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New Zealand Rugby Team Watch

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
The Lions, Meat Eaters, and Wobs already have a dedicated "Watch" Thread set up.

It is perhaps timely to have one for The Darkness as well.

I was so tempted to name this thread "The Black Watch", but there was some issue with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Scottish Regiment (AKA The Black Watch). Wouldn't want 1000 upset and armed and trained Scotsmen hunting me down for misrepresentation.

As usual our frineds across the Tasman appear to have an embarrassment of riches for nearly all positions from 1-15, with plenty of contenders for all benchwarming positions. Some of the elder statesmen of NZ rugby may be rested for some of the games in The Rugby Championships, but as always there are plenty of young bucks chaffing at the bit to get a start in the Black strip.

With 2 and a bit seasons left before RWC15 will the Lords of Darkness go into rebuilding mode and take a bit of a risk and blood lots of youth, or will it be a steady as she goes, no risk team with a heavy reliance on experienced and well established internationals.

Many players who would be automatic selections in any other country will not get a look in and there will be no surprise if we seem them heading overseas to join the ranks of the rugby journeymen plying their trade with Japanese and European clubs.

Anyone game to list their starting 15?
 

JSRF10

Dick Tooth (41)
Will the invisible one be back for the Rugby Championship? If not who would most people see as his replacement? Would have to fancy Matt Todd at myself, but hard to pick a 7 let alone their first 15!
 

Bullrush

John Thornett (49)
Just going by form so far, maybe it would like:

Afeaki
Elliot
Woodcock
S Whitelock
Retallick
Luatua
Cane
Read
Weepu
Carter
Crotty/C Smith
Ranger
Gear
Savea
B Smith

However, I think you're more likely to see these names still in the mix:

Mealamu
McCaw
Ali Williams
Messam
Conrad Smith
Kahui
Cruden
Nonu

Not saying that they shouldn't be in there but that they may have been edged slightly (or unseen as yet) in the Super Comp.

edit: Ali Williams definitely shouldn't be in the mix but the coaches love him. And are there too many Kiwi locks better than B Thorne at the moment? Will this man ever actually not be good??
 

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
The New Zealand Rugby Museum web site appears to be off line ATM.

Brothers I know that have pulled on the Black jumper are:
Going - Sid, Ken and Brian (I think) Did all three play at once?
Whetten - Twins Allan and Gary
Meads - Colin and Stan (both Second row)
Brooke - Zinzan and Robin
Deans - Dingo and Bruce

Fom the NH, There is the Underwoods, Tony and Rory(ENG); Hastings, Scott and Gavin (SCO) and Quinnell Scott and ? from WAL. All the Jones, Williams and Davies from WAL must be related and there must be a bro or two in there.

We have the Ella's Mark, Glen (Twins) and Gary.

How long before the Savea's join this rather special club, and will the Whitelocks do one better than the Ella's and Going's and have all four in black?
 

RoffsChoice

Jim Lenehan (48)
1. Ben Franks
Maybe Woodcock if he comes back strong.
2. Dane Coles/James Parsons
Hore hasn't been great, Mealamu was pretty good in his 30minutes this season.
3. Owen Franks
Who else?
4. Brad Thorn
I don't care if he's 58, he's the best lock in NZ.
5. Sam Whitelock
Really good at lock, Romano and B. Retallick need to catch up.
6. Brad Shields/George Whitelock/Steven Luatua
There hasn't really been a dominant blindside in NZ since Kaino. Shields or Luatua could step up, or we could just default to G. Whitelock.
7. Sam Cane (If McCaw isn't available)
If McCaw is there, no question until he plays bad for three in a row. Then we can question. Otherwise, Sam Cane is the best in NZ at the moment (Although Ardie Savea showed he can go from ITM to Super pretty well, give him a year or two and the Black might be his).
8. Peter Saili/Victor Vito (If Read isn't available)
Besides Read, there really isn't a stand up 8 at super level for NZ. You could try Vito again but he was never too effective at international level.
9. Piri Weepu/Aaron Smith/TJ Perenara (Tawera Kerr-Barlow too if available)
Aaron Smith hasn't been effective as of late, despite being behind a good Highlanders pack. Maybe he has AAC syndrome? I'd say Weepu, but Kerr-Barlow is great and showed some promise against the scots.
10. Aaron Cruden/Beauden Barrett (If Carter isn't available)
The battle to be the next All Black 10 is between these two, you'd give it to Cruden at the moment but Barrett is catching up - fast - despite being behind a weaker pack.
11. Julian Savea
Setting himself to hold this jersey for a decade.
12. Tim Bateman
The best of an ineffective bunch at the moment. Would you trust Colin Slade at 12? Chances are it will go to Nonu.
13. Conrad Smith
Could you NOT choose him? Ranger has been good but isn't really a threat to Smith.
14. Hosea Gear/Alapati Leiua (If Cory Jane isn't available)
Cory Jane is just Mr Reliable at test level, but who knows if he can come back strong. Leiua is taking after Savea while Gear is consistant for the Highlanders.
15. Gareth Anscombe/Ben Smith
Chiefs showing the benefit of having your second playmaker at 15, not 12. Ben Smith isn't extraordinary but gets the job done in attack and defense.

16. James Parsons/Dane Coles
17. Ben May/Chris King/Wyatt Crockett
18. Chris King/Wyatt Crockett/Ben May
19. Luke Romano/Brodie Retallick/Ali Williams
20. George Whitelock/Steven Luatua/Brad Shields
21. Aaron Smith/TJ Perenara/Piri Weepu
22. Beauden Barrett/Aaron Cruden
23. Ben Smith/Hosea Gear
 

Bairdy

Peter Fenwicke (45)
1. Ben Franks
Maybe Woodcock if he comes back strong.
2. Dane Coles/James Parsons Hikawera Elliot
Hore hasn't been great, Mealamu was pretty good in his 30minutes this season.
3. Owen Franks/Ben Afeaki
Who else?
4. Brad Thorn Brodie Retallick
I don't care if he's 58, he's the best lock in NZ.
5. Sam Whitelock
Really good at lock, Romano and B. Retallick need to catch up.
6. Brad Shields/George Whitelock/Steven Luatua
There hasn't really been a dominant blindside in NZ since Kaino. Shields or Luatua could step up, or we could just default to G. Whitelock.
7. Sam Cane (If McCaw isn't available)
If McCaw is there, no question until he plays bad for three in a row. Then we can question. Otherwise, Sam Cane is the best in NZ at the moment (Although Ardie Savea showed he can go from ITM to Super pretty well, give him a year or two and the Black might be his).
8. Peter Saili/Victor Vito (If Read isn't available)
Besides Read, there really isn't a stand up 8 at super level for NZ. You could try Vito again but he was never too effective at international level.
9. Piri Weepu/Aaron Smith/TJ Perenara (Tawera Kerr-Barlow too if available)
Aaron Smith hasn't been effective as of late, despite being behind a good Highlanders pack. Maybe he has AAC syndrome? I'd say Weepu, but Kerr-Barlow is great and showed some promise against the scots.
10. Aaron Cruden/Beauden Barrett (If Carter isn't available)
The battle to be the next All Black 10 is between these two, you'd give it to Cruden at the moment but Barrett is catching up - fast - despite being behind a weaker pack.
11. Julian Savea
Setting himself to hold this jersey for a decade.
12. Tim Bateman Francis Saili (possible bolter)/Andrew Horrell
The best of an ineffective bunch at the moment. Would you trust Colin Slade at 12? Chances are it will go to Nonu.
13. Conrad Smith/Richard Kahui/Rene Ranger
Could you NOT choose him? Ranger has been good but isn't really a threat to Smith.
14. Hosea Gear/Alapati Leiua Tim Nanai-Williams (If Cory Jane isn't available)
Cory Jane is just Mr Reliable at test level, but who knows if he can come back strong. Leiua is taking after Savea while Gear is consistant for the Highlanders.
15. Gareth Anscombe/Ben Smith/Charles Piutau
Chiefs showing the benefit of having your second playmaker at 15, not 12. Ben Smith isn't extraordinary but gets the job done in attack and defense.
I thought I would use your post to make some changes to what I think is the form XV so far. :)
 

Bullrush

John Thornett (49)
A couple of observations:

Richard Kahui is a huge asset being able to play centre and wing but as he has signed a Japanese deal, he won't be around for long. Conrad Smith will no doubt be the 1st choice 13 - next cab off the rank for me is Ranger. Like Kahui, he can play wing as well. We're seeing a more disciplined version of Ranger this year and getting to play with a real quality 10 like Carter, he could be awesome. He's looking around to see whats available when he comes off contract - get him more involved in the AB mix now.

Luatua is definitely the future 6 for NZ IMO. The thing I like about him is that he seems to be real consistent and not shy of doing the hard yards. He seems to like doing the grunt work that some of the 'flashier' players might not be so keen on. In saying that, he looks pretty quick for a big man too.

Colin Slade has to be the most over-rated player in NZ. Even as a Graham Henry fan, I can't see what the hype is about.

Kade Poki must wonder what he has to do to get mentioned. This guy has scored some unbelievable tries the last few years - he has so much x-factor they're changing the show to The Poki Factor.
 

kenzo

Frank Row (1)
sickened, shocked and disgusted by the lack of love for ben smith on this thread. so far he has been one of, if not, the form nz fullback of the competition. his consistancy on the pitch speaks volumes of his skill and character, especially considering he is performing in the worst team of the comp so far. easily the most underated all black and deserves some praise. sure he isnt exactly the flashiest player on the pitch, but generates an aura of class whenever he has the ball. conrad-smith-esque in a way. on current form id have him in for kahui. he has great utilliy value but his skillset is wasted on the bench. needs a start sooner or later, could make a great centre as well imo.
 

RoffsChoice

Jim Lenehan (48)
sickened, shocked and disgusted by the lack of love for ben smith on this thread. so far he has been one of, if not, the form nz fullback of the competition. his consistancy on the pitch speaks volumes of his skill and character, especially considering he is performing in the worst team of the comp so far. easily the most underated all black and deserves some praise. sure he isnt exactly the flashiest player on the pitch, but generates an aura of class whenever he has the ball. conrad-smith-esque in a way. on current form id have him in for kahui. he has great utilliy value but his skillset is wasted on the bench. needs a start sooner or later, could make a great centre as well imo.
Damn straight he is good, I'd have him ahead of all but Anscombe. And that's just because a second playmaker is a massive bonus and the way inside centre is looking, it won't be there.
 

Bairdy

Peter Fenwicke (45)
Colin Slade played for Canterbury, enough said ;)
But in all seriousness, the All Blacks have a void at 1, 12, 13, 14.
Ben Franks is 29 now but his move to the Hurricanes seems to have done him the world of good, and with Woodcock not getting any younger, and not playing very well. The cupboard is bare until the Wellington props like Goodes, Toomaga-Allen, Sione, as well as Ta'avau, S'ongafasi develop.
I don't have that Kiwi perspective to be very informative, but who is coming up the ranks in second five eighth? Andrew Horrell is a very good player and Francis Saili is impressive but still green. Apart from them I can't really reference anyone else of distinction.
With Conrad getting older, I think it would be wise to expect Ben to slot in at 13 when Conrad leaves as he made a cameo against Italy; very skillful, elusive and would allow for Dagg and co. to slot in.
And besides Savea and Gear, there's some players who are maybe a year or two behind in development, though I would wonder why Steve Hansen overlooks Poki who has played well before his rib injury. Guildford on one wing, Savea on the other?
 

Richo

John Thornett (49)
Conrad Smith is getting older but you can't tell. Bloody hell is he still good. Does the man ever make a mistake?
 

ACT Crusader

Jim Lenehan (48)
Just going by form so far, maybe it would like:

Afeaki
Elliot
Woodcock
S Whitelock
Retallick
Luatua
Cane
Read
Weepu
Carter
Crotty/C Smith
Ranger
Gear
Savea
B Smith

However, I think you're more likely to see these names still in the mix:

Mealamu
McCaw
Ali Williams
Messam
Conrad Smith
Kahui
Cruden
Nonu

Not saying that they shouldn't be in there but that they may have been edged slightly (or unseen as yet) in the Super Comp.

edit: Ali Williams definitely shouldn't be in the mix but the coaches love him. And are there too many Kiwi locks better than B Thorne at the moment? Will this man ever actually not be good??

"On form" and "Woodcock" should not be in the same paragraph...... He's been very poor IMO.

Elliott's an interesting one, not a regularly starter for the Chiefs.
 

RoffsChoice

Jim Lenehan (48)
With B Franks constantly on-off for the Hurricanes atm with injury, is he still a good choice for the Blacks?
 

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
The Darkness have had a hex imposed on #10 jumper recently and are probably a little gun shy. Not that they can't call on great depth.

As part of their risk management, what chance is there for T Bleyendaal (Canty) getting a benchwarmer call up?
He has been playing some impressive footy lately when DC has been off doing the Daddy thing.
 

teach

Trevor Allan (34)
There are still 3 seasons of Super 15 and 20 internationals at least to complete before the next world cup.
Hansen only has to look at the campaign under hart to see what happens when players are not blooded in time, so I have no doubt plans are underway.
In saying that, look how England's 'Dad's Army" went. McCaw may not start the next world cup but imagine him coming on as an impact player to close out tight games.
I expect to see a bit more experimentation this year. We have the RWC and Hansen had a pretty good first year as Coach. The rugby public here might be reasonably forgiving if we coughed up a test or two due to experimentation. As long as it wasn't to the Wallabies.
 

Dan54

Michael Lynagh (62)
I personally think the first thing I would look at before picking my AB team is who has lost the ball most in S15 and then wipe them out, all our teams this year seem to struggle to look after the ball!!! I always remember the mantra when you played real good teams in NZ was, bring your own bloody ball, because they're not gonna give you one to play with! In saying that I not panicing (just a little uneasy) over AB players not being on top of their game at this stage, as with their late start to season, they often seem to take awhile to get up to speed.
 

sammy3191

Bob McCowan (2)
I think given the RWC is 2 years away now is a good time to bring in the next bunch of All Black's, give the older guys a rest and manage their work load.

I have read that McCaw is now aiming for a return through club rugby and be available for the Rugby Championship, maybe we could do that with a few of the other older AB's to extend the life of their careers?
 
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