Six into two won’t go – so how does Mooar jug­gle his wing op­tions next term?

Llanelli Star - - SCARLETS -

IF Tom James thought break­ing into the Cardiff Blues team was hard, he has just stepped into an ar­guably tougher chal­lenge.

At the Arms Park last sea­son he had to face the twin threat of Aled Sum­mer­hill and Owen Lane. And now the Blues have added Wales men Hal­lam Amos and Josh Adams to their ranks.

But it will be no eas­ier to force his way into the start­ing XV at Parc y Scar­lets.

Here we look at the op­tions fac­ing new head coach Brad Mooar.

JONNY MCNI­CHOLL

Hard to see how he doesn’t make a first-choice Scar­lets team. A rev­e­la­tion since his ar­rival from Su­per Rugby side Can­ter­bury Cru­saders in 2016.

The Kiwi is a bril­liant bro­ken­field runner and a threat when­ever he re­ceives the ball. Also has an ap­petite for work and reg­u­larly pops up in mid­field if a chance arises. A key cog in the ma­chine as the Scar­lets clinched the PRO12 ti­tle in 2017.

Has signed a new deal with the Scar­lets, so will soon qual­ify for Wales on res­i­dency grounds.

RYAN CONBEER

Could be a sur­prise pack­age in the com­ing sea­son. Has so far played most of his rugby for Llanelli at Premier­ship level, but has starred on the in­ter­na­tional stage for Wales Un­der-20s and is surely ready to be un­leashed on top-level de­fences sooner rather than later.

He is also be­ing tipped for a break­through year by the Eng­land coach who has done his best to stop him starring on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

Richard Whif­fin is part of the new-look Scar­lets back­room team after be­ing Eng­land’s at­tack coach at the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships.

He said: “He’s very fast, a great fin­isher and he’s also very strong in the con­tact area. He is go­ing to have a lot of com­pe­ti­tion, but he’s a player who could re­ally make his mark next sea­son.”

IOAN NI­CHOLAS

Has maybe gone un­der the radar, but is highly thought of at the West

Wales re­gion.

The Wales Un­der-20s grad­u­ate was a reg­u­lar in an in­ter­na­tion­alqual­ity back di­vi­sion last sea­son, scor­ing seven tries in the process. His form also kept Wales star St­ef­fan Evans on the side­lines for large parts of the sea­son.

And the Pon­ty­berem prod­uct was re­warded with a new con­tract in May.

Can also play in the cen­tre, but his nat­u­ral pace will give Mooar op­tions out wide.

TOM JAMES

At his best he is a wing of true in­ter­na­tional qual­ity. His chal­lenge now is to rediscover his peak form in new sur­round­ings.

The 32-year-old has won 12 caps dur­ing a golden pe­riod for the national side and his strong run­ning is a pow­er­ful weapon.

Has ex­pe­ri­ence on his side and his spell in the English Premier­ship with Ex­eter Chiefs is no bad thing.

ST­EFF EVANS

En­dured a mis­er­able 2018-19, los­ing not only his place in the Wales team, but in the Scar­lets side as well.

His su­perb form at the start of the pre­vi­ous sea­son had pushed him to the fore­front of War­ren Gat­land’s thoughts, but Wayne Pi­vac be­gan to ex­press doubts about his de­fence last term and he found him­self look­ing to re­gain his best in the semi-pro­fes­sional arena.

Still a bril­liant talent and is cur­rently part of the Wales World Cup train­ing squad.

TOM PRYDIE

Seems to have been around for ever, de­spite be­ing aged just 27.

Wales’s youngest ever cap — he featured against Italy in 2010 aged just 17 — be­gan last term as a fix­ture in the Scar­lets side and he featured reg­u­larly dur­ing the au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als and Six Na­tions.

Ended the cam­paign help­ing Llanelli avoid rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier­ship by play­ing in their play-off de­cider against Pon­ty­pool.

Ev­i­dently has the back­ing of the new coach­ing regime as he has penned a new con­tract.

St­eff Evans cel­e­brates scor­ing a try with Johnny McNi­choll.

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