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DC understudy... very easy question = Colin Slade... mark my words if you don't already know you will! why Henry chose Donald over Slade is as much a mystery as why he didn't play Cater more at the 2003 WC 10 or 12 either way it was a m istake that he does not seem to learn from and it is his loyalty to players that maybe his achilles heel .... no balls???
Posted 04:23 10th December 2010
Good squad but dam right Conrad will have something to sat as he's the best centre in the world imo. Sonny looks a quality 12 but an ordinary 13.
Dagg & Sonny to come of the bench in the last 20 against tiring defences.
A fit Hore in place of Elliot.
As for lock if Williams is fit he'll be in contention as well. Only Thorne guaranteed to be in the squad. Going to be some talented players disappointed there.
Adam Thompson will be pushing for a place on the bench too.
Kahui almost as good as Conrad so has to be in the squad if not the 22.
Can't imagine who'd be pressuring them into picking Joe as he was awful this year & been ordinary for the last few. Only a complete lack of options in the last few years has kept him in the team. Fortunately all that has changed in the last 12 months so Joes time should be over.
I know you didn't mention Toeava but others did/will. He did well on this tour on the wing but the others are far better & his previous performances for the ABs in midfield have been nothing special & doesn't look the goods there at international level.
Posted 17:20 05th December 2010
would love to see: 1.Woodcock 2.Mealamu 3.O Franks 4.Thorne 5.S Whitelock 6.Kaino 7.McCaw 8.Read 9.Weepu 10.Carter 11.Gear 12.Nonu 13.Williams 14.Jane 15.Dagg 16.B Franks 17.Elliot 18.Boric 19.Messam 20.Cowan 21.Slade 22.Muliaina
will not happen because: Conrad Smith is going to have a thing or two (thousand) to say about my 22, Mils won't roll over and play dead for Dagg, Weepu is injured so Cowan will probably own the 9 jersey, there is every possibility that the brains trust will give in to pressure and use Joe/Siti or even both when their time has obviously passed (legends, but old legends they remain)
Finally, look for the following players to warrant serious attention (if nothing more) the coming year: Guilford, Ranger, Kahui, Mat Todd (Crusaders blindside) Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders 1st 5/8th, bad move by Berquist to go to 'Saders) Julian Savea (Hurricanes wing) Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders and Wellington 1st 5/8th slash wing) Sherwin Stowers (love his pace, even if he is a rather limited player) Fruean (still won't be able to crack an unbelivably strong AB midfield)
ABs world champs in 2011... Oz, England and possibly SA (if their amazing potential in the backline is realised) to make it competitive..
Posted 12:42 05th December 2010
Wow what a year indeed for the abs. I went to the Dublin game and the respect and attitude of the dublin people showed me two things. One what a great rugby suporting nation the Irish are and two just how lucky NZ is to have such a great history making team to support. The razzle dazzle rugby, the strength the power and the elimination of every other test nation that came before us, wow simply awesome. I was so glad to see the top outfit been played week in week out in 2010. There is far too much rubbish talk around player development and building towards a world cup. Obviously the world cup is the biggest and most valued prise in world rugby but no matter what player development or build up you have the world cup could simply come down to one intercept, one missed tackle, one piece of magic. You pick the best team week and week out look to win everyone in your path and hopefully that includes the world cup when it arrives. Thats what international rugby derserves and thats what the abs delievered. While other teams are licking there wounds and trying to console themselves with the idea of development the abs can celebrate that successful feeling right now. too much buoys simply too much, wow go the lads for 2011. love to watch.
Posted 17:13 01st December 2010
i like this all black team much more then all black class of 07 and 06 because they play with alot more conviction and they dont panick under pressure plus the captain has great leadership qualities witch other team captains lack!!!
Posted 10:37 01st December 2010
Bro I like your thinking, solid squad! I like Daniel Braid but do not understand why the selectors have forgotten Adam Thompson?? He's a bloody good player good defender good round the ruck, fit and great ball skills! Why have they forgotten this man can someone help me understand or is it just me and he really sucks?? I thought he was good back up for our solid 3 loosies!!
Posted 10:17 01st December 2010
As Crudens only played half a test it's probably unfair of me to as concerned about him as much as I was whenever Spencer played for the ABs but he does appear to be cut from the same cloth. Perhaps when I've seen more of him I'll get what all the fuss is about.
Posted 08:08 01st December 2010
"So New Zealand are flying. It sounds all too familiar. Does 2006 ring a bell? "
Posted 06:30 01st December 2010
Good season from the ABs, Kaino, McCaw and Read are the key to RWC2011, DC is important, but defense and the retrieval of the loose trio by far surpasses attack.
Cowan to start for the ABs next year, he has the mongrel and physicality in his defense that you want at the start of the game, as he gets tired he makes some poor decisions which is when Piri the closer will come on.
Slade to back up DC, he performs solidly under pressure and makes good decisions (which is a blight on Donald's game and to a lesser degree Cruden)
Braid as backup 7, Thompson is unfortunately a low IQ player, again prone to mistakes and misses tackles despite his enormous work rate. Vito will have to have a stand out year to also be cover.
Ali Williams too prone to injury, I think 2 years out of the game is too big a gamble in a WC year, the current locks look great with Eaton needing a stand out S15 campaign.
Dagg to push Mills for 15, Jane and Gear and either Sivi or Rokoko, but don't count out Guilford, he is a good high IQ player that just needs to cut down on errors which will come with experience at the Crusaders.
12, 13 is locked down with Toeava as backup and SBW and Nonu interchanging.
Front row will depend on injuries during the year, but there is enough depth to not stress the selectors.
Oh and SBW to cover 12,13,6,7,8 and 9! Gone are the days of the small half back!
Posted 21:52 30th November 2010
Get off the true NZer thing. Basically every nation has players who moved there or became eligible through the IRB's residency requirements (even though I don't care for those rules). A few things here, I agree that Nonu is the incumbent along w/ Smith but it sure is nice to have SBW and Kahui right behind them. For the millionth time Ali Williams will waltz back into the squad once proven fit; they've kept him in the AB's set up for two years and continue to name him as unavailable due to injury every time a squad is named. They don't do that for Jason Eaton. It will be Boric or Donnelly who suffers when he returns. Lastly, don't pretend for a second that should DC go down the AB set up wouldn't work out a dark ally deal to let Nick Evans play 3 minutes on loan for Auckland thus making him eligible for the AB's. Otherwise you've got to rely on MacAllister, Donald, Toeava (in a pinch, done it at Suer 15 level) or one of the newbies. And we saw what happened when we brought an exciting newby (Brendan Leonard) to the last RWC.
Posted 21:38 30th November 2010
@whatever, good point about those ABs being genuine NZers.
The focus should be turned on to England who have been selecting expat Kiwis with no real ties to the country other than being economic migrants in their 20s. i.e. Hartley, Hape, Flutey, Vainikolo, Henry Paul.
Posted 16:22 30th November 2010
Trinats, thanks for putting it into context with humour.
Facts are ABs remain front runners and playing RWC at home will be a huge advantage to them if #7, 8, 10 and 12 remain in good health.
French look off the pace but they are French.
English look like flat track bullies and will struggle away from Twickers.
Saffers have world class #s 7, 9 and decent #s 2, 12 to return from injury.
Ireland make Nelson Mandela look youthful.
Wallabies need a scrum coach and Vickers / Horwill to return. The grubber will be in and the risk of intercept grows by the day.
Tournament footy is tournament footy. With margin for error slim and a number of teams building quietly for 12 months, it's going to be a great 2011, where too much rugby will be barely enough!
Posted 14:17 30th November 2010
Good teams make their own luck!
Posted 13:37 30th November 2010
@Blueline: Regardless of who wins in the pool stages, the only scenario of NZ vs France in a knockout match is in the final. The French would have to take out England and Australia to get there if there are no massive surprises. It's very possible though given the French like to save their giant killing games for the WC. In fact I expect to see England or France take out Ozzy in the semis.
NZ is the team to beat, it really will take an epic FAIL on their behalf to mess it up, especially given the semi's and final are been played in a venue that England and Australia have never beaten them in, and SA last won there in 1937. France were the last (and one of the only) team to beat them there in 1994.
Posted 13:36 30th November 2010
Tag26, I can only assume you've, somehow, just blasted in from the 1950's - or do you have some other kind of explanation for such an ignorant viewpoint.
Regards the AB's, they have been immense this year! and I had such low expectations after the debacle of 09 and our, relatively, poor showing in the Super 14.
Obviously the new break down interpretation - thanks P. O'Brian - played a part and the perseverance shown by Henry and Co in 09 with the running game, when most other teams where searching their ranks for a few hoofers, had us primed for the new ruling. The other highlight for this year, for me, was Israel Dagg - that boy could be a superstar!!
I can't wait for the cup now, certainly don't think it's in the bag but this team inspire more confidence than the 07 version - no selection continuity, no plan b - where as the 2010 model seems to be a settled unit with several ways to win in the arsenal.
Anyone else hoping for an England v New Zealand final?
I can easily see the Poms beating the Wallabies in a semi. Australia's tight 5 are simply no where near good enough, and the backs are fantastic going forward but look a little lightweight in defense, especially Cooper who seems to think tackling is optional and that he'd rather opt out.
Posted 13:29 30th November 2010
What a sad wombat Trinats is. Australia cant even find a National to coach their team but has to bring over a kiwi. Trinats is as one eyed as that terrible Fox commentary team apart from the level headed comments of Rod Kafer. Kearns is a moaner, Clarke poor and Martin an absolute joke. Martin who seems to have no idea of the rules is constantly being pulled up by Kafer over Martin's absurd claims made game after game. Have a Happy Xmas Trinats see you in the New Year no doubt.
Posted 11:53 30th November 2010
Firstly well done the AB`s they were sublime this year but it does have the normal "peaking between world cups" feel about it. I sincerely hope for their sake they win the WC, cos if they don`t - phew I dont want to be an AB player in NZ!! The boks will defend their title I assure all AB`s that and it would make an awesome final - besides the Boks have beaten the AB`s in NZ quite a few times over the last couple of years.
Posted 11:47 30th November 2010
mikeNZ1, I think Cruden would have to rate more highly than Spencer. After all, Cruden has never taken out a key member of his own team, preventing any further involvement of that player in the series. (Here I hark back to Spencer doing his best 'clever beggar/startled chook' effort and taking out Umaga in the '03 NZ/Italy world cup opening game, never to be seen again). I suspect too that you would simply see a raised eyebrow rather than hear a resounding cheer from the opposition if Cruden's name was announced. (Here I hark back to the Australian dressing room's response when Spencer was named in a certain World Cup semifinal... you get the idea).
Posted 10:33 30th November 2010
@tagi26...By your logic the Franks brothers shouldnt be playing for the AB's either as they were born in Australia. The comments on this are focused on skin colour and nothing else in my opinion. I could name close to a dozen kiwis who have played international rugby for Eng & Wales and you never hear us whinging about that.
Toeava - played all his schoolboy footy in NZ
Mils - Moved to NZ when he was 2 years old.
Mealamu - Born Tokoroa NZ 1979
Kaino - NZ schoolboys rep
Rokococo - Moved to NZ aged 5
You get my drift...i'm bored of this now.
Posted 10:19 30th November 2010
Sorry I meant.....Stephen Brett not Stephen Donald
Posted 10:09 30th November 2010
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