RBS 6 Nations Preview: Wales
Unfortunately, the injury croupier has dealt him a set of cards worse than mixed low numbers of different suit, covered in dog shit. He and Shaun Edwards face the challenge of reviving the country's form with second choices in many positions. This would be hard enough for most teams, but the fact that Wales's first choice props are the two best in the world and the back-ups are Paul James and Craig Mitchell says it all for the scrummage.
Worryingly, Wales seemed to have stopped playing head-up rugby as well. Anyone who saw the Aus game in the Autumn will know that they kept pointlessly hammering the wide first receiver gameplan despite it blatantly failing. This changed only when Richie Rees came on, but he is knacked also, we can only hope Peel can inject what the Cardiff man did off the bench.
The above, plus poor team form from the regions recently (Ospreys in particular) means this will be a tournament of fits and starts, mixed results and a mid-table finish. Still finish above Scotland, though.
Having said all that, this is perfect Gatland and Edwards territory: siege mentality etc, so they may surprise us all. But I doubt it.
Key Player: Jamie Roberts. Wales have been without him for a while, it's time to be a revelation all over again
Prediction: 4th. Again.
Player most likely to make Brian Moore's piss boil (excluding scrum-half): Alun Wyn-Jones - "Why oh why did he get involved there? No need and now they're a man down. Daft!"