He loved the odd shock here and there and was well known for it, but it certainly kept the players on their toes and for most of his tenure his teams were very, very successful.
I wrote last week how Wayne Pivac – Warren’s successor as Wales head coach – should not be afraid to freshen up his team at the start of a new era and I thought he would do it, too.
But I’m not sure anyone saw some of his selections for the 2020 Six Nations coming – certainly those of Nick Tompkins and Will Rowlands. In many ways Wayne has topped Warren on the shock selection front at the first time of asking and that is a pretty impressive feat!
Shock selections can sometimes be controversial and given both Tompkins and Rowlands were born in England there has been a bit of talk about whether they should be in the squad or not. I’m very clear on this – if you are eligible for selection and good enough to be picked by the coach, then there is no reason why you can’t play Test rugby for Wales. It really is that simple in my opinion.
Tompkins and Rowlands are fine players and I’m sure they are only going to enhance the set-up.
There will be people who disagree with me on this. There will be people who believe it’s wrong for a guy like Tompkins to be plucked from nowhere and picked ahead of a Wales regular like Scott Williams or someone like Steffan Hughes who is having a good season with the Scarlets.
I know Scott and I feel for him. He has captained Wales in the past, is a very experienced player, and will be hurting right now. The same debate came up ahead of the Barbarians game at the end of last year when Willis Halaholo and Johnny McNicholl – who are both New Zealand-born – were picked.
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January 19, 2020