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New Zealand Rugby Team Watch

Dismal Pillock

Andrew Slack (58)
I'd just start the Blues backrow and have Ardie off the bench. Papali'i, Sotutu and Akira provide everything you need from a back row. Power, running ability, lineout and work rate. And for big lads they are pretty damn mobile and then they also have cohesion.

Even at Super Rugby level Ardie has most impact at the back end of games. His energiser bunny thing doesn't work so well against well set test defences and he isn't exactly dominant on the defensive side. Hard to see why you'd pick him over Dalton except that he has seniority.

Edit: and people saying Ardie is the best forward in the world are having a laugh.
You make so much sense for a non-Aucklander.

TL/DR; Derpus, there is always a place for you aboard The 3-Headed Hydra of The Horsecocked Auckpocalyse.

austin-powers-dr-evil.gif
 

Jeffrey

Herbert Moran (7)
For the first time in a long while, every category of forwards is uncertain.

Who are the props? There is almost no prop that has been convincing. First, the are-nots. I hope Lomax, Ta'avao, Bower, and Tui'inukuafe will no longer be involved in the AB set-up. I don't fancy any of them against the juggernauts that will be coming. But the top tier of props habe also not been convincing. Moody and Laulala have been pretty shite. Moody in particular was very defensive saying they matched Ireland physically. No dude. We were physically outmatched. Hodgman and Tu'ungafasi seem to be playing better, but only slightly. Degroot has been injured. Moli hasn't played much.
Then there are the new kids on the block - Aidan Ross, Fletcher Newell, and Tamaiti Williams: are they ready?

Interestingly, the AB scrum hasn't looked too bad at any point of time. However, the props lack impact all across the field. So who are the top 6 props? And if we are blooding a new prop, they really only have about a dozen games till the WC.

Who is the hooker? The 3 positions will almost certainly be Codie Taylor, Samisoni Taukei'aho, and Dane Coles. Taylor, barring occasional glimpses, has been very out of form. Coles hasn't played much. Are we comfortable, and do the coaches dare to start Samisoni? This also means that Asafo Aumua and Kurt Eklund are not in the team. Aumua, imo, really needs coaching. He has the tools to be an excellent hooker in the modern game. Yet, the Hurricanes coaching team aren't exactly top tier.

Who are the locks? Whitelock and Retallick look tired, having given NZ so much over the years. Retallick hasn't played well against non-aussie opponents since the EOYT against England in 2018. But who's next? Tupou Vai'i is skillful, but IMO, he is worryingly soft. Scott Barrett does something stupid every game. Patrick Tuipulotu is in Japan, and hasn't exactly set it on fire. I really hope we are not seriously considering Josh Lord against Etzebeth, Willemse, and James Ryan. Then there are a long list of folks at the fringes. Mitchell Dunshea (no physical impact); Quentin Strange (limited game time). Pari Pari is constantly injured. Is there space for a workhorse like James Tucker?

I know folks here are not fans of Ardie Savea. But for mine, he is the first name on the team sheet, even before Sam Cane. He is an incomplete player, but he is the best player at delivering where we are the weakest - physicality and ball-carrying. At 6, the best option seems to be Akira Ioane, especially if he can get more game time. But let's not forget that Super Rugby and the Wallabies are a different kettle of fish to the North and the Boks. Hoiskins has always had a very high ceiling, because of his lateral speed, agility, and lineout ability. But the most pleasing was his performance against the Brumbies, where he showed his willingness to negotiate, fairly successfully, the tight. Papali'i plays all 3 positions, but none I would contend, super well. Is he a good contender on the bench if we are looking for impact?

Luke Jacobsen has been shite for mine. Tom Robinson has been ok, but isn't exactly on fire, ditto for Grace. Blackadder's workrate is excellent, but workrate is not sufficient at the highest level. Is Pita Gus worth a look at? His repertoire has improved of late to include offloading.
 

Dan54

Phil Kearns (64)
I would say that Ta'avao will be in, Moody is out for rest of season, so might be hard to pick. Tui'inukuafe is off to france so he won't be picked. I think Ofa, Ta'avao ,Hodgeman ,Laulala and de Groot will all be in, not sure about Lomax, Moli etc, but will almost guarantee most notice will be taken from now on. Hookers I probably agree the 3 you name, though still could be Aumua will be close. Locks I think will be Whitekock (who is playing bloody well at moment) Barrett still been best lock in NZ super teams this year, Vaií a very similar lock type to Itoje, and Retallick. I reckon, and not sure if they will use any other, Lord another year or so off being a test lock I think. Loosies Ardie, Cane and I think Akira, with Papali'i on bench, also think Blackadder will be in squad, and I do like Jacobson, and so will be happy with him in the 6/8. Grace from Crusaders is another pretty good player who will be looked at closely. I will add Frizell might come back and get a couple of games playing like he was before injury, will go in. I go along with Tom Robinson looks a very good super player that perhaps doesn't strike me as a test player. I just rembered Pita Gus, and think he is the type to look at to give us a different style 6/8 very very good ball carrier it seems and has learnt defence in last year.

I say all that in admitting most I have only seen on TV (which tells only small picture of who is doing what) and haven't seen GPS figures from games , or spoken to coaches, so my opinion should be taken with a huge grain of salt. I will say the Canes/Tribe game I saw I thought I could see why Cane is AB his workrate off the ball is incredible, McCaw like.

Backs I don't think there will be a lot of discussion (all minor) apart from at 12 and back up 9 who starts at 10 (BB).
 
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Marce

Alex Ross (28)
Backline for Ireland series:

9 Afterdavid
10 BB
11 Reece
12 Jordie Barrett (not ready? MAKE IT READY. Goodhue doesnt deserve it yet. psLOL@Ennor and Havili. RTS is coming along gangbusters you pair of sad motherfuckers)
14 ??? (would have said CC but his hammy seemed rooted)
15 Will Jordan
Conrad Smith at 13? Are u from NZ?
 

KiwiM

Cyril Towers (30)
Loosies Ardie, Cane and I think Akira, with Papali'i on bench, also think Blackadder will be in squad, and I do like Jacobson, and so will be happy with him in the 6/8. Grace from Crusaders is another pretty good player who will be looked at closely. I will add Frizell might come back and get a couple of games playing like he was before injury, will go in. I go along with Tom Robinson looks a very good super player that perhaps doesn't strike me as a test player. I just rembered Pita Gus, and think he is the type to look at to give us a different style 6/8 very very good ball carrier it seems and has learnt defence in last year.

You have missed Sotutu - I'd suggest Sotutu is ahead of Grace - Sotutu is an incumbent and playing well - Grace i'm not sure has done enough to get back in though with playoffs still to come lots can still change with form/injury etc. I would like to see one of Pita Gus or MMT in as another ball carrying loosie as I think in modern test match rugby these are super important. I'd probably take them ahead of Jacoboson - Jacobson got absolutely schooled by Valetini a couple of weeks ago.
 

Derpus

Tim Horan (67)
You have missed Sotutu - I'd suggest Sotutu is ahead of Grace - Sotutu is an incumbent and playing well - Grace i'm not sure has done enough to get back in though with playoffs still to come lots can still change with form/injury etc. I would like to see one of Pita Gus or MMT in as another ball carrying loosie as I think in modern test match rugby these are super important. I'd probably take them ahead of Jacoboson - Jacobson got absolutely schooled by Valetini a couple of weeks ago.
To be fair to him, Valetini has schooled everyone he's come up against. Clearly the form 8 in the comp right now.
 

Marce

Alex Ross (28)
But to clarify, Afterdavid is the Sex Pest. He is not Flapenara. This is an important distinction.
Aaron Smith

Did you know? In Latin, affidavit means "he (she) has sworn an oath", and an affidavit is always a sworn written document. If it contains a lie, the person making it may be prosecuted. Affidavits are often used in court when it isn't possible for someone to appear in person.
 

Dan54

Phil Kearns (64)
You have missed Sotutu - I'd suggest Sotutu is ahead of Grace - Sotutu is an incumbent and playing well - Grace i'm not sure has done enough to get back in though with playoffs still to come lots can still change with form/injury etc. I would like to see one of Pita Gus or MMT in as another ball carrying loosie as I think in modern test match rugby these are super important. I'd probably take them ahead of Jacoboson - Jacobson got absolutely schooled by Valetini a couple of weeks ago.
I did mate, I knew there was one I missed, and I agree he probably ahead of Grace. I do actually think with Sotutu and Grace we will see the best of them in a year or 2. Jacobson I like look of , but not overly excited, and don't too much notice of one game (when tighties got done) where I agree Valentini was better, I kind of generally thinking on whole season.
 

Dan54

Phil Kearns (64)
To be fair to him, Valetini has schooled everyone he's come up against. Clearly the form 8 in the comp right now.
Yep and behind a pretty dominant pack usually, which make a god combo, good 8 and plenty of front foot ball.
 
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