Wales Stars Of Tomorrow Can Give Bright Finish To A Gloomy Season

Cardiff and the Ospreys will resume their ongoing rivalry in Judgement Day on Saturday. Pic: Getty Images

Wales Stars Of Tomorrow Can Give Bright Finish To A Gloomy Season

Dragon Bet image 2

By Graham Thomas

At a time when the judgements on Welsh rugby tend mostly to be harsh ones, it would be easy to dismiss this weekend’s Judgement Day as almost an irrelevance when it comes to the business end of the United Rugby Championship.

After all, the Ospreys need a series of unlikely and complicated results on the final weekend in order to sneak into the play-offs.

For the rest – Cardiff, the Scarlets and the Dragons – the play-offs are a distant dream. Even if Cardiff beat the Ospreys on Saturday, they will still finish a huge 20 points adrift of the top eight.

But if you believe Welsh rugby is now about building a better future, then maybe Saturday’s double-header at the Cardiff City Stadium is worth keeping an eye on.

In both matches – the Scarlets against the Dragons, followed by Cardiff versus the Ospreys – there are match-ups that should interest anyone still carrying hope in their hearts of a better tomorrow.

For instance, if you hold faith that Wales can still produce talent – and that once the unholy mess around finance, competition structures and pathways is cleared up that talent can thrive – then you will be keen to see the progress of young Cardiff back rowers such as Mackenzie Martin, James Botham, Alex Mann and Alun Lawrence.

They could be up against Ospreys’ young guns Jac Morgan and Morgan Morris, or measure themselves against the streetwise know-how of Justin Tipuric.

Or, you might fancy checking on why Cardiff are breathing a sigh of relief at re-signing centre Mason Grady, or track the speed of flying wing Theo Cabango.

They could go up against 21-year-old Ospreys centre Tom Florence or 20-year-old fly-half Dan Edwards.

If some of those names are less familiar, then there are other attractions – such as the form of Keelan Giles on the wing for the Ospreys and the fit-again Dewi Lake at hooker.

The opening game between the Scarlets and the Dragons promises similar hints into the future with Eddie James’ progress worth noting in the centre for the Scarlets and the same applying to the Dragons’ 22-year-old fly-half, Will Reed.

Or, if your attention is drawn to the form of more immediate concern for Wales, then how will the Wales hooker Ryan Elias (Scarlets) face off against Elliot Dee (Dragons)?

Then, with more attention on contenders for the summer tour, there are the match-ups in the back row between the Scarlets’ Taine Plumtree and Carwyn Tuipuluotu, up against the Dragons’ Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham.

According to DragonBet, the most likely outcomes this week are a victory for the Ospreys against Cardiff and for the Scarlets to overcome the Dragons. The Scarlets are 4/7 to beat the Dragons, who are 5/4. The Ospreys are similarly 4/7 to win against Cardiff, who are also 5/4.

If you think west will be best twice over, then the Ospreys and Scarlets to both win is 6/4. For both underdogs to come out on top – Cardiff and Dragons – it’s 4/1.

The Ospreys are also 11/8 to score 32 points or more – the same price as the Scarlets.

If you’re a real Ospreys optimist, then you can back them at 1,000/1 to squeeze into the play-offs and go on to become URC champions.

Dragons talisman Wainwright will be playing his 16th match of the season for the Dragons, on top of 11 appearances for Wales since last summer.

But you won’t hear him complain and he insists being judged at the end of a long season on Judgement Day is a good way to set him up for summer Tests with Wales against South Africa and Australia.

“Some players can go without a lot of game time and perform really well but I need to keep playing,” says Wainwright.

“Game time isn’t given here at the Dragons because we have a really competitive back row, but I am a proud Gwent man and want to play.

“A big part of my decision to stay was the coaching team that is being built and the younger guys coming through,” he said.

“When I look back on my career I want to be able to say that I have given something 100 per cent and helped the Dragons to where I know we can get to.”

Dragon Bet image 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.