By Alan Dymock
MEDIA BLACKOUT on the tours of North America, South America, Japan and South Africa from the home nations could have been an unfortunate by-product of the Lions stint Down Under. Thankfully, though, there is no repetition of the old adage from Vietnam War veterans: “You don’t know man; you weren’t there!”
The men that are there have gotten plenty of coverage on these shores and already the blooding for Rugby World Cup 2015 has been forgotten about as we get properly excited about the performers abroad.
Here are four tourists catching the eye as they catch some rays:
He may be madder than a box of rattlesnakes and just as noisy as he springs from under the lid, but it is that strike that caught the eye against Japan in Wales’ first Test in Osaka which finished 22-18 in Wales’ favour.
The only Welsh try came from Williams hitting the line and throwing a perfectly weighted spin pass behind his own back off the heel of his palm as he spun. It was a beautiful turn in an otherwise claustrophobic game that the young Welsh side just about overcame. Williams was the standout performer on the day and put in a decent defensive shift with two try-saving tackles.
After launching all 15 points from the tee in Ireland’s 15-12 win over USA, Ian Madigan may now be known as the Houston Rocket.
He was unflappable, despite having never hit the scoreboard before, internationally. The game itself was brusque and bruising, with the Eagles Samu Manoa and Todd Clever running amok. The latter even received a yellow card for tip-tackling human pylon Devin Toner.
Madigan kept his head, though, and while Dan Biggar was claiming 14 points of his own over in Osaka, the Leinsterman may well hold the title of ‘best fly-half not in Australia’ at this point in time, if only by a post-shaving.
At points the Wade wagging at the end of last season became irritating. We all knew he could dance while surrounded by his Wasps teammates, but surely it is a leap to suggest he can do it on the international stage?
Well he proved us in the irascible minority wrong, sparkling in the first half of England’s 32-3 triumph over Argentina in Salta. While some lucky English fans may have gorged on steak and wine, Wade was devouring turf. He ate up the yards on his way to creating three tries for his pals.
It is lazy to compare the Wasp to the likes of Jason Robinson as he is a completely different player, but his debut excites just as much as the Whizz’s did.
While Wade performed an attacking raid, Morgan was bombing the barricades. He is belligerent, but was unrelenting against the Pumas. They could barely pause for breath as the Gloucester No 8 punched again and again, carrying ball, blasting holes and dotting down for good measure.
His work rate has been questioned in some quarters, but his return to Test action dispelled a lot of doubts. A supreme performance from the Gloucester man who has Big Billy Vunipola warming the bench. Some motivator…
Find out about four other players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales billed to shine in the summer tours in the July edition of Rugby World – Out now!