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I don't agree with anything being said about Ali Williams.
I have seen him play a lot of good rugby this year. But it can be very hard to challenge an opinion that is widely held, however unjustified it might be. There will always be people ready to jump on the bandwagon. (Hell, I recall that British teams, media and fans continued to believe that the All Blacks played only 10-man rugby for a good decade after the ABs started running riot across the field.)
I accept I may simply be wrong about Williams's form. But I won't accept that he has lost the passion. He worked damned hard for a long time to make the ABs after his achilles injury. And there was plenty of passion evident on Saturday when Reddan won Ireland a penalty by diving over his foot. Williams thought he had got clear of the breakdown and was justifiably angry.
In the face of so much criticism Williams himself might "admit" a loss of form and passion for the game. We can be led to "admit" things as we seek understanding.
I agree with all you say about Eaton, Messam (especially as McCaw is no No 8), Jane, Kahui and Conrad Smith. Eaton has played well this year and can be considered especially unlucky -- perhaps he should have been chosen ahead of Williams.
Thank you for redressing the balance in all this talk about injuries. Don't forget Toeava, Mealamu and Boric.
Posted 04:33 19th June 2012
I agree with you how well O' Brien has gone at 7 in both tests but there's really no one else who could play 8 more effectively with Heaslip out. If this wasn't such a big match one could be tempted to put the mobile and hard working Ryan at 6, Mc Loughlin at 8 and O' Brien at 7
Posted 09:54 18th June 2012
There comes a time when it is time to move on and a good man takes the signs and messages that are always there in these situations.Yes it is hard to move on but the alternative is for a much worse picture to develop which can be one of ridicule. I hope Ali sees the writing is on the wall and moves on as we have a set of very good locks and some fine players waiting in the wings or should that be the line out.
Posted 07:03 18th June 2012
they need to rest read no question he is far too important. messam comes in for hamilton which is a thing of beauty
Posted 06:45 18th June 2012
blametheref, it won't be interesting to see SOB at 8. He has gotten the better of McCaw this tour when many doubted whether he could play openside at this level. Why move him now? Give him another game there to continue his excellent form. Moving him would be a backward step.
Posted 02:39 18th June 2012
I haven't been a fan of Messam in the past, but over the last year he has smartened up a lot, makes very few errors now, has been massive for the Chiefs in defense against some of the biggest South African forwards and excellent as a link in attack. He has added a little bit of the mongrel (controlled aggression unlike Ali Williams) which NZ needs now that Thorn or Kaino are no longer available and that the also vastly improved Vito is injured... so he must start in my reckoning if Read is out for the 3rd test... though I think Hansen will go with Cane from the onset.
Ali does not deserve his place in the team and to be honest Jason Eaton who has been one of the best 3 locks in NZ (as stated by former ABs & on rugby programs such as reunion) for the last year should have been given a go instead of Williams.
Three all blacks who have NEVER had a bad game for the ABs on dry paddocks or in the wet are Conrad Smith, Cory Jane & Richard Kahui. The latter two were sorely missed in the 2nd test and would have made a huge difference on attack & defense. Look again at the last test on the DVD recorder and you'll see Conrad S. made most of Savea's tackles for him.
Great to see the Irish pushing the ABs so hard and the 1st test debutants (& backs coach - the terrible Foster) getting a reality check. Expect the All Blacks to play much better in Hamilton and win by 12-25 points ... as long as Messam gets a run and Cane & the Ben Franks does okay when he comes on to replace his brother in the scrum.
Posted 02:31 18th June 2012
jaystarr:Most of nz didn't want ali willams picked in the first place.... IT's alot harder to get kicked out of the abs than to get into the team... Ireland played well and at least deserved a draw with how they played... How do you reckon the four nations will go or is it anybody's guess this year?
Posted 21:36 17th June 2012
If only the ABs had Cory Jane, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, and Jerome Kaino playing.... Anyone imagine the Irish would get a look in then?
Posted 20:17 17th June 2012
If I were Ali Williams I'd go take a big fat pay cheque in France or Japan because he simply doesn't cut the mustard at this level any more
Posted 18:59 17th June 2012
Have to say the Irish losses are far far more serious for test 3, we are now without 6 key frontline players, which includes the crucial D'Arcy/BOD partnership with D'Arcy out, which will see Sexton at 12 and the much more soft tackling ROG at 10...It'll be interesting to see O' Mahony at 7, and O' Brien at 8 a position he has proven for Leinster he can play very well
Posted 16:39 17th June 2012
I wouldn't say losing Ali Williams is any loss at all... As far as I'm concerned he can be lucky to make the Blues starting line-up at the moment - nevermind the All Black one. All he contributed on Saturday was a penalty and a scuffle...
Maybe he should take this time off to consider whether he still has the same passion for rugby - and then either shape up or slip out. Because we know what he is capable of, but at the moment it seems like he thinks it's just good enough to show up... "Hey, look - it's World Cup winner Ali Williams!"
Well sorry mate - the World Cup means jack $*! if you play like you're in the Vodacom Cup...
Yes, I know he's admitted to being poor and said how he's trying to improve, etc., but even though he talks the talk, there is no fire when it comes to walking the walk - he is so laxidasical when he comes onto the field that it all just seems like lip service. And the fact that he actually made the All Black squad - even though he was so poor this season - is not exactly going to stoke the fires and force him into the necessary reflection to take a massive step up...
Steve Hanson would've done him a favour by leaving him out in the first place. Let's hope he takes this time away now to do the soul-searching required - and that the real Ali Williams then stands up.
Posted 14:57 17th June 2012
I have never seen Ireland turn around like that in a week in my life, very proud but we left it slip away.
Posted 14:47 17th June 2012
Well at least the Irish players weren't the only ones to take a battering. 4 Leinster players injured yesterday.
Posted 12:23 17th June 2012
no loss pretty sure it was going to be ali's last game. not even half as good as his prime.
Posted 10:43 17th June 2012
About time for Liam. That's three young locks, maybe they could have looked at Eaton, Crosswell, Hoata or at least with some S15 experience. That will be it now for Ali you would think?
Posted 10:06 17th June 2012
The loss of Read is a concern that of Ali Williams not.
Posted 09:10 17th June 2012
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