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Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out


Josh Navidi

By Andrew Collins
January 20 2015

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named seven Cardiff Blues players in his 34 man 6 nations squad, with outside half Anscombe and hooker Dacey two of the day’s big winners.

While there can be little doubt of the fly half’s obvious talent, his call up will be seen as premature by many who have watched him play this year. Having made just eight starting appearances for the Cardiff Blues, it’s hard to justify his selection is based on form, rather than a pre-meditated move by Gatland. The Wales coach was instrumental in bringing Ascombe to Wales in the summer, and has openly been a keen admirer of his Kiwi compatriot who can also play full back.

Comparisons will be drawn to former Wales rugby league star Iestyn Harris, who was thrown into the deep end of international rugby union and was proved painfully inexperienced, conceding a charge down try in his debut against Argentina. However the big difference on this occasion is that Ascombe, 23, is unlikely to even start any of the matches, being 3rd in the packing order behind Biggar and Priestland.

Of course his inclusion will come as a kick in the teeth for those previously on the fringes of the Welsh squad, but clearly Gatland sees Anscombe as a future star – an opinion few would disagree with – and is keen to get him into the international environment as quickly as possible.

While the inclusion of Gareth Anscombe will undoubtedly be the headlines today, it is perhaps the exclusion of Josh Navidi which will come as the biggest shock to many Blues fans.

The Bridgend-born back rower has been consistently improving in his 5 years at the region, and has this year demonstrated his international credentials, whether playing flanker or number eight.

The table below shows his last 7 appearances (*= highest team performer in the category)

Opponent and

position

Metres
Run

Defenders

beaten

Turn
overs

Tackles

made

Pens

conceded

Leinster (H)

No.8

70

5

2

20*

0

Dragons (A)
No.8

16

3

0

10*

1

Dragons (H)
No.8

11

1

0

22*

0

Scarlets (H)
No.8

25
(2 tries)

2

1

10

0

London Irish (A)

No.8

11

1

0

8

1

London Irish (H)
No.8

38

1

0

16*

1

Benneton Treviso (H)
No.8

90*

4*

0

13

0

 

The stats show that Navidi has consistently made the most tackles, per match, of any Cardiff Blues player, while giving away just three penalties in the past 7 appearances – a superb disciplinary record for a back row forward.  Against Treviso, he made more metres and beat more defenders than any other player, while he was just 1 metre behind Alex Cuthbert in his most recent outing.  

Somewhat surprisingly, he has managed just 3 turnovers in that time. This could perhaps be attributed to the positional switch to No.8, or even his high tackle count meaning he was unable to then make the turnover.

Sadly, despite his obvious importance to the Cardiff Blues, he has been deemed surplus to requirements at international level.

To a certain extent, that is understandable. Gatland is blessed with a real wealth of talent in that position, with Sam Warburton and Justin keeping Navidi out at 7, while his recent switch to number eight has perhaps come too soon for him to challenge the well-established Faletau.

However, the inclusion of James King in the squad ahead of Navidi, and the fact that Faletau is being picked on reputation rather than form, still leaves me feeling extremely disappointed.

On the positive side however, the Cardiff Blues make up 7 of Gatland’s squad members – a healthy return for such a poor season. TheArmsPark.co.uk would like to congratulate  Gethin Jenkins, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Sam Warburton, Anscombe, Cory Allen and Alex Cuthbert for their inclusion in the squad and wish them the very best of luck in their push for selection.

As for Josh, keep pushing fella. 

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Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out
theArmsPark.co.uk (IP Logged)
20/01/2015 16:43
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Re: Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out
Joni89 (IP Logged)
21/01/2015 10:10
Great article and good use of stats!

It would be interesting to compare these stats with Faletau, Warburton, Tipuric and Lydiate.

I think at International level Navidi would have the best chance of challenging for the No6 shirt.

 
Re: Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out
ExpatChief (IP Logged)
22/01/2015 00:15
If you are thinking of taking someone to the world cup then he has to be in the squad to start learning the calls and moves of the team, In any other year it would be premature but not this one.

In someways I thought he would have been in the autumn internationals training squad. Not to get anywhere near the pitch but just to learn the Welsh setup.

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Re: Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out
bloogoo (IP Logged)
22/01/2015 12:17
Quote:
ExpatChief
If you are thinking of taking someone to the world cup then he has to be in the squad to start learning the calls and moves of the team, In any other year it would be premature but not this one.
In someways I thought he would have been in the autumn internationals training squad. Not to get anywhere near the pitch but just to learn the Welsh setup.

Agreed. I'd have also given Owen Williams the nod over Priestland for this reason. Not saying get rid of Rhys but he's used to the set up and can slot back in at WC if needed. The more experience at this level the better.

 
Re: Anscombe and Dacey in, but Navidi misses out
Robadob (IP Logged)
22/01/2015 13:57
I disagree with earlier the ealrier comment, i think Navidi would best be able to challenge at 8.. we have no real contenders for Fal at 8 currently where as we have good strength in depth at 7 and 6. Tips and King respectively, even turnbull at 6 would be ahead of navidi in gatlands mind i think.. COme one Gats wake up.. Nav is class always has been.. just begining to shine in the public eye tho.

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