Jim Lenehan (48)
I was never predicting zero wins and show me where I said that. I simply stated I see them finishing behind kiwi sides and yeh 2 wins does not mean they finish above 5th best kiwi side ranking wise. I said I see marginal improvement for reds but more significant improvement for brumbies ie brumbies could finish in top 4. If you think reds are going to finish in top 4 then state that, as that is where sure would differ on opinion. That said it does not mean reds don’t have a chance to finish top 4 it is just that I don’t think it will happen, unless see some more dramatic improvements in some players.
You said the Reds would "challenge to even beat the 5th best kiwi side", I read that as struggle to beat them in a match, unless you just meant on the table?
I think you may be disappointed. As I reckon brumbies can challenge to be in best of the best, but reckon reds will challenge to even beat 5th best kiwi side. I just can’t see reds, rebels and tahs making too 8 personally. But on tahs I certainly expect them to be more competitive this year and hence can’t expect too much short term.
Fair enough if that's were you see them ending up on the table, I just don't see how you can call that any sort of improvement for the Reds. What I was asking though was for why you thought that about the Reds - I certainly have a bias that favors them, so it's good to get outside opinions to temper that. Unfortunately (for me at least) you detailed why you think the Brumbies will improve in response, not why you think the Reds will stay at relatively the same level as they were this year.
Personally I do see them getting ahead of at least one kiwi side on the table - I think they stand to be improved almost across the board, hooker being the only real drop with BPA gone, even then if Mafi can stay fit next season it will go along way to offsetting that, given the amount of time he spent out this year. Generally though it's a lot of young players still in the early stages of an upward trajectory with a hell of a lot of understanding building - the core of this team has 3+ years and 30-50 caps together now and so much stability in the squad going into next year. Even without major improvement the draw will be significantly kinder to them next year - no 6 day turn around into an away game against a rested opposition immediately after winning a final, not playing all 5 kiwi teams in a row.