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Monday Morning Quarterback View

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

There are two long standing contradictory approaches to rugby.

Defence wins matches and attack merely determines by how much is the one that has historically been the most successful for sides with relatively modest talent. For those sides with talent they will take the view however many you score we will score more.

I do not think you need to be a signed-up member of Mensa to know which camp this current Ospreys squad falls into.

The defence in the opening 30 minutes of the last three matches has been appalling. The huge number of yards we surrender to line breaks and a complete inability to not surrender the outside, as exemplified by Cai Evans, are creating problems that are putting us miles beyond the eight ball. It is not obvious what experience Richie Pugh has to coach defences at this level, but something is very wrong that has to be fixed very quickly. It may be time to look at bringing in some form of defensive consultant sooner rather than later, because when an under-strength Zebra can rip you to pieces in the first 30 minutes you really cannot get much worse.

The difficulty with this squad, which in fairness to Booth was not recruited by him, is that it is old and slow. We are only going to put this right with recruitment and a fairly big clean out, but in the meantime we need to rely on our eyes to determine who looks up to it and who does not ,rather than become too fixated with experience and imaginary leadership. Unless Scott Williams shows marked improvement, it would be far better to give our young centre a run. He may be 18, but young Hawkins already looks more explosive than the lumbering Thomas-Wheeler and the highly paid Williams. Callum Carson was one of the highest rated age group players we had but concerns over his size relative to others have held him back. These concerns may be justified but let us see if it is the case on the field

Josh Thomas is not the goal kicker Myler is, but he is a better attacker, and you do not need to hide him in defence. If you take the view Myler and Williams will not be with us next year, maybe it is time to see which younger players can be moulded into the Booth system.

Turning to the pack the problem has always been balance. Cracknell has been criticised in this column for his lack of lateral speed and agility, but yesterday was undoubtedly one of our better players, and praise will always be given when due. The balance of the back five is still hopeless. Beard and Bradley Davies are a relatively leaden footed combination. King runs away from support and is easily taken to ground leading to inevitable turnovers and penalties. We have no natural 8 in the squad; we only have one 7 who is away with Team Wales and far too many blind sides. One player who has given glimpses of explosion is Will Griffiths and interestingly when King was pulled, Cracknell moved to 8 and Griffiths, rather than Cross came on at 6. Griffiths is worth watching. He is going to be good. It is also the case that Lake's throwing problems cannot be allowed to continue, but it is doubtful if there is anybody in our squad who could play 7 better than him when Tips is away. He is a recently converted back rower in any event and whilst his future is at hooker, it is not a future until he has spent a year getting his throwing under control.

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