Discussion in 'Rugby Discussion' started by The Mayor of Perth, Apr 6, 2011.
Except for games of touch footy right..
Swelling (which is what I heard him say he had) after activity does not equal injury. He will have that for ever more, in my experience.
You are clearly not a fan of SBW as you have stated previously. Agree that the ABs have often played a second ball player or play-making type player at 12 in recent history. But perhaps the game has changed a little in the last couple of years? Many teams are now going for a big, strong tackling, hard running player at 12 these days. Eg. Nonu for AB's, de Villiers/Steyn for the Boks, McCabe for the Wobs, Jamie Roberts for Wales etc. SBW can definitely fit into this type role and he brings a lot of added extra's with his off-loads as well.
Also agree that SBW and Smith may not make the best combination. A bigger, faster 13 who runs great lines would be better suited to the type of game SBW plays with his taking the ball to the line, drawing a couple of defenders and offloading for the player running into the hole created (Kahui, Fruean??). Will be very interesting to see who the AB selectors go with..
I think Smith is not a typical AB 13 though, so in my opinion having a backline or Cruden, Carter and Smith wouldn't be the best for them.
Smith is somewhat like Aaron Mauger except a 13 instead of a 12.
I think his ball playing and decision making from 13 makes having a big ball crashing, offloading 12 like SBW or Nonu the best option.
If they were to pick someone like Fruean at 13 then I would agree that Cruden and Carter at 10 and 12 could be the best option.
I think the NZ trend recently has been away from their historical approach: i think their recent history is the opposite of their instinct.
Nonu is a lot of brute force and a bit of skill developed over the years.
SBW is not mere brute force - he's a 13 because he likes to be, and his game depends on being, able to go either way so he needs a bit of separation from the pigs. The problem with him at 12 is that he injects a lack of structure - it works at s. 15 and it is his arguable strength at all levels - but it has been the hallmark of the ABs for the parts of my life I can remember that they develop and maintain structure: they have been vulnerable when they have ignored structure, IMO. I think this is why they (used to) say in NZ that we were smarter rugby players: we played without structure and made it up as we went along. Deans interpretation ("play what's in front of you") shows that they don't really get what Ella and Co did to them - and Deans played them!!
I don't care how big or how fast any other 13 in the world is: my first pick would always be Conrad Smith. I cannot recall every seeing a 13 who ran better lines than Smith does in attack and defence.
Smith is very Similar to Bunce, IMO, a pretty typical AB.
I agree with that however I think the modern 12 is quite different to Walter Little. He was somewhere in between the two current options of either the playmaking second five like Dan Carter would be and the big ball runner like SBW or Nonu.
As I said previously, if I was picking someone like Carter at 12, I would pick Fruean at 13 and if I was picking SBW or Nonu at 12, I'd keep Smith at 13.
I would take Umaga over Smith.
Nonu hasn't been playing that badly IMO. His skills have definitely imporved ove the years but geez...it's a hard choice between him and SBW. Sonny obviously has the nice little off-loads and short passes but Nonu's long pass has been beautiful to watch as it gets the outside man away..
I'd take Jason Little too - but I was speaking of current test players
How "recent" or far back are we talking? Because if you look at the past 15 years we have had the likes of Bunce, Alatini, Umaga, Nonu and SBW play 2nd 5.
Then players like Little, Mauger, McAllister are of a different ilk.
I think in the case of Nonu and SBW when you have two guys where it's a close call and it's the year after a WC it's best to go with the younger guy. Although in the case of SBW there's still the fear he'll go back to league and giving him the starting experience with the AB would go to waste.
zero chance of SBW getting picked if he doesn't re-sign with the NZRU for 2013 imo
In one effort last night Smith showed why he is first picked: catch above shoulder from his right pass to left cleaned up with ribs exposed, try in corner to whoever.
Prior to 2002 umaga played 13 or wing.
Bunce too was a 13 when he played for NZ but a 12 for Samoa. He played his last test in 1997 so he's not under your 15 years either.
Alatini last played a test in 2001. Frankly I can't even picture him so I think he is not worthy of bein mentioned in the breath as bunce.
SBW has only played 12 against serious opposition "experimentally" - ie when others we rested or when they were using a test to look at him.
Smith is playing as well as ever despite RWC 2011.
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Smith is the kind of centre that makes the guy beside him look better because of the support lines he runs.
Agree Bardon, he makes inside and outside players look good because of his lines and ability to read where to put ball. I said the first few times I watched Smith play he reminded me of Bruce Robertson (in my opinion the prince of centres) who played for ABs late 70s early 80s, he has an immaculate knack of reading game and where to be in defence as well as attack. I actually think he is the type of centre that ABs have generally have played. I also don't see any probs with him being outside SBW or Nonu, I not sure Fruean would suit ABs at 13, he got more cahnce on wing or perhaps 12, he too similar to SBW and Nonu to be effective with them I believe.
Then I am prepared to be proved wrong and if Fruean does have a test at 13 and is a success I deny saying any of the above
Yes Bunce played centre for the ABs but his first test was at 12 for the ABs. And IMO he probably wouldve stayed there but we lacked depth at 13.
Interestingly you will recall that the likes of Eroni Clarke and Iremia also played 12 a bit.
My point is that you said that NZ was "shifting away" from traditional 12s. But over an extended period we have played a lot of different players in that position who have been that abrasive type and then a genuine 2nd 5/8 type.
IMO there hasn't been a shift but rather a pragmatic approach of selecting the 'right' player and also combinations.
SBW is back playing as a rampaging league second rower this season and looks the better for it. He does wonderful, damaging crash balls, but then can range wider and use those soft hands to create opportunities for those around him.
To me he is the form 12 in the S15 and looks much better at 12 than he has ever looked at 13.
Like to see him fight against Monty Betham
what he did last nigh in that catch and pass - the only other current bloke who could do that is you avatar and i havent seen him at his best for a little while
I was looking at this at some ungodly hour - espn scrum had 2 no 12's in Bunce's debut so i couldnt work out where he played!
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