Warren Gatland has picked a Six Nations Squad pretty well much as expected. The disaster area is the front row, where skipper Mathew Rees will be supported by two props who are just not good enough to cope at this level. I do hope I'm proved wrong. But I have this image of a penalty try, and one of our props sitting in the bin. Losing Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones was a massive blow to Wales. But this loss will dictate how Wales play the game, which may well allow things to turn out OK. First shoots of optimism creeping in! The ball will have to be moved out of the scrum, and to the backs as fast as possible.
Decent strength in the second row. Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies, with Ryan Jones on the bench is as good as it gets. We must hope that we can at least win a fair share of line-out ball. And the back row looks big and strong as well, if a little inexperienced. Gatland will probably start with Warburton, Thomas and Lydiate, who will need to win their fair share of loose ball. Bold move to leave out the magnificent Martyn Williams, but time for the final curtain has been reached. Half backs, Phillips and Jones will have to focus on getting the ball out to the backs, where Wales look strong. Gatland will start with Hook, Roberts, Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Lee Byrne. Plenty of potential for fireworks and magic there.
Now that I've written this post, I'm beginning to feel a bit less pessimistic. By week Friday, I'll be expecting nothing less than victory.