with the Welsh back row. Not angry Ben, just disappointed.
The mysterious case of Dan Lydiate. The 6ft 4 17.5 stone farmer from Llandrindod has been an mainstay of Gatland’s Wales, felling opposition like oak trees with shin shattering chop tackles. He lost his place at the start of the Six Nations and coming back against France gave away two penalties, cocked up a pass that was a certain score and most criminally of all missed 2 tackles – unheard of. If he continues this form England will dominate the breakdown, kick points, make ground and make him wish he back on the farm.
Reminiscent of the opening scene in The Lion King the crowning of King Itoje is making hearts flutter across his kingdom. However, the man with a nose youth centres could abseil off is just as vital. Against Ireland Kruis stole two key line-outs and this weekend he’ll face Alun ‘Don’t Fuck’ Wyn Me Jones, if he achieves parity then the English Pack could conceivably bully their way to victory
Liam Williams has the face of a man being told two entirely opposing bits of information at exactly the same time and on top of that I’m pretty sure he’s bow legged. He’s carried for 167 yards feeding off scraps from his back line so far in the tournament. So far Paul Gustard’s English defence has worked off relentless line speed, this naturally does leave space just behind and if Williams can get in there he’ll do Brown for pace all day long.
Even though he’s not playing the scurge of Scotland Yard Tuilagi will dominate headlines. Farrell however will start and as well as the kicking duties, discipline will be the key. Two weeks ago he gave away three penalties because frankly he’s an angry bastard, he does that again and the pulsating Dan Bigger will bang points for days, Twickenham will fall silent and somewhere Tom Jones will be knocking back the throat lozenges and warming up his vocal cords.