Home Penny blacks Rugby night headlines as ex-coaches strike Wales out and captain emerges unscathed

Rugby night headlines as ex-coaches strike Wales out and captain emerges unscathed


Here are the headlines from the rugby night on Saturday 29th January.

Wales struck off by ex-coaches

Rob Howley and Sir Clive Woodward believe Wales will face a tough Six Nations this year.

The pair were part of a wider Six Nations panel put together by MailOnline, which also included Danny Cipriani, Andy Nicol and Geordan Murphy.

And each member of the group only placed Wales fifth in their predictions.

Howley said: “Wayne Pivac spoke about the 726 caps missing. When you’re without Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, George North, Leigh Halfpenny and Josh Navidi it’s tough.

“Usually in the Six Nations it’s about dominating up front. Wayne will be looking at the 2023 World Cup – bleeding out some players. There’s nothing for them to lose.

“Going to Ireland first isn’t easy. Ireland are coming off of a fall when they beat the All Blacks. When you look at the depth Andy Farrell has to pick, they probably have 400 caps of experience on the bench!

Woodward added: “It would have to be said that if Wales won in Ireland it would be a huge upset. Wales just have too many people missing to go to Ireland and win. Ireland have no weaknesses in his team.”

Nicol said of Wales: “They always raise their level of play and the Six Nations seem to mean more to Wales than to other countries. But I would be very surprised if Wales were in contention this year.”

All five panelists predicted that France would win the tournament, with Ireland coming second.

Biggar is coming

Wales captain Dan Biggar emerged unscathed after playing for Northampton today, just a week before the opening Six Nations game against Ireland.

Biggar had to be sent back to his club because he plays in England, and he played 71 minutes in today’s 29-13 win at Worcester.

The outside half scored nine points from the boot before being substituted late.

He will join the Welsh squad on Monday.

Moriarty backs himself to make the Wales squad

Ross Moriarty is backing himself to fight his way into the Wales squad against Ireland next weekend and earn his 50th cap.

The back rower played his first game since October 31 on Friday night, impressing in his 68 minutes on the pitch for the Dragons.

And he is now determined to make his case in Wales training next week.

“I will always support myself,” Moriarty told the BBC.

“I’m going to score in training next week and push everyone as hard as I can.

“The game was very stop-start so I couldn’t mark myself too much on that.

“I feel good, my body is fine and that’s all that matters. I missed it a lot and it was nice to be back on the pitch.

“It was good to have a game and come out unscathed. It’s good to have the necessary tackles and carries so I’m grateful to be on the pitch and come out of it in one one piece.”

Moriarty will earn his 50th Wales cap if he is selected next weekend.

“I should have had [my 50th cap] two years ago, but I was hurt a lot,” added Moriarty.

“It’s been a long time coming, but hopefully next week I can get on the pitch. The Six Nations is a special time and especially with the returning fans as well.

“The first game in Ireland is going to be important and I’m sure all the boys are looking forward to it.”

Turnbull explains Leinster’s success

Josh Turnbull believes the financial might of Leinster and the development systems they have in place is what makes them so great.

While first-choice back rowers Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan are safe at the Ireland team hotel, full internationals Rhys Ruddock, Will Connors and Max Deegan are on Matchday 23, as well as young thruster Scott Penny, for the URC clash which is live on S4C.

Like others in Welsh rugby, Turnbull points out that Leinster have sound roots which provide their successful pickings.

“They have a very solid school game there and they are linked to their academy system,” says Turnbull, who has been trying to deal with Leinster’s back-row marauders since his days as British and Irish Lions stars. Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien.

“If you have quality competitions at a younger level, it will breed competition between players and you will only make them better.

“At the end of the day, at junior level, that’s what you’re looking for. Later on, then you’ll have an abundance of talented players coming forward.

Turnbull says it’s not just about organization and supply lines. You need money to oil the whole system.

“You watch some of the best teams in football. They can have two distinct sides of equal quality. Only money brings you that and if you have money you can go and spend it on the players you want.

Watch Cardiff v Leinster live on S4C from 7.30pm on Saturday. English commentary available.