Despite only one win in three games, and some all-round dire performances, there were some shining lights for Wales, who were missing 27 players through injury or Lions call-ups. Robert Rees takes a look at those who raised their hand above the parapet ahead of the Autumn series.
Wales find some summer gems
The Dragons’ lock made his Wales debut against Canada in match one of the Summer Series, providing a good stand in for Adam Beard, who was called up on Lions duty.
Just like Beard, Carter found himself destroying mauls for fun, utilising his gargantuan framework to wriggle around the ball, and even found himself as one of the major carriers. Argentina slightly neutralised his effectiveness, but the young second row will have a lot to look forward to in the coming years and could be an outside bet for a lock spot depending on injuries come the autumn.
Rowlands bagged two tries and some very good performances this summer. The Wasps lock, who is now on his way to the Dragons for the upcoming season has looked Wales’ best ball carrying threat as well as steadying the lineout throughout the three games.
His top performances will ensure both Beard and Alun Wyn Jones will have a hard time keeping their name on those starting jerseys.
The scrum half may have only started two of the games, but his impact was wide-felt. His dynamism with ball in hand ensured wales played with the tempo required to be competing at the top level of rugby, and gave Wales a new lease of life in the first Argentinian test.
Having returned from injury in time for the Summer Series games, Williams has arguably set himself up to start the big games come the Autumn internationals, which will hopefully be played in-front of full capacity crowds, something which the three games craved.
With the likes of Josh Adams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North and Liam Williams ahead of him in the pecking order for the winger spot in recent times, Holmes’ patience was rewarded with some big performances.
His width was strong and he always gave that option out wide that was going to trouble defences. He wasn’t head down and run, he looked for the step back inside or the pop pass for the inside runner, both of which worked effectively in the games in which he featured.
Brown has taken a step up in 2021, developing as an all-round prop for club and country. His scrummaging in both Argentina tests was superb, and offered a great platform to work with, even if Wales didn’t always do anything with it.
He carried strongly in the opening minutes of the third Test and has provided a very good tighthead option for Pivac to look at, possibly moving above Dillon Lewis in the pecking order.
Despite a disappointing set of results, Wayne Pivac will be pleased with what he’s seen this summer from some of his squad.
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