Howley's team selections could be a bit more bold
Howley's team selections could be a bit more bold (Credit: Kafuffle)

Wales' selection policy comes under harsh spotlight

WALES secured a win in name only over Japan on Saturday, relying on a drop-goal by 23-year-old Sam Davies to spare the blushes of his more experienced teammates.
The Ospreys fly-half, winning only his second cap, showed he had the temperament required for Test match rugby by sending a beautiful strike sailing through the sticks with the scores locked at 30-30 and only seven seconds on the clock.
Herein lies a big problem within the Welsh set-up.
Davies is the form fly-half in Wales. In 2013, he was IRB World Junior Player of the Year, becoming only the second Welshman to do so – the first being Gavin Henson in 2001.

Wales coach Rob Howley is under-fire after a poor autumn campaign thus far
Wales coach Rob Howley is under fire after a poor autumn campaign thus far

It seems however that form counts for very little when picking the Wales team.
It’s understandable why Dan Biggar was retained in the number 10 jersey for the opener with Australia. Biggar was lauded as one of the best fly-halfs in the world during last year’s World Cup.
But Biggar can’t get into the Ospreys XV at the moment due to Davies’ outstanding start to the season.
The youngster entered the fray late against Australia and gifted them a try with a loose pass. Given that Wales were in the midst of one of their worst performances of the last decade, it would be harsh to single out that moment for blame.
Davies was then dropped from the squad altogether for the win against Argentina before being recalled to the bench for the clash with Japan.
Wales were awful against Japan, playing with no direction, speed or skill.
When England are playing poorly, coach Eddie Jones does something to rectify it.
England is yet to register a defeat under coach Eddie Jones
England is yet to register a defeat under coach Eddie Jones

Jones hauled Luther Burrell from the field after 28 minutes of the first Test against Australia in June. Australia had raced into a two-try lead, and the half-back combination wasn’t working.
George Ford took over at fly-half while Owen Farrell moved to 12. England won the game 39-28.
In the third Test, Jones substituted Teimana Harrison for Courtney Lawes after 31 minutes even though his side had just taken a 17-15 lead. The visitors went on to seal a 44-40 win, and with it a 3-0 series victory.  
On Saturday, Davies was left to twiddle his thumbs for 67 minutes, while 18-year-old Keelan Giles didn’t come on at all.
Meanwhile Alex Cuthbert remained on the field for the entire match despite not having the best of matches.
Loyalty is a good thing in sport, but Cuthbert hasn’t showed anything that could be described as good form for the past three seasons.
It has become easy for fans to jump on the bandwagon and decry his constant selection, but he does not belong in the Wales team anymore and shouldn’t be selected again until he shows some form for his region.
In contrast, Giles has scored eight tries in five matches for the Ospreys this season. If the coaches aren’t willing to blood him against Japan, who will they blood him against?
Davies dug Wales out of a hole they dug themselves on Saturday. Here’s hoping they trust him with more than 13 minutes against South Africa.
The Wales XV to play South Africa, selected by The Cardiffian:
Liam Williams; Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Sam Davies, Gareth Davies; Gethin Jenkins, Scott Baldwin, Tomas Francis, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton ©, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric