First thing first. This autumn internationals have been frustratingly disappointing from a British Isles point of view. Wales and Scotland fail to win a single game. England fall short twice. And Ireland having an average autumn too. Does Warren Gatland really have dilemmas? Let’s have a look at some players who have shined from each team to possibly be stir a problem for the 2013 selectors.
The England tight head prop has stood out for me. Not only has his scrummaging been solid and accurate against massive sides, not notably South Africa, known for their big hits up front. His rucking and defence has been quite remarkable. With many turnovers to his name and being at the right point at the right time, Dan Cole is slowly becoming the real deal in that number 3 shirt.
and Ryan increasingly looks the dominant figure in the Irish second row, with Paul O’Connell struggling with injury and Donncha O’Callaghan no longer a first-choice. His presence in both the line out and scrums has been superb, rarely losing the ball when being thrown up and providing cover for the strong Cian Healy.
The welsh back row is a presence that Wales use to their advantage, confident ball carrying, strong, hard fast running and uses that to his advantage with a big tackle up front. Toby has excelled under Warren Gatland particular due to his ruthless style of play and given the freedom to roam the park, Faletau will be a good shout for number 8 come down under.
The obvious candidate for Scotland, Richie Gray, will be on that tour, in fact arguably the only world class player on Scotland’s roster of players.
However Stuart Hogg over the past year has become a regular 1st xv player for the scots. Not only will he run at defenders, his pace and quick feet disguise well and he can easily break the game line. Through the year at full back his tackling has improved, with the other candidates at full back that the selectors have, If Hogg can have a solid six nations early next year, I am extremely confident he can be the surprise selection.
Would you agree with our choices? Who has been your stand out player from each team?