The Wrap: Rugby Championship ends with a bang

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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    It is the modern way that in big matches, across all codes, the winning team rushes to embrace each other at match end, to share in the spoils of victory, leaving the handshakes and acknowledgement of the opposition to later.

    But when referee Jerome Garces blew time on this Cape Town epic, the All Blacks stood their ground, through a combination of exhaustion and respect, and shared the moment with their foe.

    Here was Test rugby laid bare. Gladiatorial, imperfect and beautiful.

    To a person, rugby people around the world must have felt equal measures relief and delight that here was South Africa reclassified to the heavyweight division after their featherweight display in Albany. This was ‘old school’ All Blacks versus Springboks rugby, something the international game badly wants and needs.

    After two recent draws with Australia felt like missed opportunities, the Springboks must have felt that a draw here would have been fair reward, although they will know that the deciding moment – Damian de Allende’s foolish late charge on Lima Sopoaga – was a self-inflicted wound.

    No matter that de Allende’s red card was incomprehensible (no contact to Sopoga’s head was made), his action was dumb and penalisable, and the goal that resulted cost them the match.

    The big Springbok pack ran with purpose, smashing through and over tacklers and competing hard at the breakdown. But it didn’t stop there, a thrilling, early All Blacks counter attack, one that would have resulted in a try in Albany, was shut down when defenders worked back in numbers to deny Aaron Smith.

    It took thirty minutes to break the deadlock, with a try as ugly as the game was beautiful; Ryan Crotty ruled to have forced the ball with what TMO Rowan Kitt described as “his waist.”

    Even after Rieko Ioane’s runaway in the second half, the Springboks kept coming back; Handre Pollard a telling injection, opening up a try for Jean-Luc du Preez. And again at the end, a Malcolm Marx try in response to the Sopoaga penalty and a slashing Damien McKenzie run and score.

    Courtnall Skosan South Africa Rugby Union Springboks 2017

    (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

    Doubters wondering when McKenzie was going to show that he is fully up to Test level got their answer. Here were strong signals in this match of increasing maturity smoothing away some of the rough edges, without compromising any of McKenzie’s pace or talent.

    The other star turns were in the low numbers, wearing green. Steven Kitshoff couldn’t hide on a rugby pitch even if he wanted to and, along with hooker Malcolm Marx, put in a massive shift. 77 minutes for a front rower – plus ten minutes overtime at the end of the first half – is unheard of these days.

    Marx went one better, seeing out the whole match, and credit to coach Allister Coetzee for recognising that when a player with a point to prove is scoring tries, running the ball up hard and dominating the breakdown contest, it is far better to throw out any pre-ordained substitute plan and just let the man get on with business.

    Amazingly, Marx didn’t even win ‘best turnover of the match’. Have another look at Matt Todd, in the 61st minute, swoop in, nab the ball clean as a whistle, and kick-start another New Zealand attack, like a sharp-eyed seagull claiming a stray chip.

    Post-match, Keiran Read laughed off the bizarre ending to the first half as a clash of egos, both sides refusing to blink and end proceedings. Coach Steve Hansen was less amused – having already been forced to his bench twice, the extra ten minutes only served to fatigue his players and foul up his substitute strategy.

    It is one of those wonderful anomalies that sport throws up that will ensure that the All Blacks, and their young players in particular, take far more benefit from squeezing a one point win in this match, than from their eight-try romp in Albany – the spoils of success are so much sweeter when that success is earned the hard way.

    South Africa too will take enormous pride and self-belief from this performance. Their challenge of course is to bottle that, and ensure that this performance level is their new norm, not just one dragged out for special, backs-to-the-wall occasions.

    The Australia versus Argentine match was always going to struggle to measure up in quality and intensity, nevertheless a worthy encounter ensued, before the Wallabies once again finished too strongly for the Pumas, taking the match 37-20.

    The first half was full of thrust and counter thrust. Marike Koroibete stumbling for the line but keeping his feet to score, Matias Alemanno crashing through Scott Sio and Reece Hodge to plant the ball against the goalpost, Will Genia finding Hodge with no defender within 20 metres of him – and the Pumas denied a late try due to a little fumble by Agustin Creevy 50 metres upfield.

    Marika Koroibete Australia Rugby Union Wallabies 2017

    (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

    The Pumas opened the Wallabies up a few times and, with more clinical finishing, could have taken a handy lead into the break, but too many times the ball carrier ran into contact instead of finding teammates who were running in support.

    The game was still in the balance in the third quarter, after the Wallabies defence got caught out drifting across on Santiago Gonzales Iglasias – Koroibete relying on Rob Simmons to mop up inside him, not realising that Simmons was gassed after a massive scrum earlier in the same movement.

    The final quarter has often proven Argentina’s nemesis and so it was again, when the Wallabies conjured a nice set-piece play for Genia’s try, and Marcos Kremer found the naughty chair after a lifting tackle, before Hodge galloped away to complete the scoring.

    The Pumas will be disappointed at the scoreline, and their position rooted to the bottom of the ladder, but this was a better performance from them. They were more threatening in attack and more disciplined in defence, with danger-man Israel Folau not only well contained, but now having gone two consecutive matches without pulling an opponent’s hair.

    Flanker Jack Dempsey worked hard right from the get-go, in what was by far his best game as a Wallaby. 16 carries and eight tackles topped both the Wallabies attacking and defensive stats list. Ditto Hodge, whose double was a fine reward for his best Test match.

    Considering where the Wallabies were after 50 minutes in Sydney, this result (and second place in the Rugby Championship) represents encouraging improvement and fair reward for effort. It also provides a steadily strengthening platform – let’s say a solid camp one above base camp – from which to launch a realistic attempt on the summit in Brisbane in two weeks’ time.

    That upcoming Test-match might mean nothing in terms of silverware, but given the pummeling the All Blacks just received in Cape Town, represents a great opportunity for the Wallabies to re-measure, and perhaps nab one of their periodic victories.

    Despite the All Blacks once again securing the title early, this has been a strong version of the Rugby Championship, and there is a sense that there is plenty of fan appetite for more in Brisbane.

    Israel Folau Australia Rugby Union Wallabies 2017

    (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    Frankston Oval yesterday was yet also a massive step down from Newlands, but the NRC match between the Melbourne Rising and the Canberra Vikings illustrated much of what is right and wrong about the NRC.

    The Vikings have the strongest relationship to a Super Rugby franchise, with a number of the side being Brumbies regulars. The way the team played, their style and the manner in which they were very well organised, all smacked of the Brumbies; factors which will serve the franchise well next season and beyond as more promising young players are inducted into the Brumbies way of doing things.

    All of which highlights the piece that the ARU hasn’t got right with the NRC. A similar situation applied with the Perth Spirit feeding into the Western Force but… ok, let’s not go there today. And, once the Rebels get a full year under their belt without such disruption, and solidify their playing list, it will properly apply to them as well.

    But with two NRC sides each in Queensland and New South Wales, there isn’t the same clarity or clean vertical integration that allows fans to more logically and easily follow their favourite players from club rugby through to the big time.

    The result is that for the casual fan, or potentially interested clubman, this makes the NRC much harder to engage with. It is too hard for fans to inherently know who they should be rooting for, and to develop tribalism.

    Fiji Drua vs Melbourne Rising

    (Image: Kevin Juggins)

    It might be a crude measure but it emphasises the point – has there ever been a fight in the NRC?

    New Zealand of course has a set up where multiple provinces feed into five Super Rugby franchises, but the difference is that these are long established, historical provinces – in some cases over 130 years – not entirely new, semi-professional constructs. Everybody instinctively knows where they stand.

    Of course nobody can build 130 plus years of history in five minutes, but for the NRC to take the next step forward, along with the ARU finding some money to market it properly, it needs to cement a Vikings/Brumbies type of pathway across all of the competition.

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit www.geoffparkes.com. Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (383)

    • Roar Guru

      October 9th 2017 @ 5:36am
      Kia Kaha said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:36am | ! Report

      Thanks Geoff.

      I indeed hope that wasn’t just a one-off performance and they can bring that type of game to Australia et al on a consistent basis. The pack is a great foundation to build on but there are issues in the backs that need remedying.

      The teams will find some stern opposition up north and it’s important that the teams bring their best game to gain confidence for the upcoming season. No team, including the All Blacks, should be satisfied with where they’re at.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 6:48am
        Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:48am | ! Report

        The Springboks’ forward pack deserve better backs. South Africa’s 1-8 are so good (even with the injuries to their props) but 9-15 are just so average.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 8:48am
          jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Yeah 9 and 15 especially – do not rate them.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 10:10am
          Ouch said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          The Bok number 9 has a worse pass than Nick Phipps

          • October 9th 2017 @ 10:54am
            Bfc said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            “ouch” indeed…that bad…really?

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 6:58am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

        Hi KK

        Yes they badly need some quality at 9/10.

        If it’s a quota issue I’d play Paige at 9 and Pollard at 10 which is the reverse of what they currently have, but would at least get their backline aligned a bit straighter.

        Mapimpi must be close to getting an opportunity, he offers everything Rhule did in attack while at least making an effort in defence.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 7:47am
          Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          Yes, Pollard and Serfontein could be the only white backline starters; could introduce L. Am at 13, W. Gelant at 15, and replace the lightweight C. Skosan with Mapimpi. On the bench, include C. Bosch and D. Willemse to keep the powers happy. In the forwards, we’ll be fine.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 11:05am
            PeterK said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Pollard is so much better than Jantjies

            I have been very wrong about Jantjies, he is a significantly a poorer player than Foley.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 12:56pm
              Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              Jantjies is at his best when playing under Ackermann. The same thing occurred last year, he was the form South African fly-half during the SR season, but was then given back to Ackermann as a man down on confidence after the internationals.

              I just feel like Coetzee’s coaching style does not suit him for whatever reason.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 1:34pm
                Suzy Poison said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

                100% true. You will remember when Coetzee was coaching at the Stomers, Jantjies joined the Stormers in 2013 and Jantjies just flopped. He was down on confidence and just left to return to Lions. Then Akkerman built up his confidence again.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 1:41pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                I thought that Jantjies and Cronje were exposed big time in The Super Rugby final against the Crusaders. As soon as Faf de Clerk came on the game changed completely.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:50pm
                taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                He was, and the same vs the Hurricanes the previous year. He went well in some S rugby but not the big ones.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 3:47pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

                ” Jantjies is at his best when playing under Ackermann. The same thing occurred last year, he was the form South African fly-half during the SR season, but was then given back to Ackermann as a man down on confidence after the internationals. ”

                NOPE. He has the cricket disease – choking.

                Jantjies is not a big-match player. happens all the time .

                when it matters he chokes – that is the reality !!!

            • October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm
              Akari said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

              Given a choice, I’d rather have Jantjies than Foley, PK. Agree about Pollard.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:51pm
                taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

                Foley was much better in both matches though. In fact hes the biggest reason SA didnt win either the two draws or this one, from a bok perspective Id say.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 3:04pm
                Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                Elton is great when up 30-3, feeding Rohan and Vorster …

                Terrible in a tight match …

              • October 9th 2017 @ 6:17pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

                nah , of those 2 Foley has the better temperament at big games.

                as i said above Jantjies chokes when it matters. forget tests – super rugger finals is a good example.

                wonder if that haircut affects his center of gravity 😛

          • October 9th 2017 @ 11:44pm
            Rebellion said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

            No Jesse Kriel in your Bokke backline ?????
            He’s your best back by a country mile – reminds me of Jason Little.
            You need a new half combination and a fullback
            Pollard needs to be the 10 for sure

            • Roar Guru

              October 10th 2017 @ 12:01am
              biltongbek said | October 10th 2017 @ 12:01am | ! Report

              He has no sense of defensive organisation, none whatso ever

        • October 9th 2017 @ 7:58am
          Riccardo said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

          Pollard has to start. Much more robust and direct. Thought Cronje’s service was solid but slow, especially when the Bok pack was creating space.

          Equally though Fionn, Serfontein was outstanding and Coetzee at the back redeemed himself with flying colours.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 11:46am
          ethan said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          I believe Jantjies is getting his time in the sun largely because Pollard has been out injured for so long – but now he’s well and truly back in the mix, a 9/10 of Paige and Pollard looks a much better prospect. I never rated Cronje, or even Jantjies, that much.

          Would love to see Pollard get a decent run without injuries, could become one of the very best.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 4:38pm
          The Saint said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

          Nice write-up Geoff. Thanks.
          I’m so glad SA played well. Rugby needs them to be strong.
          Just the 9-10 combo needs to be better

    • Roar Guru

      October 9th 2017 @ 6:27am
      Armand van Zyl said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      I think Eben Etzebeth deserved a special mention in your article as well. I haven’t seen him play like that in test rugby in years, and haven’t seen him play like that against anyone since the Stormers played the Crusaders this year.

      On Saturday he showed what he was capable of, smashing through Scott Barrett, Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith (quite a number of times). Seeing a player dominate collisions like that against powerful All Black players is unheard of. His defence was aggressive and his lineouts were faultless, nabbing one from the All Blacks as well – the only lineout steal in the game.

      With Brodie Retallick and Maro Itoje the premier locks in the world recently, it was good seeing Etzebeth make his presence known.

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 7:01am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:01am | ! Report

        Hi Armand. Yes he was very good. Channeled the red mist into a really aggressive but controlled performance.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 7:47am
          Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          Broke 5 tackles; rare for a lock.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 2:39pm
            Dave said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            Harry, thoughts on how he leads with his forearm into the tackle?

            • October 9th 2017 @ 2:52pm
              Jerry said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

              It’s risky as he could cop a card like Bismarck’s second yellow a few years ago, but there’s nothing wrong with it if he keeps it below the collarbone (which I think he did on the weekend).

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 3:06pm
              Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

              His technique of carrying is brilliant. His forearms are big!

            • October 9th 2017 @ 3:53pm
              Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

              it will work fine , until he hits a a tackler above shoulders.

              there are a lot of anomalies in Rugger Laws that seem to contradict on different issues.

              for eg. in Lions tour , when Vunipola dived on prone Barrett with a cocked forearm , nothing was said but DDA copped a red ( rubbish) card when his forearm connected above shoulder of Sopoaga.

              now u consider which is more dangeros ???

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

                when Vunipola dived on prone Barrett with a cocked forearm , nothing was said

                Was nothing said Cuw? I remember a huge outcry. Maybe some of that was due to feelings were heated and sour grapes, but that nothing was said is not how I remember it.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:45pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                when i said nothing said – i mean the refs and suits.

                what u and i say – no one gives too hoots.

                if the powers that be want to fly this ” player safety” flag , then they need to do hell of a lot more by actions.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 5:13pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Ahh, sorry Cuw.

                And you are right.

                Coming from football background I have been delusionalized about refereeing standards in the beautiful game, and it was one big reason why started to like rugby so much.

                But lately, I think the overall standards in football is much higher and all the work that they have put in starting to pay off.

                The main reason for this change was they acknowledged that there was a huge problem, something rugby is yet to do. The sport went pro over 20 years ago, still so much is on an amateur level.

                And when the lawmakers in football change any rules, 99 percent of the time it actually improves the game and is easy to understand for players, refs, and fans.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 6:28pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

                footy reffing is good , the issues are only becoz of perception.

                sometimes refs see a tackle and give card or penalty – then it turns out to be a dive.

                but then u need to be either superman or Steve Austin to notice such minute things at speed.

                imo they get the foul plays right most of the time.

                its harder in rugger with so many body parts involved. the rubbish part is the TMO comes up with some silly things rather than noticing the actual dangeros things at times.

                the Scott Barret fly-in , i thought was dangeros and merited a penalty , i thought. but everyone ignored it.

                the Lavanini card in last game was rubbish i thought. he hit SBW with his pecs . if anyone was in danger , it would be Lavanini – the chance of tearing a pec muscle.

                somehow danger seems to be a hard thing to define or judge.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm
                ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

                Yes. If he keeps it close to his body he will be ok but if he does a du Plessis like Jerry said above then he at some point will knock a tacklers teeth out.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:59pm
                Jerry said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

                Vunipola got a yellow card, hardly nothing.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

            Two-minute highlight reel from this weekend with Eben. The wow factor is high!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6SEy0UUb-4

            • October 10th 2017 @ 7:45pm
              The Slow Eater said | October 10th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

              Great stuff. Thanks for sharing!

      • October 9th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Dave said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Didn’t Tuipulotu steel a Bok throw?

        • Columnist

          October 9th 2017 @ 10:19am
          Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          He did Dave. Great to see him back up to this level too.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 3:55pm
            Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

            he is better than Scott Barrett , its just that injuries and other personal issued had stalled his rise.

            he is the so called “power lock” nz have been looking for since Thorn retired.

            many a time he held up guys at tackles.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 4:42pm
        Taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        Yes Eben was fantastic Armand, right up there with Matfield with that petformance, the blocks are certainly there, they just need the cement to hold it altogether.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 6:33am
      moaman said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Once again Geoff we see the spectre of exhaustion lurking near the sidelines as the players lurch towards another meaningless Bledisloe clash and an EOYT that will culminate a very, very long season.
      Will we see the ABs crawl over the finish line again in November?

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 6:53am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

        Hi Moa

        Hansen has spoken a fair bit about managing the players’ workload better this year and avoiding those end of year blues. There are a few players who have missed some rugby at various stages of the year so maybe that will help, but yeah, this game would have taken a fair bit out and potentially makes them vulnerable in Brisbane – which we’ve seen before.

        “Meaningless” is a double edged sword. In terms of the match itself, yes, but in terms of providing the ARU with some much needed $, then it’s very important.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 8:50am
          jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          Morale too. Dead rubber or not, a win would do wonders for the Wallabies and their fans.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 3:56pm
        double agent said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

        If they want to get paid the big dollars they have to earn it.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 6:40am
      Misha said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      There was a forearm to Sopoga’s head – hence the contact to the head – hence the mandatory red card – yes late yes contact to head – so yes a must apply red card under the current laws…

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 6:47am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:47am | ! Report

        But did he actually hit him in the head Misha?
        Near the head, it looked like to me. Which isn’t the same thing.

        In terms of the match it was inconsequential. YC or RC has the same effect with 4 minutes left. In fact no card at all would have had the same effect, it was the penalty and the 3 points that was crucial.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 8:39am
          Carlos the Argie said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          “Near the head”?

          Lezana was out cold with a shoulder to the head that everyone saw except Raynal and the TMO. Even Peyper said it to them. Well done Jaco!

          • October 9th 2017 @ 9:01am
            Reverse Wheel said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            That’s simply not true, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that tackle. It should have taken 1 look to turf it out. A strong front on tackle with arms wrapped, Lezana was injured by the whiplash of the contact.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 1:50pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

              That tackle reminded me of Sane Cane’s tackle on Sean O’Brien in Dublin last year. Don’t remember what the citing board said exactly back then, but they were clear about it did not merit a red card (but did they say it should have been a yellow card? I don’t remember).
              The rules have changed since then but there has been no citing – me knowingly – so I guess Koroibete’s tackle was fine.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm
                ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                Cane’s tackle on Henshaw I think you mean?

                The incident was found to be accidental and thus was not foul play.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:32pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                Ah yes, Henshaw. Thanks for clearing that CG.

                The line “just one of these things that happen in rugby” is an overused excuse, but has merit in both these events I reckon.

          • Columnist

            October 9th 2017 @ 9:10am
            Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            You’re talking about a different incident in a different game Carlos.

            Lezana was definitely hit in the head with a shoulder. On one hand it was clearly done without intent, and Lezana did fall into it a bit – which is where Reynal and the TMO were coming from.

            But on the other hand the onus is on the tackler not to make high contact – which is where Peyper was coming from. On that basis there was a strong case for a YC.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 9:37am
              Carlos the Argie said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

              I know, I am just commenting on the subjective issue of “near the head”.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 10:38am
              PeterK said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

              the onus is on the tackler to not hit the head ie directly or slide up into it.

              If the head whips forward into him after contact i.e whipleash then he did all he could and in fact this was a case of the head hitting the shoulder.

              Imagine if he tackled him at the waist and the tackled player bent over and smashed his jaw into his back and was knocked out, would that be a card as well?

              Same thing.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 10:41am
                Carlos the Argie said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                What a load of rationalization baloney! Jingoistic interpretation.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am
                PeterK said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                no it is called physics, it is important which player makes the movement into the other, koreibete’s shoulder did not slide up into Lezana but his head snapped into the shoulder, that is a clear difference.

                What is jingoistic about it?

                You never answered the scenario of the second one if he was bent over and his jaw hit his back would you card him then?
                Same thing.

                Interestingly the ref after multiple reviews came to the same conclusion, also noted that the wallaby player was not cited so certainly doesn’t meet the red card threshold, or are they wrong as well?

              • Roar Rookie

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:48pm
                Paulo said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

                We do have multiple scenarios where players have dropped or slipped or fallen and there head is lower than it should be and theh have been hit ‘high’ because of it. These have all been ruled on whether their was contact to the head or not. Not much attention to where the head should have been. SBW red card, lions player had dropped his head lower than it should be due to initial contact with another AB, SBW should would have hit him in the should or chest then, which is Im sure SBWs intent. But due to action of tackled player it didnt. Onus is placed on tackler not tacklee.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 12:17pm
                AJM said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                To me it looked like he might have clipped the chin with his initial impact, you’d probably need hotspot to be 100% though. He doesn’t take any prisoners though.

              • Columnist

                October 9th 2017 @ 1:26pm
                Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                Hotspot 🙂

                Well may we laugh, it’s probably being tested as we speak…

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:32pm
                HarryT said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                There was the incident against England when one of the Englishmen dived low to the ground for a try and I think TPN went just as low to tackle him which resulted in two sore heads and a yellow card for TPN. Cheika lamented at the press conference that in all his time in rugby , he had never seen a player sent off for a head high tackle 12 inches above the ground.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 4:06pm
              Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

              @ Geoff Parkes

              the legal concept of “precedence” dictates that a card has to be issued for any head contact .

              this has been in the system for like the last couple of years.

              accidental , non-intentional , circumstantial , whatever – the outcome is a card and the only decision being what color.

              the issue for me , and im sure many have this issue – i that there is no consistency of the interpretations and cards.

              in fact , every day the refs seem to be setting a new precedent 🙂

              if u watched the last match – arigies v nz – Lavanini was given a yellow for a body-hit on SBW ( what irony 😛 ).

              it was not a shoulder charge but the ref said the tackler must wrap and also ensure safe technique.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 7:02pm
              Charlie Turner said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

              Carlos, if you’ve got a problem with Koroibetes tackle then rugby’s not the game for you.

              • October 10th 2017 @ 1:51am
                Carlos the Argie said | October 10th 2017 @ 1:51am | ! Report

                Read the laws and the comments above; Tuner. It’s not the sport, it’s the laws.

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 2:53am
                Carlos the Argie said | October 10th 2017 @ 2:53am | ! Report

                This is what the law says, just in case you don’t know it:

                Reckless and accidental tackles
                November 2016
                Reckless Tackle

                A player is deemed to have made reckless contact during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game if in making contact, the player knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway. This sanction applies even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. This type of contact also applies to grabbing and rolling/ twisting around the head/ neck area even if the contact starts below the line of the shoulders.

                Minimum sanction: Yellow card

                Maximum sanction: Red card

                Or are you trying to tell me that the tackle was “accidental”?

              • October 10th 2017 @ 8:55am
                Charlie Turner said | October 10th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

                Argie, it was a great tackle with an unintended consequence. When the ref told Creevy the tackle was reviewed and good he said “fair enough” but was upset a penalty wasn’t given for MK playing the ball on the ground and rightly so? Impact was below the shoulder and stayed below the shoulder. For what it’s worth I believe the Argentinian forward should not have been sent off either.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 11:56am
            ethan said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            There was nothing wrong with the Koroibete tackle on Lezana. It was not a shoulder charge, as he wrapped with the arms, and you could not call it high, as the arms were wrapped around the waist/chest. Unfortunate for Lezana, you don’t like seeing players go off, but it was not an illegal tackle. Just one of those things that can happen on a rugby field when bodies moving at fast pace get into an awkward position.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 3:59pm
              double agent said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

              The shoulder hit his chin. Wasn’t intentional but deserved a penalty.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 8:16pm
              Charlie Turner said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

              The result was unfortunate but the tackle itself should be celebrated.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 7:01am
        Jerry said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:01am | ! Report

        SANZAAR have said it shouldn’t have been a red citing the initial contact not being to the head and that the contact to the head wasn’t significant.

        That sounds fair to me, it was late, it was marginally high but it wasn’t remotely dangerous and a yellow would have been in line with other similar offences.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 7:41am
          Good Game said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

          100%

      • October 9th 2017 @ 9:42pm
        DaveB said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

        I was at the game and saw the incident live pretty close to where I was sitting.
        I knew there would be trouble but didnt expect the Red…
        I see the Red has been rescinded…
        But forget the card…No one could quibble much about Yellow so the nett effect was the same.

        The important thing was that the game was a cracker. Hard, fast and uncompromising. An advert for rugby
        Best game I have watched live in many years and best game in a long time even on TV.

        Of course I would have preferred to win… but it was a privilege to be there

      • October 10th 2017 @ 5:27pm
        superba said | October 10th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        @ Misha
        Red card has been found to be incorrect.
        Now reversed

    • October 9th 2017 @ 6:43am
      Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      Have been saying all year that Marx was my world XV hooker (much to the chagrin of many Kiwi fans). It was good to see him put in such a performance after a poor showing a few weeks ago. I still think that him plus Bismarck on the bench would be a formidable team, however.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 7:05am
        Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:05am | ! Report

        +100

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 7:06am
        taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

        When hes rubbish we say hes rubbish, when hes great, same, so your world best tag doesnt apply until hes more consistent.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 7:09am
          Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

          ‘your world best tag doesnt apply until hes more consistent.’

          Funny, I would say that the term ‘inconsistent’ applies completely to Coles as well this year (as does the term ‘injured’), and I think that Marx is clearly better than all of the Aussie and NH hookers, as well as Creevy.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 8:29am
            taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            Yes agree, Coles isnt worlds best this year. He was off for injury and hasn’t returned to his best, or anywhere near it. But at the time you said it, Marx (and the other four supposedly better Bok forwards) hadn’t either, nor had Marx ever played a test like this…ever.

            Right now, I’d say he has had the best test for a hooker this year by a distance, he just needs to continue that form, as two weeks ago he was awful.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 10:30am
              Shaun said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              Coles isn’t back to his best… Basically means he isnt playing like a hooker/centre/winger. He is still doing his job primarily as a hooker incredibly well though. We are just thinking now that him scoring 40m tries and throwing 20m passes is the norm. lol

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 1:54pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

          And let us not forget the most important marker to pass if you want to be regarded as the world best or thereabouts; performing against the AB’s in New Zealand. As long as the AB’s dominate the game that will always be the golden standard I judge players by.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 6:18pm
          DavSA said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

          He was the best hooker in Superugby , terrific in 3 tests against France , 2 against The Pumas and 2 against The Wallabies . Was sensational against the AB’s this weekend but had 1 bad game in Albany as did the entire team . That sounds like consistency to me.

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 7:06am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

        You must mix with the wrong Kiwi’s Fionn. The ones I know were talking about Marx all through Super Rugby last year.

        Although to be fair, they’re now all talking about Aumua 🙂

        • October 9th 2017 @ 7:10am
          Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

          But it is always followed up with ‘he hasn’t got the runs of the board at international level’ or ‘his line out throwing is too poor’.

          • Columnist

            October 9th 2017 @ 7:16am
            Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

            I actually don’t think his throwing is any better or worse than anyone else.
            He just had a bad night in Albany.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 4:11pm
              Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

              his throwing is poor , if there is no tall timber.

              last match he had a short guy and the 3rd row was rubbish.

              this match he had 3 tall guys to aim at.

              it is funny – the similarities between auzzy and saffa teams.

              the best 2nd row combi for saffa is this one – EE and LDJ

              the best 2nd row combi for auzzy is Coleman and Arnold.

              somehow both countries have taken ages to find that out ( or have they? )

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 2:39pm
            Diggercane said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            His throwing is poor in my opinion Fionn but at 23, still plenty of time to sort that out, its all he needs to do. He should of been in amongst the Bok squad from 2015, brilliant prospect at the time, was unfathomable to me why he wasn’t there.

            He is no BDP though, because to me he is better and I cannot recall seeing such a tremendous skill set in a hooker and athleticism ever. If he reaches that level of consistency week in week out, you will be looking at one of the true greats.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 2:46pm
              Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

              ‘He is no BDP though, because to me he is better and I cannot recall seeing such a tremendous skill set in a hooker and athleticism ever.’

              More so than Coles you think?

              I think he probably has more potential than BDP in the same way that Itoje probably has more potential than Bakkies Botha. But it is one thing to have more potential and quite another to fulfil it, isn’t it? Just ask James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.

              His line out throwing seems fine most of the time, but he seems prone to getting the jitters and losing confidence. As you say, however, he has time to work on that.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 3:00pm
                Diggercane said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                More so than Coles? Yes. Coles would probably be faster, perhaps a bit sharper in terms of passing skills but is left for dead with power and ground work. I love Coles to death and he fits wonderfully into the AB set up but as individuals Marx is more well rounded.

                He now has more than potential, he has delivered and set a bench mark in my view. If he produces that standard of performance consistently, look out!

                His throwing appears fine because he gets to throw to a bunch of giraffes most of the time 😉 Plenty of time as you say.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm
                Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

                That’s a fair point about Coles being left for dead in power and ground work. I agree there – Coles has those running and passing skills, but Marx does his core jobs so magnificently. I don’t relish the thought of being tackled by him or trying to clean him out… Or being cleaned out by him now that I think about it…

                Yeah, he had the choice of PSDT, Etzebeth and de Jager, with Mostert off the bench – not the hardest job in the world, is it?

                That’s a fair point about him already having delivered. That performance on the weekend was one of the all time great performances by a hooker I have seen, perhaps the best. If he can maintain that form then you’re right, he will probably leave Bismarck behind—at this point, however, I would still Marx is still slightly inferior in the scrum and line out? I don’t know, I love Marx. Hope he has a fantastic career and keeps improving. I love watching him, he’s got power like I’ve never seen before.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 3:33pm
                Diggercane said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                Scrum and Lineout? Yeah, probably behind Bismarck but at 23, plenty of time yet. He strikes me as better at the same age too but an invested Saffie might be able to clarify that as my SA knowledge is nowhere near as in depth.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 7:23pm
                Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

                At 23, Marx is streets better than Bissie at 23. Different types, though.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:28pm
                Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                Harry, wasn’t Bismarck playing in a RWC final at 23? He was a beast in 09, I remember watching those matches, and he would have been 25 at that point?

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 10:45pm
                Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

                In the beginning of his career, he was limited (behind Smit) and focused on set piece brilliance with pilfering skills and destructive tackling. Wasn’t a good ball carrier, really.

                If Marx can master the LO throw, and stays durable (he has the Bismarck-style body) he’ll surpass Bismarck.

              • October 10th 2017 @ 1:52am
                Taylorman said | October 10th 2017 @ 1:52am | ! Report

                Gosh yes Smit, as good as he was was one of those awkward selections where for years the better player by far was on the bench in FDP.

                Hopefully Marx has better luck there as with that performance has just confirmed what everyones been saying all along. As Digger says, marked for greatness.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 7:19am
          Drongo said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

          We read this rugby blog. Sounds like you don’t. That comment about NZ fans is totally at odds to what we read on here every day.
          Are the ABs widely inconsistent with these two huge turnarounds against the Wallabies at home and the Boks away?

          • October 9th 2017 @ 7:57am
            Kane said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

            Are the ABs widely inconsistent with these two huge turnarounds against the Wallabies at home and the Boks away?

            I’d say it was a bit of both with there being a large turnaround of their opposition.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 9th 2017 @ 2:54pm
              Paulo said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

              Also, the difference between a tight game and a wash out isnt much against the ABs. They can quickly blow out the score line with a few quick tries, so a blow out scoreline doesnt mean you were bad, you may have just got gassed or lost focus for 15-20mins, all of a sudden they lut 20pts on you.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:04pm
                double agent said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                There’s been a lot of teams standing under the goal posts,suddenly 20 points behind, waiting for an AB conversion wondering ‘what happened? I thought we were playing well!’

          • October 9th 2017 @ 8:51am
            taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

            Yes they were, but wildly? doesnt that detract from the Oz and SA efforts?

            You have to remember through all this the ABs are winning, and winning and are always under constant pressure to win by these sides.

            Expecting them to win as convincingly every single time is unrealistic as well.

            As Geoff alludes to, the Marxs throwing in for example improved immensely, they even added smarts with the quicks to the front.

            They had a much better and competitive lineout, so credit must go to their improvement specifics from the earlier match, biggest of which I thought was their attitude.

            On our side we were missing Retallick, and some of the Bok skills and pace still let them down, Jantes the main culprit.

            I’d say both SA and Oz have improved considerably as a result of their initial matches with the AB’s.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 1:59pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              I’d say both SA and Oz have improved considerably as a result of their initial matches with the AB’s.

              Makes me think of the Beatles song “Getting Better” with John Lennon’s on backing vocals singing “It can’t get more worse”.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 2:20pm
                taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                Gotta be an improvement on Help! 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:34pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                LOL!

      • October 9th 2017 @ 7:31am
        Mapu said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

        That was the game for the bokke to win.They cannot sustain that sort of game.
        The AB s play that week in week out as opposite teams rise to play them.
        Coles and Cane were tackling machines.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 7:40am
        Good Game said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

        Arguably the worlds best hooker, Fionn. That’s not to discredit what your saying because it was there for all to see in the weekend.

        His lineout throwing was good and obviously he was immense around the field – as always. I think need to see him consistently hit his lineout targets before we call him the worlds best. If he can do that game in and out to the finish of the EOYT than your case becomes difficult to argue. For this kiwi anyway.

        For mine, I believe that the ABs need Coles more than they would Marx and vice versa for the Bokke. They need Marx.

        Marx followed by Brismarck is a scary proposition indeed!! I haven’t seen BdP play in a while so I’m going off the assumption that he is just as formidable now as he was then.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 7:49am
          Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          Bismarck is the best forward playing in Top 14, this season.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 8:04am
            Good Game said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            Thanks Harry. Having not watched the NH club scene in 6 years, does that mean he’s better/worse/much the same?

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 10:39am
              Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              To me, he seems to be offloading better. Still a monster

          • October 9th 2017 @ 12:01pm
            ethan said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

            If so, why on Earth is Bismarck not in Springboks camp? I thought he must have been in a form slump, because the Bismarck I remember from his SR days would be just about first picked.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 6:22pm
              DavSA said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

              Because he is an outspoken ( well known in rugby circles) individual . Coetzee is frightened of him.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

                no doubt about that.

                he asked Nandolo wtf ur doing in the last Montpelier match LOL

                i would be afraid to ask Nandolo for an autograph !!

              • October 9th 2017 @ 8:23pm
                ethan said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

                Very sad reason to hear.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 10:46pm
                Harry Jones said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

                In RWC 2015, Bismarck led a kind of player rebellion post-Japan loss. The establishment will never forgive that…

              • October 10th 2017 @ 7:10am
                Fionn said | October 10th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

                DavSA, Harry, could either of you elaborate a bit further in what you’re referring to? It sounds interesting, but I get it if you’d rather not 🙂

          • October 9th 2017 @ 4:15pm
            Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

            most probably he was captain 🙂

            LOL did u see him tell Nandolo wtf u doin ??

            the euro games will be really interesting.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 9:45am
          Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          Would Coles’ finesse be more important to the All Blacks than Marx’s power? Perhaps, but don’t underestimate how good Marx is in tight, both at the ruck and when it comes to scrummaging.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 10:08am
            taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            good point, if Marx, Coles and FDP were all AB candidates there’d be a real bun fight, with Hansen laughing all the way to the bank.

            Aumua is also gaining a big rep, the obvious new cap for the AI’s and he’s very much in the Coles mode, but quicker.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 11:29am
              Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              I’m not actually convinced by New Zealand’s depth at hooker (and, yes, I say this an Australian knowing full well that Moore is our back up hooker…)

              • October 9th 2017 @ 12:02pm
                Ouch said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                For one more game hopefully. Would be stupid not to take Latu and Uelese on the spring tour

            • October 9th 2017 @ 12:19pm
              Old Bugger said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              Tm

              Did you hear Hansen’s latest interview??

              Seems the EOYT 37-member squad, is basically chosen with the selectors just making sure the injury front, won’t force any late changes.

              Oh and btw – this year Hansen and Co will not be taking an apprentice. I thought Aumua, may get an apprentice look-in but not now, it seems.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 2:23pm
                taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                Strange then, as the door is open for Hooker Id have thought. Someone to put more pressure on Coles, plus hes getting on now.

                And in a between cups year?

                Id have rested some of the long termers. Perhaps Hansen feels he needs to make a new statement in the north?

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 2:53pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                That is a surprise to me.
                Coles is maybe one concussion away from an early retirement.
                And the AB’s plays two non-Tests in November also, and the one against the French selection is a midweek game. Even if an apprentice is not considered for selection, to have some extra depth could be handy, considering the AB’s have played some taxing games this year and more injuries are very likely.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 3:24pm
                Old Bugger said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

                Taylor did ok against the BILs and I think, Hansen will persist with Harris as No3. There’s Parsons at a pinch along with Funnell, Dixon and Coltman. All these guys are in SR atm so Aumua, will just have to bide his time, for 2023.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 3:48pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

                Agree about Taylor OB. He is growing into the Test rugby scene nicely and at the moment there is very little between him and Coles A large reason for that is that Coles has not found his mojo yet after the concussions, but some credit has to go fo Taylor also.

                What surprises me about the possible non-selection of Aumua is that the AB’s selectors have an excellent track record to recognize special talents and fast track them into the Test environment. And to me, Aumua is the most special front row talent I have seen the last 20 years.

                If I put myself in the role of a cynic and ambitious club owner or administrator up north, I would try to poach him right away. Especially Ireland and Scotland could promise him both Test selection within three years and a financially secure future.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:27pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                i think Aumua needs to do a bit more of the core-skills. he has caught the eye becoz he can run like a wing on the wing.

                but then Miter 10 is a little loose than super or test rugger. when the conditions are neat , u see plenty of points scored.

                i think this season Ash Dixon has stepped up and played well as captain of HB.

                Ricky Riccitelli is also good for taranaki. Leni apisai is another.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:52pm
                Taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                Yes Aumuas yet to play Super so no need to rush him. Is he Canes sewed up or can I chuck him in my boot and take him up to Tana? 😀

              • Columnist

                October 9th 2017 @ 5:15pm
                Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

                NV, I’d be amazed if NZ Rugby doesn’t have Aumua locked away. Not just financially, but in terms of how they’re going to work with him in developing his career.

                And I don’t see the need to rush him onto this upcoming tour. They know what he can do. He’s had a big year with the U20 World Cup and now in M10. A decent break then some conditioning and into the SR environment sounds like a good plan to me.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 5:22pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                Some fair points Cuw.
                But I like what I see from him all over the field. Sure, his attacking skillset catches the attention (it is impossible to ignore), but to me, he seems to be the full package.

                They did bring Jordie Barrett with them last year and that paid off big time against the Lions.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:37pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

                @ Taylorman

                ” Yes Aumuas yet to play Super so no need to rush him. Is he Canes sewed up or can I chuck him in my boot and take him up to Tana? ”

                if i recall correct – Tana bought Leni Apisai from Hurricanes. think that was at the start of Miter 10.

                u already have parsons n Moulds.

                so it is much likely that vacancy will be filled by Aumua. ( they have Coles n RR)

                i just dont understand why Jono Hickey cant get a super rugger gig. he can pass , tackle and kick at goal. what more u want from a scrum half ??

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 8:16am
        biltongbek said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        It doesn’t matter whether people see him as the world’s best or not, it matters that he is a standout Springbok

        • October 9th 2017 @ 10:05am
          Jacko said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          He is great and if he plays constantly like he did on Saturday he could well be Worlds best but is McKenzie worlds best after saturday? I say no because it takes a season of great performances to earn a tag like that not 1 or 2 matches

          • October 9th 2017 @ 10:09am
            taylorman said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            He’s a lot of fun to watch though, and a ton of courage for a mite.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 3:25pm
              ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

              Yeah ton of fun. Would like him (and Ioane) to take a little more care when placing the ball though.

              You just know that at some point there is going to be a fumble over the goal line if they continue like that.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 4:51pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                and consider the kicker. after all BB needs all the help .. 🙂

              • October 9th 2017 @ 5:52pm
                ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

                Yes Cuw…that as well.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:45pm
                Jacko said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

                Im actually thinking the Bus is being missed. Ioane doesnt seem to go into contact as strong as he could

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:53pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                now that Savea is a right wing AND NMS is hurt, there is a good chance he will tour later on .

              • October 9th 2017 @ 7:54pm
                Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

                Ioane is a try-scoring machine, it was just a few weeks ago that some were labelling him the best winger in the world. I think a lot of Kiwi fans underrate Milner-Skudder, he is so awesome.

                Can NMS play left wing? If so I’d love a world XV back 3 of 11. NMS, 14. Folau, 15. Ben Smith. If NMS can’t play 11 then Liam Williams would probably be the best. He is awesome too.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 8:18pm
                Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

                yes , he played back and left in that breakthru season with Manawatu ( i think 2014 ).

                then he was selected for Hurricanes if i remember correct. still as a full back.

                but i wonder if his left foot is strong – coz as far as i see it is his right foot he breaks and steps off ( so his strong foot).

                playing on left wing and breaking with right foot – he will have to run down touchline.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 10:00pm
                ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

                Milner-Skudder under rated by NZers? I would not have thought so.

                However if you can be guided by the AB selectors then they selected him on the left wing against Argentina at New Plymouth.

                He has a problem however in that he is fragile. So when that World Team of your’s gets to play I hope he is injury free and available for selection. 🙂

              • October 10th 2017 @ 8:27am
                Muzzo said | October 10th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                I wouldn’t go that far ClarkeG & Fionn, to say that Nehe Milner-Skudder, is under rated by NZ, as in truth, one might say he comes from All Black stock, almost rugby royalty. as far as his relations go,Those being George Skudder, a very good Wellington winger & All Black, along with Buff Milner, who was part of Chris Laidlaw’s unbeaten 1964 NZ Colts team that toured Australia & the Pacific Islands. Buff played first five for the Colts & was some sort of utility back when playing for the AB’s. His AB career was somewhat restricted, due to his military background, but Buff, himself was a very good player, & possibly would have been involved in more tests, had he not have been in the military..
                In regards to Nehe, I wouldn’t say that he is fragile, just a tad unlucky, as he has put a lot of effort, to return from his previous injury, to gain re selection. So truthfully, it’s in his blood, & I’m pretty sure he will return. An incredible player, with the game running through his veins. Cheers

              • October 10th 2017 @ 11:17am
                ClarkeG said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                Muzzo – agree that Milner-Skudder is not under rated in NZ. Not sure why anyone would think that however he is fragile. I liken him to that super racehorse that collects a long list of injuries and does not reach it’s potential.

                He will be 27 in Dec so hopefully this is at least, his last major injury. He is unlucky in that he is apparently one of those players that is quite susceptible to injury.

              • October 10th 2017 @ 2:28pm
                Muzzo said | October 10th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                Totally agree Clarke!!

          • October 9th 2017 @ 10:28am
            Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            To be fair Marx was absolutely fantastic in Super Rugby, and pretty good in the internationals as well aside from the horror show 2 weeks ago. It wasn’t just a one off.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm
            Connor33 said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

            Marx has been far more consistent than McKenzie this year. Probably one of the top 3 players of the whole RC. Certainly the best hooker in the world right now.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 3:52pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

              Hi C33

              I think McKenzie was – together with Marx and a few others – one of the standout performers in SR this year.

              And during this TRC McKenzie has got himself some nice fitting big boy pants.

              • October 10th 2017 @ 7:12am
                Fionn said | October 10th 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

                Neutral, Mafi, Marx and McKenzie were my top three.

                In that order.

                Mafi was incredible.

              • Columnist

                October 10th 2017 @ 8:27am
                Geoff Parkes said | October 10th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                They’re my three too Fionn. All brilliant advertisments for rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 11:25am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                I would add Sam Whitelock to those three. His SR season was special.

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 11:25am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                I would add Sam Whitelock to those three. His SR season was special.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 10:29am
          rebel said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          I’m with you BB. I don’t reslly go in for the comparisons.
          I like Coles because he is a kiwi who came through the NZ system and plays for the ABs.
          His style suits the ABs and the AB style suits him.
          I don’t care what players from other countries could make the ABs as they are not in the system or are eligible.
          Marx is the same in SA. Excellent match by him on the weekend.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          ClarkeG said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          Quite right. It does not matter. He is never going to play for a World Team. Playing for South Africa is as high as he can go.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 4:30pm
          Cuw said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          he needs support – better props 2nd rowers and 3rd rowers.

          2 good props and the scrum is stable.

          2 tall towers and lineout is fine.

          a more balanced 3rd row and there is better defence.

          pity this color thing , else the saffas can put out a pack as good as NZ or even better.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 7:02am
      Daveski said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Too early to label Dempsey the real deal ? Geez he was good and offers a different type of running threat to the big bodies of Kepu, TPN and Coleman or the pinball that is Michael Hooper. I also saw him winning line outs, lifting Hooper to win lineouts and generally showing excellent temperament and decision making.

      Reece Hodge had an excellent game and for someone who doesn’t so much look the part he’s not an easy man to tackle. Needs to work on his goal kicking. These 45m + shots he’s taking its almost a given he’all kick it easily dead but spray it wide right. He’s no Boffelli in that department.

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 7:13am
        Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        Hi Daveski

        I’m sure none of us want to put the moz on Dempsey by pushing him too hard too soon, but that really was a mature, quality performance in attack, defence and workrate, wasn’t it?

        We’ll know a bit more by the end of the year, but if the Wallabies can lock in a proper test No 6, then that’s a huge step forward for this side.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 9:05am
          jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

          As I said I agree with Daveski, he needs to do it again and again, but it was a good start. Ball running and jumping are good, we need consistent physicality and defence, challenging over the ball, workrate etc. You’d maybe like your 6 to be a bit bigger, but not a lot. I’d still add Timani at 8, and you have a bruising back row. And Arnold has to be in the 23 – come on…

          • October 9th 2017 @ 9:06am
            Fionn said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            It seems like Dempsey-Hooper-Timani could be our best back row given the injuries that have hit RHP and Higgers and the fact that Fardy is now no longer an option.

          • Columnist

            October 9th 2017 @ 9:15am
            Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            Arnold had a strong match yesterday james, admittedly in lesser company.

            There was a couple sitting in front of me who’d never been to a rugby game before – they gasped and clapped every time Arnold jumped high and took a lineout throw.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 12:14pm
          RahRah said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          Geoff the issue is that in one game Dempsey had shown a ship load more talent and effective play than Hannigan has even potentially shown in 8.
          If Cheika must have another Tah in his team will he pick Dempsey over Hannigan as he should?

          • Columnist

            October 9th 2017 @ 1:32pm
            Geoff Parkes said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

            I don’t buy into the NSW bias RahRah but man for man, after that performance I can’t see anybody, Cheika included, opting for Dempsey over Hanigan.

            Sure it’s only one game but the difference is plain for all to see.

            I’m not knocking Hanigan as a footballer by the way, only that he should be developing his game and his body until he is ready for Test rugby.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 11:58pm
              ThugbyFan said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:58pm | ! Report

              G’day Geoff, Very nice summation of the final weekend. I was really pleased with Malcolm Marx, who came back from Hell at Albany and showed the Kiwis why he is so highly rated, same with the prop Steven Kitshoff. Now that was a great match, spoiled by the de Allende send-off but he only has one bloke to blame, the fellow looking at him in the mirror. It sums up why many kiwi rugger buggers place more importance on a AB vs SB game than another belting of the WallyBees. And thank the gods that the SB didn’t play like that against the WB the previous week.

              With regards to the WB match, I pretty much agree with DAveski that we “Roarers” should maybe tone down the plaudits for the Manassa Mauler aka Jack Dempsey. He played a pretty good game this week, but lets see him do it consistently for say 6 matches before we put him on a pedestal. And wrt your line ” I can’t see anybody, Cheika included, opting for Dempsey over Hanigan.” I do think you should have the names the other way around, maybe a few apres-lunch wines? LoL

              One last thing that I would like to fly past you for a comment or a GP Pearl of Wisdom. Elsewhere I said I was surprised that L.Tui took over the blindside role while Dempsey moved to #8. I see that L.Tui should be groomed as a #8. Tui is good at #6 and serves as a 2nd lock reserve but he is a mite slow for a flanker and unlikely to ever play that position as a starter, whereas I think he is perfect for a #8. He has a big body who loves being in the thick stuff, good runner with the ball and a fair lineout target.

            • Columnist

              October 10th 2017 @ 8:37am
              Geoff Parkes said | October 10th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

              Hi TF

              Thanks for that – yes Hanigan and Dempsey the wrong way around!!

              Re Tui, I think he’s in the same bracket as Itoje and Scott Barrett. An obvious lock in their underage years, because of their size, but as they come into the elite level their size isn’t a point of difference any more, their skills are.

              Hence they get considered as a 6 or 8.

              For Tui I don’t think there is much of a distinction between 6 and 8 as there is between lock and 6/8 if that makes any sense. He’s still young so i suspect we’ll get a good idea through the next SR season whether he is going to bulk up a wee bit and settle at lock, or improve his agility and aerobic capacity and play in the loose three.

              I recall watching him in the U20 world cup a couple of years ago and he appealed then as a guy who has the ball skills to play no 8. He’s a very very good player.

              • October 11th 2017 @ 2:07am
                ThugbyFan said | October 11th 2017 @ 2:07am | ! Report

                Thanks for the reply Geoff. I had never seen Lurham Tui play until this season with the Reds and as a lock, he certainly looked pretty good. Even if they were a bit out of form, to push out Rob Simmons or Kane Douglas means he had to be a pretty fair player.

                Considering the doom and gloom after the England series last June, I would say the Aussie stocks are starting to look a hell of a lot brighter. 🙂

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