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Some very insightful comments here - re backline at least. Totally agree with switching Ma'a and Money-Bill. I think it will require Sonny's off-load ability it conjunction with Ma'a's running ability to even have a chance of getting through the Aussie defensive midfield.
I'm a big Izzy fan, but can't help thinking he's in a bit of a slump this year - or is that just because of the quality of Saders backs he's had around him this year??? Andre Taylor worth a look????
Corey Jane is the right choice as long as his ability under the high ball is still good - 'cause you know that's what Barnes is gonna do.
Scrum Half - I could care less from this selection. Piri is now, and always has been too slow at cycling the ball from broken play - something Andy Ellis excels at - where is he BTW?!? Not even named in the squad!! or a Kerr-Barlow!!
DC vs Crudie. These boys are probably going to get equal playing time at 10 for a long time to come. I'd like to see Aaron get some more recovery time from the Super season, and Dan's still getting better with every game (ya passing dubious, and not the same runner he was ayear ago - but I have faith).
Can't really fault the forward pack - glad to see Faumuina named in the extended squad - he was the stand out player for the Blues this year in my opinion. Perhaps having Tameifuna on the bench would be my only change.
Anyways, go AB's!!
Posted 18:24 16th August 2012
Kitch, I suspect you have been watching reruns of 2009 with those comments.
Dagg had a shocking start to the year but grew all season and stepped up in the June tests, Jane has proven before he can come back from injury straight into a test (was it last year he scored twice against SA after a break?), Gear's work at the Highlanders set up a huge number of tries for the rest of the team and desrves his chance (and a protracted one at that), Carter was quiet on his return to the Crusaders but you need to check those specks and watch the Irish tests again if you think he can't pass especially with bullets coming from Smith at 9 at AB level.
And the suggestion that Nonu and SBW are crash bash only - C'mon you only need to watch John Smit's century game to see that's a myth for Nonu and SBW has a lot more to offer than you give him credit.
Change the glasses, the possibly the only area of (relative) weakness is hooker and lock - the latter of which are just green (Romano).
Posted 14:59 16th August 2012
Why don't you be a little more pessimistic!
Care to explain who you'd have starting instead? Shall I have a guess?
9 - You don't specifically write off Smith... but you want Cruden, and we can't have a rookie 9 AND a rookie 10... Plus, to give me a chance, I'm going to limit my guesses to players in the squad... so Weepu?
10 - Cruden obviously given how terrible you perceive DC's form to have been.
11 - No Gear (or Jane) so it's Savea.
12 - You wrote off both Nonu and SBW as " predictably crash and bash which often doesnt come to anything when playing the top sides, they lack vision and dont make their own space and are weak defensively unless someone is running straight at them" (which I have a HUGE issue with, but that's for another day) - but you'll probably backtrack and say that including one of them is OK. So let's say you go with Nonu here.
13 - Not a lot of options left in the squad... must be Ellison.
14 - Guildford.
15 - Ben Smith.
So you're backline would be
Weepu - Cruden - Savea - Nonu - Ellison - Guildford - Smith
Granted, that's not terrible, and would beat a lot of international teams, but even on current form I'd be much happier with the team that's been selected.
It's the first test of the Championship and the Bledisloe Cup. It's in Sydney. Experience is going to be very important... and we already have enough rookies by including Romano (and Retallick on teh bench), A Smith and (he's been around for ages but hasn't got that many caps) Messam than to throw in the likes of Cruden (11 caps), Savea (2), Ellison (2) and B Smith (5) all into the starting line up.
Posted 14:28 16th August 2012
one cant argue too much about the forwards other than kevs throwing ability but the backs worry me a little especially in the absense of smith.. our backs lack a steady honest leader
..dagg has done nothing all season,.. jane has hardly played, ..gear has a limited skill set and low work rate,..maa & sbw are both predictably crash and bash which often doesnt come to anything when playing the top sides, they lack vision and dont make their own space and are weak defensively unless someone is running straight at them.. boom!!..,.. carter has been out of form all season, has failed to get the crusaders backs firing and his passing game has no confidence getting the crusaders in trouble on a number of occasions,.. aaron has a wicked pass but hasnt shown much else,.. the only positive would be cruden coming on early
consequently wont be too surprised if aussie win but hope they all prove me wrong.. our strength definitely is in the forwards esp with a fit reid at 8
Posted 09:55 16th August 2012
Delighted for retallick. Hope he's never picked again
Posted 08:44 16th August 2012
Personally, I'd have had SBW at 12 and Nonu at 13.
That way, he has experience either side of him, whereas at 13 he's a bit more exposed. Nonu would also be a interesting sight receiving any offloads from Sonny Bill's half breaks (or full ones).
Also gives you the ralistic option to skip inside centre and use Nonu to feed the wings correctly.
Posted 08:32 16th August 2012
I look foward to watching Liam Messam, who seems to have finally grown into his potential.
Posted 08:29 16th August 2012
ben smith is awesome and one of my favourites dont get me wrong but CJ is the winger/fb so why not guildford or savea at 22? love seeing liam get the start at 6 especially as vito can play 8 and 6 and is the perfect back row replacement. shame that thomson cant get in there but there are just far too many world class loose forwards in NZ, same with the wingers.
i dont see anyone getting close to this lot. just look at that bench to see the ridiculous strength of this side, possibly the best bench ever assembled. ladies and gentlemen, it doesnt get any better than this in international sport.... oh wait conrad and kaino arent there
on top of everything i seriously cannot wait to see sonny bill and maa together trying to bust through against a couple of defensive demons in faingaa and horne. excited
Posted 07:58 16th August 2012
Would've loved to see Savea on the other wing from Gear, that would surely have been the biggest, scariest 3/4 line in AB if not rugby history? In saying that he's still not great under the high ball & Barnes will kick almost as much as Steyne if he's still there come September... AB by 6ish this week, 15ish next.
Posted 04:12 16th August 2012
This is a very good line up.... but there are still many players with great form who have missed the cut. Messam has finally responded to the challenge of stringing together some decent performances. It looks as though Thomson is the odd one out... Thomson has been given plenty of opportunity at this level and has not really established himself as a 'world class' player. He is now blocking the development of younger players - e.g. Sam Cane.
The Wallabies will be desperate for a winning start.... but it will need a very special performance from them (or perhaps the ABs failling to turn up - like they did in Brisbane last year) in order to win this one. Should the Wallabies lose then they will have a real mountain to climb in NZ a week later.
Logistically all of the travel and time away from home will be challenging in this first Rugby Championship. In the past it has been the ABs that have adapted better to travelling and playing at peak performance levels. It will be extremely difficult for Argentina - playing six very high intensity matches, against the three best teams in the world. But in the long run it can only help to develop rugby in Argentina and improve the rugby played at all levels.
Posted 03:51 16th August 2012
With only 3 locks in the squad Hansen knows he has to manage their work carefully. Romano in for Retallick is only a reflection of the heavy workload Retallick has had to endure as i'm sure he would be in ahead of Romano in normal circumstances.
Posted 23:50 15th August 2012
Posted 23:11 15th August 2012
Nice..... Hosea and Cory with Israel. Should be great.
Posted 22:54 15th August 2012
Strong line-up. But maybe they won't be able to thrash Wallabies. Front-row is not as brutal as it used to be but may be in the second half following substitutions. A. Thompson is still preferred ahead of L. Messam and J. Savea should start and C. Jane off the bench maybe. plus I. Dagg is often hot and cold so...
Posted 22:34 15th August 2012
Good enough to do the job. When you look at it how many of the Oz team selected would get into this team? Genia would, no more than 50/50 for Pocock and Beal but who else. Daunting.
Posted 21:53 15th August 2012
Still Weepu around? Nonu and SBw could be exposed defensively, but not by OZ.
Posted 21:37 15th August 2012
Happy with that line up. Very excited to see how the backline operates with those beasts & a combo like Smith & Carter in charge of feeding time. Also confident in a set of fowards that are littered with experience & high work rate... Bench isn't too shabby either.
Posted 21:17 15th August 2012
Injuries aside, similar selections to the 60-0 Irish game, powerful ball playing pack and a big quick backline.. only concerns would be lacking a little height at lineout and couple players haven't played a lot lately, otherwise no complaints.
Posted 21:09 15th August 2012
Suprised that Romano starts over Retallick, and Janes rapid return. Otherwise, solid team.
Posted 20:11 15th August 2012
you'd only want Conrad Smith and Jerome Kaino to make it the world's best team ...
Posted 20:00 15th August 2012
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