Updated: Apr 2, 2021
The Beard to be Feared
Up against it, facing what seemed to be a vastly superior opposition, the Ospreys were staring down the prospect of conceding a third try before Adam Beard delivered an absolutely huge momentum changing turnover. The long-limbed maul saboteur might not be Pivac’s cup of tea but he’s perfect for a rain-soaked window match against a very decent Glasgow outfit and we should all be thankful for his ability to blow up mauls. The contrast between his sheer physical presence and the likes of honest but limited grafters like Lloyd Peers is enormous and it brings us back to the root cause of our window worries over the last decade - an over-reliance on unathletic, underpowered forwards. Having the real deal like Beard in the squad is quite often the difference between the W and shipping four tries in a defeat and we should all hope the fraudulent panjandrum currently running Wales into the ground keeps ignoring him.
Cracks in the D
Speaking of limited triers, surely we can no longer ignore Cracknell’s preternatural ability to be skinned in defence by anyone with the basic ability to sidestep. Front on, Cracknell will throw himself on his foe with relish but as soon as he is charged with tackling an opponent doing anything other than thundering straight at him, Cracknell has a balance and poise that resembles a wardrobe falling down a staircase. It is very, very strange to see a team where the player most likely to cough up a long break is the blindside. Coaches all seem to fall in love with his grit but he’s a weekly turnstile and his position in the back row should be under threat.
The collective contributions of Reuben Morgan-Williams, Matthew Protheroe, Kieran Williams and Dewi Lake (lineout aside) should be reason for Booth to be cautiously optimistic. The dash and impudence of RMW is something we’ve been crying out for during the moribund Aled Davies years while Kieran Williams is the front foot dynamo our window team has missed since the inception of the Ospreys. Protheroe is a player of intelligence and guile, while Lake (who must have offended Clancy in the warm-up) is an international quality athlete with potential that can only be mantled by his lineout throwing. If he ever sorts his darts, he’s going to the top.
They did the business. Rhodri Jones followed up his excellent scrum cameo against Ulster with an underrated beasting of Rae while Botha is engineered for this sort of game and traumatised Allen with his big diesel shoving. Lake has a tractor-like presence in the middle while Beard and Davies out-shoved a very sizable Glasgow pairing. While the maul and lineout isn’t what we want, the scrum is ticking along nicely.