How will Glenn Delaney manage Halfpenny and Williams

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New head coach Glenn Delaney will have plenty of questions to answer as he prepares for his next adventure as the new head coach of the Scarlets. Few questions will be as important as how to accommodate both Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.

Halfpenny has reportedly signed an extension to remain in Llanelli per WalesOnline, while Williams has returned to his former region after a successful spell for Saracens. That has immediately raised questions about how new head coach Delaney will accommodate the two world-class full-backs.

The Scarlets have an embarrassment of riches in the back three. Delaney has Halfpenny, Williams, fine teenage prospect Ryan Conbeer and Welsh internationals Steff Evans, Johnny McNicholl, and Tom Prydie.

Keeping seven quality players happy will be difficult and will give former Super Rugby coach Glenn Delaney a few selection headaches. However, with the Scarlets competing across a number of competitions, that fact will help Delaney to rotate his impressive talent pool.

The almost impossible decision facing Glenn Delaney

As far as the full-back positions goes, Williams’ versatility may ensure both players feature in the same team.

Liam Williams #14 of the Saracens runs up the field with the ball against the Newcastle Falcons during a Aviva Premiership match between the Newcastle Falcons and the Saracens at Talen Energy Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Although it appears to be a difficult decision, Delaney could be aided by Williams’ versatility. The former Saracens man spent the majority of his time in North London on the wing with Alex Goode established at full-back. Not only did Williams relish the role with open arms, but he also thrived.

Williams has always been an excellent runner, often compared to the likes of JPR Williams because of his counter-attacking ability. The space that a fullback gets creates opportunities in attack, yet Wiliams is equally effective in attack from the wing.

While Halfpenny’s positional awareness, quality under the high ball, and his defensive duties are unquestionable, being a sweeper style player at the back will better suit him in the full-back position.

10th November 2018, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales; Rugby Union, Autumn International series, Wales versus Australia; Leigh Halfpenny of Wales puts the brakes on to look for an outlet (photo by Paul Jenkins/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The battle may also shape Wayne Pivac’s inevitable decision on who starts for Wales. 

Both Williams and Halfpenny have spent years battling for the full-back berth. It was a decision that proved too difficult for the majority of Warren Gatland’s time in Wales.

Nevertheless, there is plenty of competitive rugby matches in a regular-season; especially as far as the Scarlets are concerned. The Llanelli region will have Champions Cup, Guinness Pro14, and will have matches during the international window.

It is safe to say, both players will have sufficient time to showcase themselves.


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