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Monday Morning Quarterback View

Whilst the Rainbow Cup is an opportunity for experimenting, as soon as the respective sides were named, it was apparent both coaches had a totally different view of what experimentation meant. The side named by Young was close to showing total disrespect to the competition. As Ospreys fans are only too aware, after watching the previous failed regimes at work at the Liberty, just throwing reserve players and youngsters together, and claiming you are all about development is just an act of stupidity, from which nothing can be learned.


The approach to selection adopted by Booth was a more useful development experiment. We needed a good hard look at two young half backs who have barely played this season, and to assess if North Harbour flanker Ethan Roots could show himself as a massive upgrade to our back row pool of players.


Unfortunately, Young's selection meant the game was never really a serious competition, as Cardiff were overpowered at the scrum and unable to cope with the driving maul. In many ways therefore the match was not the ideal test Booth and Brock James would have wanted. Nonetheless, they will have gleaned that Matt Aubrey, whilst unlikely ever to have starting quality, has the tools and skillset to be a very decent squad scrum half. Roots looks a powerful athlete and given how weak out back row pool is, once you get past the starting group, he would be a very welcome permanent addition. As for Josh Thomas he has shown during the season he is a very brave player with a useful skill set as an individual, but he never looked comfortable putting shape on the game. His passing skills need considerable work, as no backline can function as an attacking unit if their out half is not putting his passes on the money.


It will be interesting to see if Booth and James adopt a similar approach to future games of rotating the front-line players and slipping in a sprinkling of younger players to see how they cope. It should be interesting to compare and contrast Harri Morgan with Aubrey, as neither have had much opportunity this year. Undoubtedly, the biggest exposures the team have going into next year revolve around the question of whether Anscombe can ever return to the player he was, and whether Protheroe can make the starting 15 shirt his own. It will be interesting to see if he continues with Thomas in the 10 shirt or looks at the other options, he has behind Anscombe.


One final word of good luck for George North awaiting his diagnosis. It was noticeable we were switching our centres and wings quite regularly, and he was looking comfortable in this role. Losing George would not only be a huge personal blow to him, but to the squad who have chosen to go incredibly light on back three players, and surely cannot do so again next season.


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