The High Five: Highlanders vs Lions

Diggercane Roar Guru

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    The British and Irish Lions have lost their second match on the 2017 tour, going down to the Highlanders in a thrilling match played in front of another full house by 23 points to 22.

    This leaves them with a two win-two loss record after four matches.

    Here is my ‘High Five’ from the Highlanders and Lions clash.

    Lions lose momentum?
    It was suggested the Lions needed to win tonight to maintain the momentum within the squad and build confidence heading into the big matches to come against the All Blacks.

    Really?

    These blokes are all professionals and no one wants to lose but it is hard for me to swallow that the guys who played against the Crusaders and didn’t play against the Highlanders would suddenly feel poorly.

    Perhaps they will place themselves under more pressure, knowing they need to win and all that, but there is a clear difference to me now between the top 20 odd versus the rest in this Lions team. The top side has already shown they are a very different proposition and I doubt this loss will do any great damage.

    However, the Maori clash next Saturday does shape as a pivotal match for coach Warren Gatland’s likely shadow Test side.

    Kiwis learn quickly
    The defensive pressure the Lions managed against the Crusaders worked a treat and a repeat was tried again this evening. The Highlanders showed they had been paying attention and managed to negate the Lions press with an exaggerated kicking game, searching for the space in behind the line and finding it often.

    They placed themselves on the front foot through varying their attack in the face of the the Lions’ aggression. They pressured them on numerous occasions at the ruck – perhaps surprising their more seasoned opposition – with their pace and tenacity and certainly troubling the Lions from unstructured play.

    I think the greatest lesson here for the Lions is that what may have worked one week, will not necessarily work the next week. The New Zealand sides will be very quick to pick up on any trends, whether on defence or attack, as the tour unfolds.

    In fairness to the Lions, they certainly showed more variation with ball in hand and outscored the Highlanders. It was three tries to two and the Kiwi side certainly displayed more cohesion on attack this evening.

    Malakai Fekitoa Highlanders Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Adam Binns)

    Awww, REF!
    On paper, it was not hard to imagine the Highlanders being given a royal lesson up front this evening but the reality proved far from the case. They more than held their own, including earning a match-winning penalty against their international opposition which gave them the final one-point margin.

    The common perception down in these parts is that the northern hemisphere sides are always strong at the set piece, the maul etc but is that the reality? Has the New Zealand game dramatically improved its scrummaging?

    I suspect it has more to do with how the scrums are officiated. There have been a few northern hemisphere fans scratching their heads in bewilderment as whistle blowers from either side of the equator came up with some odd decisions.

    There does seem to be a difference in the way the set piece is viewed by referees from either side of the world. This is of course frustrating for all involved. To me, it is another challenge for World Rugby to get control of and gain some level of consistency across the board.

    Stand up you ‘rookies’
    While most eyes were trained upon the Highlanders available All Blacks and how they would perform, it was the ‘lesser’ lights that really stood up and took their opportunity.

    Jackson Hemopo and Dillon Hunt were two players to really shine, while Gareth Evans and Luke Whitelock were prominent throughout the match. Whitelock in particular had a staggering match on defence.

    Liam Coltman reminded the All Black selectors he is still available at hooker while out wide, Richard Buckman further cemented his tag as the most ‘underrated’ player in the New Zealand game. His work rate and skill level are exceptional.

    Waisake Naholo did his chances absolutely no harm with a strong all round game, always threatening with ball in hand but also strong in defence. His ruck work his excellent forcing a turnover at one point and safe under the high ball.

    He has certainly done his chances no harm in being considered for a wing position come the Test series.

    So, when do we fix the roof?
    Mid June in New Zealand, playing at night, is generally not the most pleasant experience for all and sundry. However, there is no doubt the quality of the encounters we see time and time again from Dunedin.

    Of course it may not be practical for every area or affordable, but surely we should all be moving to eventually see such facilities across the board here at home? It just seems such a no brainer.

    So those are my talking points from last night’s Lions match. We witnessed the Highlanders add another chapter to their region’s rich history, a sixth win by an Otago-based side against the touring Lions.

    We all impatiently wait to see what the next match in this intriguing series throws at us this coming Saturday.

    A Rotundity and happy ex hooker who just loves Rugby really, oh and my kids and Kendra of course who lets me watch as much Rugby as I want, mostly. Follow Digby Ross on Twitter @Diggercane.

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    The Crowd Says (187)

    • June 14th 2017 @ 5:56am
      mzilikazi said | June 14th 2017 @ 5:56am | ! Report

      Well done, Highlanders….what a great result for all the squad, and for the good people of Otago, …….and I think Southland too ?

      And to you too, Digger….Always enjoy your blogs, and your great enthusiasm, and positivity. And your stamina is amazing, covering so many games on an average weekend !

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 8:44am
        Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        Absolutely, for all the member Unions.

        Thanks for your kind words.

    • June 14th 2017 @ 6:32am
      moaman said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      Digger;
      Whitelock caught my eye last night….got me thinking he could possibly slot in at 6 if Jerome K was injured?

      Agree wholeheartedly about the rooves.Was disappointed that they didn’t allow for a roof to be added down the track when they built the Caketin.Don’t know how feasible that would have been but playing at night in wet conditions certainly detracts from the spectacle.

      The possibility of them building a 30,000 seater in CHCH will excite some fans but looking into my crystal ball I know that my days of being able to afford to go to a big game live are over.Small and over-priced stadia have become the norm.
      Unfortunately, with our small population building anything bigger with a roof becomes financially toxic. Bit of a conundrum.
      Still fizzing from last night’s game—those Highlanders eh? Have to take your hat off to that sort of display.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 6:43am
        Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

        You’re right about it detracting from the spectacle, but there is just something about rugby in the poring rain that is so pure and right.

        Having roofs would probably hurt the skills of the players longterm too, especially when it came to playing in the northern hemisphere.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 7:10am
          moaman said | June 14th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

          Fionn; You make a good point…but it would only be dry rugby at select stadia and then only at the top level.
          Players’d still learn their trade out in the elements with the plebs!

          • June 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
            Muzzo said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            How right you are moa, as the Landers have proven your point, time & again.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 10:02am
            Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

            Fair point, mate. I think I’m just a Luddite. 😊

          • Roar Guru

            June 14th 2017 @ 10:09am
            taylorman said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            One thing it does is falsely represents relative goalkicking accuracy across the competition.

            If you’re kicking half your kicks in a covered stadium there’s an immediate advantage and it’s no fluke that Sapoaga and Banks have 88 and 84%

            • June 14th 2017 @ 10:37am
              Highlander said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Didn’t seem to help Farrell when it mattered though TM

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 11:14am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                But how stupid was that? To let someone come right in from the bench to kick? I thought that was a big no-no for any team?

              • June 14th 2017 @ 11:27am
                Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                Farrell’s missed a few this series.

                I did love Elliot Daly trying and failing to be Frans Steyn.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 1:43pm
                ClarkeG said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                35m out 15m in.

                I will have Farrell thanks.

            • June 14th 2017 @ 11:30am
              jemainok said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

              Neutral it is the same for scrums and lineouts I have never got why you would change players at what can sometimes be deemed critical moments in the match.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 12:43pm
                mace22 said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                I think the word comes down to sub players 5 min’s before, so a lot of changes are just luck of the draw. Sometimes it’s made at a critical moment but when the coach sent word down it wasn’t at a critical stage.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm
                jemainok said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Agree Mace22. As a fan sometimes it does your head in though.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 1:43pm
                moaman said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                Mace;
                If that’s the case then the team management on the field isn’t ‘playing what’s in front of them’, surely?

            • June 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm
              Cuw said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

              banks has kicked at other places too. i just think he is in great form.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 8:10am
          Kane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          I agree Fionn,

          Rugby is an outdoor sport, put a roof over the spectators if need be but play outside.

          • Roar Guru

            June 14th 2017 @ 8:55am
            Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

            Yeah, fair enough I suppose.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 10:03am
            Jacko said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

            The roof does roll open so have the elements if you want to. Its a no-brainer to me, the rugby played is better and its also about the fans experience. Even Suncorp stadium in Brisbane isnt great for the fans when it rains. particually if its full and some start looking to get out of the rain

            • June 14th 2017 @ 10:45am
              Ouch said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

              “ts a no-brainer to me, the rugby played is better and its also about the fans experience”

              Spot on.

            • June 14th 2017 @ 11:26am
              Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              See, mate, I love the ark wrestle of a match in a pouring rain as a player.

              As a fan, I love it too, and there is just something so right about a July SR match in Canberra watching the Brumbies play some team in the freezing cold and pouring rain.

              I just think it reflects the game’s history as coming from the British and Irish isles 😜

              • June 14th 2017 @ 1:38pm
                woodart said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                I dont know how many people on here have sat outside on a winters night in the sth island. trust me, enclosed stadiums are the way to go. christchurch is going to get one. its not only rugby that uses them.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 2:28pm
                Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                I’ve been outside in Ireland. It’s rough, but I quite like the feeling.

                I can’t imagine Christchurch would be as cold as Ireland?

              • June 14th 2017 @ 3:22pm
                Jemain Okinga said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                You haven’t felt a Southerly then Fionn, there is no escaping that wind it sends ice to your bones no matter how many layers you have on.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 2:38pm
                Ralph said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                A dusting of snow every few years with up to an 80 kilometre cold wind. That’s the extreme end of course, but out in the open it can pretty cold with wind chill. Especially if you a fan just sitting in a stand.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 3:27pm
                Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

                Sounds a lot like Ireland, Jemain. Again, as I understand it the weather is generally less bearable in an Irish winter than a NZ one.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 3:28pm
                Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Well my man Fionn, Ireland is a great example as I am pretty sure it was BOD that commented after a test match in Wellington, late 2000s maybe, anyhow it was shocking conditions, and the wind chill factor combined with the cold and wet, unpleasant and I believe he may have remarked that it was the worst conditions he had played in.

                Come and sit in Wellington when that wind factor takes its part in Wellington and I am sure you will see the value of an indoor facility, as Jemain has alluded too.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 3:30pm
                Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                I am sure Ireland would benefit as well to be fair Fionn, Murray Kinsella is an Irish sportswriter I follow on Twitter who observed from Dunedin that Ireland could certainly benefit from similar set ups back home.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 3:33pm
                Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                Oh, I’m sure it’s coming, Digger. As I said, I am just a Luddite at heart!

                Interesting to hear re. BOD, I hadn’t heard that.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 6:51pm
                leftfield said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                I’m a sucker for facts :

                Dublin in January, daily mean: 6.9, average low 3.9

                Christchurch in July daily mean 5.7, average low 0.7

                All temps in C, data from wikipedia (so it must be true, right?!).

                There’s not a lot in it but christchurch would appear slightly cooler.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 9:57pm
                Fionn said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                Leftfield, temperature is sort of irrelevant. The winds off of the Atlantic are super cold in Ireland, and it is always super humid and windy and wet.

                Also, Dublin is much warmer than west Ireland.

                A winter in Dublin, for example, is much worse than a Budapest winter, despite Budapest being much, much colder.

                Regardless, it sounds like both are relatively similarly chilly.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 8:10pm
                James in NZ said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

                Just anecdotal.
                http://www.rugbydump.com/2008/06/548/all-blacks-defeat-ireland-in-freezing-conditions

                I remember Brian O’Driscoll citing this 2008 game in Welly as one of the coldest he’s ever played in. Players breathing steam instantly turning to icicles.
                A good game to watch from the comfort of home.

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm
          Jokerman said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          The All Blacks don’t wanna be too pretty and only play under a roof! One roof is innovative and NZ would only want to move ahead if it happened overseas, otherwise playing under a roof all year and then heading to England in the rain would put the NZ teams at a disadvantage.

          You don’t want your elements to be too easy or it will show in your display in hard conditions.

          The All Blacks are a beast! And the machine is going to clean up the lions, and then finish the Wallabies a little later.

          The Lions have won two games and their latest win against the Crucaders the ref dictated the result. A standard ref and I would have picked the Lions by two or for the Crucaders to win at the death. It’s still 3-0 to the All Blacks. The first 40 will be tight in the first test match, and then the All Blacks will start to flow, and then they can win in a canter.

          The momentum for the Lions was stopped by the ‘Landers. They lost the pressure points at vital times. The mood would be deflated. The Lions are not two seperate teams, they are linked, and the mood can overflow. Reality came back to the Lions, it simply showed how hard it can be in NZ – you may win a few battles during the match but then NZ can strike from nowhere and the game is lost. Bitten by some southerly gust, and there is more to come.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 8:49am
        Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Thanks Moa and yes, of course finances and so on should be looked at but it seems the good folk down south seem to be utilising theirs quite well, and not just for sports I believe.

        Whitelock was very good, his name didn’t feature much when options considering a potential replacement for Read were touted surprisingly, he wouldn’t let anyone down.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 10:04am
        richard said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        moaman,I too rate Luke.He has been consistently good all year.Frankly,I would have gone for him ahead of Akira Iaone in the AB squad.Can cover both 6/8.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 10:50am
        P2R2 said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        This is my suggestion….why not build a NATIONAL STADIUM 70-80seater in Auckland….it has the population base to fill it. They can then play over a 3-test series….2 at the STADIUM and the other on a rotational basis from Dunedin, CHCH and the Caketin….that way everyone gets to see a touring team albeit not when it is in your home town….NZ can’t afford to have 4 competing stadiums of various capacities from 25K (DUN, CH and WN to 62K (Eden Park with extra seating)….I mean that would work especially if it is built downtown and connected to the rail-link…

        • June 14th 2017 @ 1:33pm
          Kane said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          Why not build a 70-80k national stadium?

          Because we don’t have the population base to fill it regularly.

          Think England, I spoke to some of their supporters last night and 3hours on a train is about as far as you can get from Twickers in England. They play all of their tests there. Every single one of them.

          I think since its been opened England have played at home twice not at Twickers.

          it’s a bit different having 6-7 tests a year in a stadium than only having two or three.

          The cost of building it for how little it will be full doesn’t work.

          The Dunedin stadium could have been bigger, for what? The once a year they hosts tests.

          They don’t even have all the stands up for the super games.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 2:49pm
        Cuw said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        @ moaman

        Luke Whitelock is an 8 . he was under 20 8 in 2011 and skipper of the best ever team.

        he shud be ahead of Squire to replace Read imo. becoz this season he has been the best 8 among all nz teams.

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2017 @ 6:54am
      Carlos the Argie said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Thanks, Digger!

      Now, the match will be a perfect evening view. Dinner and then some rugby with your overture to be able to watch it calmly. Being in California mean everything is very late….

    • June 14th 2017 @ 7:25am
      Zero Gain said | June 14th 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      Three tries to two. After the comments about the Lions not being able to score tries, who really won? A late penalty would have given the game to the Lions and deservedly so. Lucky, young Highlanders.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 8:54am
        WQ said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Hahahaha of course the Highlanders were lucky, bit like the Blues really…..

      • June 14th 2017 @ 8:55am
        rebel said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        True, if the Lions kicked a late penalty they would have had more points and deserved their victory. Who really won? Well it was the team with the most points at the end.
        The lack of tries up untill now was definitely a ‘Work on’ as Warburton put it as they saw it as a concern. Glad you share the same concerns as the Lions squad, you really do have your finger on the pulse and not fishing at all.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 8:57am
        Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        The Lions attack certainly seemed more enthusiastic last night Zero.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 9:59am
        Muzzo said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Can you please explain, with your Zero Gain comment?? Like lucky????? Did you even watch the game????

        • June 14th 2017 @ 11:42am
          Phil said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

          Muzzo,you should know better than to expect more from ZG.Well done Highlanders.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 12:35pm
          Akari said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

          Of course he did, Muzzo, and saw Zero Gain for the Lions and so the Landers were lucky.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 10:07am
        Jacko said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Zero it was all that strangling going on…The Highlanders played so smart…If only YOUR Lions had taken an extra penalty eh. 2 wins 2 losses…Not so great

        • Roar Rookie

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:30am
          piru said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          And they haven’t played a test side yet

          • June 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm
            moaman said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            Even though Warburton called it a “Test”…..I like him btw.Comes across as very level-headed and decent.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 14th 2017 @ 2:06pm
              piru said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

              I like Warburton too – seems a good bloke.
              Actually most of the Lions do

        • June 15th 2017 @ 7:09am
          Misha said | June 15th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

          Lost to the two worst Super Rugby sides so far!

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 10:11am
        taylorman said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        So who really won the Super final in 14? Zero? Lucky Tahs perhaps?

      • June 14th 2017 @ 10:51am
        P2R2 said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        you play to win your luck ZG….no use pontificating about what may have happened….Landers deserved the WIN

      • Roar Rookie

        June 14th 2017 @ 10:56am
        piru said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        After the comments about the Lions not being able to score tries, who really won?

        The Highlanders won, please see the score

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:20am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          In the end, the team that scores more points wins. It is beyond a statistical observation. It is a certainty!

          🙂

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm
        Jokerman said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        The ‘Landers won, Zero I think you’re getting mixed up with soccer! The score was not 3-2.

        The Lions are 2 from 4 and a few are going, ‘watch out!!’ The Lions are just where I would expect them…heading nicely into a 0-3 defeat !!

        • June 14th 2017 @ 6:46pm
          Zero Gain said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

          You of all people should know JMan, it’s all about how you grow, what you learn, nothing as artificial as a ‘score’.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 1:52pm
        ClarkeG said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

        Zero as I said to you just the other day…you really need to pay closer attention.

    • June 14th 2017 @ 7:32am
      mad mick said | June 14th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      A great match again Digger. The Lions were not able to find a weakness in the Highlanders to concentrate on. The last ditch penalty from 58m showed a lack of composure and a lack of confidence in their set piece.

      Jared Payne is no solution at full back. he has had some good games in that role at times but he drops some crucial high balls. If you watch closely he closes his eyes. I have noticed this before with Jared, unlike Corey Jane who keeps his eyes wide open until the catch is completed.

      Fekitoa while aggressive with and without the ball once again showed why the AB selectors are off him. Early in the game all he had to do was run straight and pass yet he ran a 45* angle and crowded his support, so doing blowing a try. He has not matured and is not reliable, not unlike Ihia West. Both brilliant players let both lack decision making capability.

      Waisake showing some excellent form. Most of the Highlanders were up for the match none more so that Buckman.

      Waisake’s try should not have been awarded, I doubt Henshaw would have made the tackle but he would probably have forced Waisake to run a different line.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 9:16am
        Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        Thanks mad mick.

        I was a tad surprised the Lions opted for the big shot, especially when you consider their lineout was working perfectly fine. All fine in hindsight I guess. I do wonder that if they knew the specific mark before they opted for the penalty whether they would have still gone for it?

        Mentioned to OB below, my impression is that Fekitoa needs to relax a bit, just try’s to hard at times, if that makes sense.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 9:27am
          mad mick said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          You can see Fekitoa’s impatience in his game and its one of his problems. He is in good company though not being selected eg Moala, Tamanivalu, and especially Aso. The first two have run hot and cold but not Aso. I think they selected the wrong Hurricane.

          • Roar Guru

            June 14th 2017 @ 9:35am
            Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            I was more surprised that if they were going to have a punt they would have picked Goodhue to be honest but these guys seem to know what they are about, will be interested to see how Ngani shapes up being involved in the set up.

            In the end, there were always going to be a few who were dreadfully unlucky.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 10:19am
            Jacko said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            MM I thought Proctor had outshined Laumapi and Aso until he was injured. 100% on Feketoa, He seems incapable of using his skillset to set up others. Does not quite have the passing game needed and tends to make some bad reads in attack. Probably make a good league player where he thinks less and just plays his role no matter what is in front of him.
            I do rate Laumapi but he had a bad game against the Chiefs and that was the only S18 game so it got a lot of attention, however I also remember lots of people saying similar things about Nonu many years ago. Laumapi is young with plenty going for him and being in the All Black environment wont do him him any harm and it certainly wont make him worse. I thought J Barrett was very lucky to be selected ahead of McKenzie but maybe size does matter after all

        • Roar Guru

          June 14th 2017 @ 11:22am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          I heard some gossip yesterday about Feki and why he is not in the AB’s squad, from some young club rugby guys – in the same age as Feki – from CHCH (who all have been studying in Dunedin) yesterday.

          In so many words they explained that he is not smart at all, actually, they say he is almost stupid and they claimed this widely known among rugby people on the South Island.

          If some people here on the Roar can confirm this, I will spill the beans and say what they said in detail about him, but since I don’t know for sure, I keep those stories to myself for now.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 11:46am
            jemainok said | June 14th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Neutral that is rubbish. He wasn’t left out of the AB’s because of his intellect, why would you believe that?

            • Roar Guru

              June 14th 2017 @ 1:15pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

              Hey J

              I did not say I believe that.

              I am asking people who hopefully can explain if it is true or not.

              • June 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm
                jemainok said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                Neutral I have heard a lot of people say similar things about Islanders myself included, but a lot of times they are based on the way you sound and have very little to do with intellectual understanding. I wouldn’t believe rumours if I was you. They may have some truth to them but they are usually not the full story.

              • Roar Guru

                June 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                I am no expert on “race”, but I would say one of the guys who said this, had Island heritage. And to be fair, the other guys did not come through as racist at all. Genuine AB’s fans, who played themselves, on holiday in Thailand. Maybe a few drinks too many…

              • June 14th 2017 @ 3:36pm
                Jemain Okinga said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

                It was more perceptions than a race thing Nuetral. But people talk some trash when there drunk. I just think some things you don’t really need to write.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm
            mace22 said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

            I heard this said about christian Cullen, great rugby player but not so bright. Didn’t believe about him don’t believe it about fekitoa.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 14th 2017 @ 5:49pm
              Shane D said | June 14th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

              That story about Cullen being a little light in the brains department got its start when he first made it into the AB’s. He was a kid & wouldn’t say boo to goose. The older boys would rib him & he would stand there not knowing if they were serious or not so they decided he was thick!

              • June 14th 2017 @ 6:55pm
                leftfield said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Christian Cullen seems to be doing alright post rugby, so he is either not as silly as people seemed to thin or he has good luck.

            • June 15th 2017 @ 7:12am
              Misha said | June 15th 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

              Yep – its common when people are talented but others try to take them down in some way because they are jealous. Fairly sad really…

          • Roar Rookie

            June 14th 2017 @ 1:55pm
            Shane D said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            Neutral, I have heard the exact opposite about Fekitoa from guys who have played with him at the Highlanders & in Auckland. They have spoken about his Rugby intellect & ability to dissect opposition attacking moves.
            One of them pointed out that you don’t play both midfield roles for the AB’s if you have not got some serious nous about you!

            • Roar Guru

              June 14th 2017 @ 1:59pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              Thanks for that Shane D.
              So now we not only know that it was – jealous maybe – gossip, we also know that credible people say it is the exact opposite.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 14th 2017 @ 2:22pm
                Shane D said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

                The thing about Fekitoa is he is a very shy bloke & doesnt like to speak up much around people he doesnt know well. Perhaps that has been interpreted incorrectly.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm
            ClarkeG said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

            I’d rather you did keep it to yourself.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm
            Quin said | June 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            Where do you get this nonsense from?
            Seriously?

          • June 14th 2017 @ 5:53pm
            Kiwi in Europe said | June 14th 2017 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

            Fekitoa went to the same high school as Jonah who also didn’t possess a high intellect however Jonah didn’t seem to have any problems being selected for the AB’s.

          • June 15th 2017 @ 11:19am
            Kane said | June 15th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            Neutral,

            A high ranking Highlanders official once said he couldn’t pass a concussion test any day of the week (after he was taken off against the Hurricanes)

            Obviously it isn’t true as he passed one on Tuesday against the Lions but yes he certainly isn’t known for his intellect

      • June 14th 2017 @ 10:52am
        P2R2 said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Fekitoa ruined a certain try – he should have made the pass much earlier and it would have been in the corner but he ran to close to Li and it was lost….

        • June 14th 2017 @ 12:57pm
          mace22 said | June 14th 2017 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

          Actually Li wanted him to cut in but fekitoa kept running straight. He has made these tiny errors in every game he’s played for the ABs.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 1:53pm
          moaman said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          I watched that a couple of times and I don’t see how he could have straightened.He had a defender breathing down his neck and crowding him sideways.
          Since he wasn’t square on to begin with he couldn’t do anything else and probably needed someone to cut back for him.

          • June 14th 2017 @ 2:09pm
            ClarkeG said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            He needed to pass early then support. But I did make this decision sitting in front of the TV.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 2:06pm
          ClarkeG said | June 14th 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

          Not a certain try but certainly a great opportunity.

    • June 14th 2017 @ 7:45am
      Quin said | June 14th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Digger you of all people should know this is NOT an Otago side!
      This is a regional team that also includes Southland.

      • June 14th 2017 @ 8:11am
        Kane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        And North Otago.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Diggercane said | June 14th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Yes, quite embarrassing that Quinn, it has been edited as it should read ‘Otago based’

        I will have it changed.

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