As Rhys Patchell led the Scarlets to an unlikely victory over Cardiff, he made a last-minute case for Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad.
Despite being dominant at Arms Park, the 28-year-old has been plagued by injuries over the past few seasons. Jonathan Davies scored on a break from deep in the first half thanks to his running game, which wore down Cardiff.
Patch’s performance impressed me because he took the initiative, which we have encouraged him to do more of. He has to be running at the line because he is a big man, and I believe he did that today. Johnny kicked over the top for Jonathan Davies’ try, which gave him the line break.
Given Pachell’s versatility, who would bet against the Scarlets player sneaking into the Six Nations squad now that Gareth Anscombe is sidelined?
He was in the starting ten in Gatland’s final match as Wales coach, the bronze medal match against New Zealand at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Since then, he has only made two substitute appearances under Wayne Pivac for the national team. During Gatland’s first term in office, Patchell played in 19 caps.
During the Scarlets’ 28-22 victory over Cardiff at the Arms Park, Dwayne Peel and Dai Young were perplexed by some of the calls made by the referee Joy Neville.
Peel, the head coach of the Scarlets, was perplexed by Neville’s decision not to send Lopeti Timani to the bench after the Tongan lock made forceful contact with the young center Joe Roberts’ face.
On Boxing Day, Scarlets backrower Tomas Lezana received a red card for a much weaker high tackle against the Ospreys than Timani’s hit.
When Peel was asked if he was surprised that Timani didn’t receive a red card, he replied, “Yes.”
Consistency, in my opinion, is the key. Throughout the week, I spoke about these decisions’ consistency.
The height of the body, etc., must be lower. The way it is.
Dai Young, Cardiff’s rugby director, was also perplexed by Neville’s decision to award the Scarlets a third try. Jonathan Davies scored by speculatively hoofing the ball forward after Johnny McNicholl made a break upfield.
Young looks at the replays and thinks that Davies was in the wrong spot and that the try should have been disallowed.
“To be honest with you, I thought we had a tough call there, but I’m more interested in looking at ourselves and understanding why we weren’t as good as we have been over the past six weeks.”
With a last-minute 24-19 victory over the Ospreys in Swansea, Leinster crossed for two late tries to extend their URC winning streak to 12 games.
The home team held a 63-minute lead, but fullback Hugo Keenan and wing Jimmy O’Brien crossed the line for the leaders to win.
Keelan Giles, a wing, crossed for the first try of the game, but Dan Sheehan, a hooker, scored for Leinster just before the break.
Despite being forced to survive on scraps of possession and losing the territory battle to Leinster, the Ospreys put on a determined defensive performance and dominated the scrum.
The hosts had been unbeaten for three impressive matches before falling to a team that many anticipate will be in contention for the title.
Connacht beat the Sharks at the Sportsground, 24-12, in the badly-needed BKT United Rugby Championship, thanks to three first-half tries from Connacht.
Cathal Forde, a young center, had a player-of-the-match performance in which he crossed the ball twice. Conor Oliver and Tiernan O’Halloran also scored tries to give the hosts a 19-0 halftime lead.
The Sharks retained only three starters from their 47-20 victory over the Bulls thanks to squad rotation, and their director of rugby, Neil Powell, remained in Durban to prepare for the Heineken Champions Cup the following week.