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Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby 
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Post Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
Are the long-term problems in Welsh rugby more to do with nature or nurture? Put simply, there seem to be two main trains of thought on this issue.

Nature

The argument here is basically that, compared to countries such as England, South Africa and New Zealand, Wales' player base is actually quite small and, of those, only a minority are really that good. Therefore, whoever manages either the national team or the professional teams will ultimately be constrained by rather average players.

Nurture

The argument here is basically that Wales does have a lot of talented players and is still a major player in world rugby, but that the players are not managed, harnessed and developed anything like as well as they could be. The reasons could be due to mediocre coaches or general structures.

Personally, I am increasingly drawn more to the nurture argument. Consider the following:

- Wales were the first-ever team to defeat New Zealand at JWC level, back in 2012. They subsequently came third that year.
- The following year, Wales came second in the JWC, with a certain Sam Davies as fly-half and voted World Junior Player of the Year.
- In 2016, Wales U20's won the Six Nations Grand Slam.
- Scarlets won the Pro 12 with a largely young squad and record scores. Their season also included a notable victory over Toulon and a draw with eventual Euro champions Saracens.
- Notwithstanding their post-6N collapse, the Ospreys also did well most of the time with many young players. Most notably, they were the first-ever team in the history of either the Champions or Challenge Cups to win six matches at the pool stage with bonus points, and several of those matches were far from full-strength on their part.
- This Summer, Wales U18's defeated both England U18's (who they also beat earlier in the year at Ebbw Vale) and South Africa Schools in South Africa.
- Also this Summer, what was possibly the most inexperienced Wales squad of all time comfortably beat Tonga and just about overcame Wales' ultimate bogey team of Samoa, who have beaten full-strength Welsh teams four times in the past - three of them in Cardiff. (Yes I know England's second-string looked rather more impressive in Argentina, but then England's player base is far bigger anyway, and thanks to Gatland's Lions selection decisions they managed to retain a lot more experienced forwards and half-backs in particular than Wales did).

In short, I do not buy the cynical and nasty argument that Wales does not have many talented players and is not a 'proper' rugby nation in the same vain as New Zealand, South Africa or England. Rather, what is quite clear is that the structures and managers at the professional, academy and development levels are largely the problem, while the players themselves (at least initially) often have bundles of talent and enthusiasm.


Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:54 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
Many of us thanked the wives of the Quinnells of West Wales for carrying such burdens.

Some praised coaches .... but they were all Welsh speakers.


Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:39 am
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
Nature suggests naturally good players today we have many average players being nurtured to meet the requirements of the professional game with natural goodness being squeezed out.

It's an interesting debate to have at this juncture with the new Pro14 structure and hopefully advances in the developmental structure. I'd like to think that The Premiership would shift more towards development but no meteorite strike has struck the dinosaurs yet. :D


Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:15 am
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
LLanrumneyOik wrote:
Nature suggests naturally good players today we have many average players being nurtured to meet the requirements of the professional game with natural goodness being squeezed out.

It's an interesting debate to have at this juncture with the new Pro14 structure and hopefully advances in the developmental structure. I'd like to think that The Premiership would shift more towards development but no meteorite strike has struck the dinosaurs yet. :D


Ironically, I don't think the Lions and Wales captain is a "natural" player. More the product of a lot of hard work and gym time.

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Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
I agree warburton is not a natural rugby player

Physical and personality main strengths


Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:27 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
AverageBBCjournalist wrote:
I agree warburton is not a natural rugby player

Physical and personality main strengths


He is good.


Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:42 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
Bloody Sam Warburton. Fancy not playing in the nineteen seventies for Llanelli. What an inconsiderate *my love*

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
I believe that nature has a very big effect as "hot spots" that seem to produce more top level layers than other places with either larger population or area .

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:56 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
What do we mean by nature vs nurture here?

All of the arguments seem to be that of nurture... i.e. the social factors that go into producing players.

Nature should surely relate to genetic considerations that perhaps give certain players a physical or possibly mental edge over others.


Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:12 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
spinbreath wrote:
Bloody Sam Warburton. Fancy not playing in the nineteen seventies for Llanelli. What an inconsiderate *my love*


Takes intelligence to get the point which, perhaps explains your comment. ;) :D

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:10 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
jimcardiff wrote:
I believe that nature has a very big effect as "hot spots" that seem to produce more top level layers than other places with either larger population or area .


Fail to see why that could or would be evidence of nature, indeed i would say it is evidence of nurture.

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:21 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
To nurture one, one must first appreciate its nature.

@stalis 1807


Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:06 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
I hate you gripper with your 'I have read it you cannot change it'!

It is so destructive of constructive poetry and for why?

To nurture one, one must first appreciate ones' nature.

@ LLanrumneyOik 2017


Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:17 pm
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
Let's not get bogged down in semantics. The OP even helped you out by explaining exactly made what they meant, i.e. does Wales underperform because it doesn't produce enough players of sufficient talent due to whatever reason, or it is that those players are produced yet are not developed well enough to turn them into international quality players.


Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:19 am
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Post Re: Nature versus nurture in Welsh rugby
The coaching (the nurturing) and attitudes are wrong in Wales. Players with good skills don't understand the game and are let down by being unable to apply those skills at the right times, or are unprepared to utilise those skills for the team benefit over their own personal benefit.

This nature argument has a certain element to it. People in Wales are immersed in rugby from a young age, and I think that means that kids have basic skills from a young age that perhaps their peers from over the bridge and accross the seas don't have in such abundance as they don't have that same immersion in the game from such a young age.

That's an observance of having lived and coached in Wales and England

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Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:09 am
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