Do England have what it takes to topple the All Blacks?

Nicholas Bishop Columnist

By Nicholas Bishop, Nicholas Bishop is a Roar Expert

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    Mark the date in your rugby diary – November 10, 2018. That is the day England take on the All Blacks, in what will be the first match between the two nations for four years and six days.

    It is an unusual period of drought in the international rugby calendar, and it is the one remaining shadow looming over England after the disaster of the 2015 World Cup.

    England know they are good, because they have won two consecutive Six Nations Championships and 24 of their 25 games under Eddie Jones. That compares favourably even with New Zealand’s own outstanding record of 24 wins, two defeats and own draw since the last World Cup.

    But despite the similarity on paper, England cannot truly be certain of the level they have reached until they play the World Champions. Games against New Zealand tend to open the road to self-assessment in a much more immediate and ruthless way than matches against other nations – especially given the (hopefully temporary) recent decline of the Wallabies and Springboks.

    England under Stuart Lancaster enjoyed a positive glut of games against the All Blacks by way of contrast – six in the space of two years – including a tour of the Shaky Isles in June 2014. That tour remains the most competitive and enjoyable mid-year series in New Zealand in recent times, despite the administrative catastrophe which meant England were without 14 of their leading players for the first Test at Eden Park.

    Games against New Zealand have a way of shining a light on the particular strengths and weakness of your players and systems in ultra high definition. All are shown up in black and white.

    The Carisbrook ‘House of Pain’ may be no more, but that was no comfort to Luther Burrell, after his first experience of New Zealand-style speed and intensity on the part-synthetic grass, and under the covered glass dome at Forsyth Barr stadium. Back in 2014, the ghosts of Carisbrook were alive and well, and Luther still felt the traumatic suffering of his forebears in the changing sheds after the game.

    One aspect which was spotlighted after the 2014 tour was England’s kicking game. The rate of return on high kicks to contest the ball in the series was poor, and it cost us two tries directly on New Zealand returns of Danny Care box-kicks in that crucial second Test in Dunedin (see the 48th and 63rd minutes):

    Since then, great emphasis has been placed by first Lancaster and latterly Jones on the quality of the kick and chase. England began to pick their three best kickers at 9, 10 and 12 in the shape of Ben Youngs (or an improved Care), George Ford and Owen Farrell, and the threat of their kick chasers in the air, or in pursuit across the top of the ground – Johnny May, Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly – came on in leaps and bounds.

    It is the quality of England’s kicking game which really makes them tick, and without it their attacking play seldom scales great heights.

    It was the kicking game which got them over the line against the challenge of Australia back in November last year, a game which I examined in this article.

    The alertness of Youngs’ kicking through for Daly created England’s first try, and the precision of Care kicking through for Jonathan Joseph, and then Johnny May, finally finished the Wallabies off in the last ten minutes of the match.

    Likewise, England’s kicking game, in similarly wet conditions, did for Wales on Saturday. Just as England targeted Bernard Foley in the backfield last November, so they went to work on inexperienced Rhys Patchell in the Welsh secondary over the weekend.

    Patchell was pinpointed right from the opening whistle. Care exited with a box-kick down the right sideline from his own 22 in only the second minute of the match and Anthony Watson beat Patchell to the ball in the air. When the ball reached Farrell after the turnover, he had only one thing on his mind:

    May has kept his width on the left and is signalling for the ball. A beautifully top-spun kick along the deck is the quickest and easiest way to get the ball to him, and that is the option Farrell chooses:

    This is prototypical in the Jones era – when you have as much speed on the edge of the field as England possess, you create opportunities to use that speed as directly as possible.

    Patchell continued to be given a rough time over on the left side of the Welsh secondary, losing control of the ball under pressure:

    The overall effect was to erode the self-belief of a young player who had enjoyed his first Six Nations start in the fabled Welsh #10 jersey in Cardiff the previous weekend. As a result, he began to over-compensate on the return opportunities he was given:

    The aerial torture for poor Patchell continued until he was finally substituted off the field in the 55th minute.

    England, meanwhile, went on looking for ways to get the ball into the hands of their outside speed as quickly as possible, particularly to May’s side. The tendency of modern defences is to condense around the ball when numbers are relatively short, for example on turnovers of possession, at scrums:

    Or after a long break – engineered needless to say by the kicking game! Ford first chips over the heads for Farrell to collect from first phase lineout:

    Then immediately hooks a kick back across his shoulder for May wide on the left as the defence narrows by default:

    When Warren Gatland replaced Patchell with George North for the final quarter, with Aucklander Gareth Anscombe moving into the #10 role and Josh Adams shifting to fullback, the complexion of the game changed dramatically.

    Anscombe’s confidence hadn’t been eroded by a heavy high-ball attack, and he immediately showed why England had tended to kick away from his side:

    The Welsh attack suddenly showed signs of life with Anscombe’s willingness to attack the line from first receiver:

    More especially, Anscombe demonstrated typical New Zealand facility and fearlessness in running the ball back as the last man on kick returns. In the 61st minute of the game (see the highlight reel), he ran a long England kick back from his own 22 to find the English ‘triangle’ on chase fatally over-extended:

    The space between the tip of the triangle (Farrell) and its base point on the right (Joe Launchbury) has grown too big and Launchbury can no longer cover the gap after Anscombe beats the first man.

    Anscombe was able to set up a near-certain try-scoring opportunity on the left for Scott Williams, one which was only saved by an incredible cover tackle by England flanker Sam Underhill.

    But the abiding question remains: how would Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett or Damian McKenzie fare against this kick-chase game? Would they do better than Anscombe? Would they be able to handle the likes of Watson, May and Daly in the air, match their speed across the ground and counter effectively against the chase?

    Against New Zealand, England will be pitched against the best backfield in world rugby. It promises to be a titanic contest – if one which, at present, slightly favours the reignging World Champions.

    Nicholas Bishop
    Nicholas Bishop

    Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick’s latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled “The Iron Curtain”. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European matches.

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    The Crowd Says (634)

    • Roar Guru

      February 14th 2018 @ 4:24am
      Harry Jones said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:24am | ! Report

      Seriously interesting topic and analysis.

      In order to do what England is doing, it’s helpful to play in the rain or recently rained-on fields.

      Shades of 2007-2009 Boks, the last vintage of test team which troubled and beat the All Blacks routinely:

      -three pinpoint kickers on the pitch at all times
      -a highly-motivated and “together” pack acting as a fast tank
      -legitimate speed by the chasers, finishers, and flyers
      -top-level fitness, on par with the All Blacks
      -the “good” kind of elite sport arrogance; with a brash coach
      -45 relatively like-for-like subs (except O Farrell at 12 is sui generis and something of a must-not-lose lynchpin)

      I suppose Joe Schmidt might still have something to say about England’s fortunes, and Rassie Erasmus might really enjoy using June to enhance the current 9 wins 3 losses 1 draw the Boks have over England in South Africa …

      That might change the “clear number one versus clear number two” narrative into a “world champ with several chasers” meta-narrative.

      I hope
      I pray
      I wish

      But it is fun to see England good, even if most of us have a “love to hate” relationship (i.e. respect) and even if EJ was supposed to the Stormers coach, winning 2017 Super Rugby…

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2018 @ 4:43am
        Harry Jones said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:43am | ! Report

        Also, NZ can and will put a lethal back three and No 8 and FH counterattack bomb defusing squad superior to anything Wales can cobble together.

        But there are question marks around AB pillar defense and in the midfield.

        (Yes, Shag will have a few answers, too).

        • Columnist

          February 14th 2018 @ 5:01am
          Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:01am | ! Report

          It will fascinating to see who NZ go for in the back three H – if they go McKenzie/Ioane/Naholo, for example, I think it will greatly improve English chances!

          • February 14th 2018 @ 5:35am
            mania said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:35am | ! Report

            it’ll be benSmith back there. and do u really wanna kick to naholo and ioane? i dont really see englands kicking game as a threat. 2 can play that game and ABs will welcome any team kicking to their back 3.

            its who gets advantage at the scums, rucks and mauls that will be important

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:39pm
              Mmmmm..k said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

              I think Smith will be on the wing along with Ioane, McKenzie will be number 22 and J.Barrett will be fullback.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:33am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:33am | ! Report

                Interesting arrangement and quite possible.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 3:53am
                Harry Jones said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:53am | ! Report

                Mmmmm…k

                I agree with that

                And I don’t think a Smith-Barrett-Ioane back three with Read-BBBBB falling back for box kicks and Macca as a super-sub is a “weakness” that England can exploit.

                I think they’ll rue trying…

                I would rather see England use blunt force trauma around 200 fast rucks, given that Cane isn’t McCaw and the new rules wouldn’t even let McCaw be McCaw…

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:32am
                mania said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

                i disagree. benSmith is the best FB in the world. why would u move him for a rookie?

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:06pm
                Mmmmm..k said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                Mania.
                I’ve never understood the stance that Dagg and B.Smith shouldn’t be moved.
                Hansen has repeatedly done so to get the best team. That’s the key, the BEST TEAM.
                He won’t think “I could get a better combo if I do this but I won’t because some people think he is the world’s best at fullback”
                Smith is an excellent wing and was the world’s best wing.
                J.Barrett has the potential to be better than Smith and the team may be better with them both playing, as it was with Smith and Dagg in the past. As it was with NMS and Smith in the past. As it was with Jane and Dagg in the past.
                All instances where a player who normally played fullback switched to the wing to get the BEST TEAM.

                Hansen may not do it, there are a lot of combos possible.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 6:51pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                Ben Smith was probably the best right wing in the world (and the best chasers of high kicks!) before he got moved to full-back by Hansen. Coaches tend to deal in terms of back threes nowadays rather than picking individuals in isolation.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:17pm
                Fionn said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                I guess Jordie has the ‘potential’ to be better than Ben Smith at fullback in the sense that anyone has the potential to be better than anyone else, but as good as Jordie has been I wouldn’t suggest he has indicated he will be better than Ben Smith.

                That being said, Mmmmm..k is right that Ben Smith, while the world’s best fullback, would probably also be the worlds best winger.

                Jordie Barrett looks like he is already an excellent fullback, but I don’t think he would be nearly as good on the wing as Ben Smith would be. Thus, switching Smith to the wing makes the most sense.

                If Smith and Barrett are better than Smith and Naholo/Savea/Dagg then why would Shag go for 11. Ioane, 14. Naholo/Smith/Dagg, 15. Smith over 11. Ioane, 14. Smith, 15. Barrett? Because fullback is marketed as a more important position than wing? This is the reason that Folau is still playing with 15 on his back despite the fact that he is often/usually essentially based on the wing. I don’t think the Kiwis would go for that sort of silly marketing though.

                For what it’s worth, Mmmmm..k, I think you could well be right. 14. Smith, 15. J. Barrett was what I was predicting until I heard that Jordie might go into the centres.

                If Jordie is at 15 and Smith is at 14 then the English kicking game will be much more effectively nullified. The All Blacks could even choose to play Havili or Dagg over Ioane on the other wing for the particular matchup against the English as that would further nullify the English kicking game.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 7:15pm
              soapit said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

              if theyre well targeted kicks my oath i would.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 6:05am
            Dan54 said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:05am | ! Report

            I think ABs will probably have Smith/Ioane/Naholo? back 3 Nick. But regardless I think you are right England certainly have the game and more importantly the players I think to really cause the ABs real headaches. I think they have the second row that is up there with Rettallick and Whitelock, and their 9-10-12 combo as you say are very very good. As a kiwi it is probably hard to say but I struggle to think of a better rugby player in WR than Owen Farrell who has a briliant all round game, and is a true 2nd 5/8 rather than inside centre (I know it same position but….). With Mike Browns game at 15 I also think the ABs will need to find a way around them and not really easy finding to get advantage from kick chase. Isn’t it great we still got 10 months to speculate!

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:21am
              Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:21am | ! Report

              The All Blacks could easily vary the back three so that they’re more equipped for dealing with high balls.

              Get 2-3 of the following in and they’re much better

              – Jordie Barrett
              – Ben Smith
              – Israel Dagg
              – DMac
              – David Havili
              – Milner-Skudder

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:24am
                Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

                Quick Jordie Barett update, reports back for training 7kgs bigger – good lad!!

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:28am
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:28am | ! Report

                I read that, yeah. Jordie can’t play on the wing can he?

                With Jordie, Smith and someone else like Havili or Dagg in the back three I can’t see kicks being too effective.

                In fact, if you get the right makeup of back 3 players then England has to think twice before kicking for fear of being burned on counter attacks. If Liam Williams had been playing on the weekend they wouldn’t have felt so confident kicking to Wales.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:30am
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:30am | ! Report

                Fionn I bet you a dollar at least one of that least will either have left or signed/ all but signed to the north by the time they leave. Some players won’t want to wait till after the World Cup when their value drops and will see the writing on the wall due to either their form and or Hansen’s selections/ training squads.

                I believevEngland won’t have this concern between now and then.

                They hold all the cards now, even ours.

                Nicks article title even hints at it… what will it TAKE…😉

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:47am
                Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:47am | ! Report

                Fionn, I think Jordie can play wherever he feels like
                .
                But he is primarily a 10 or 15 but still a kid, get a full Super season into him this year and we will see how good he really is, but being 6’4 quick and now a little bigger, expecting good things

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:09am
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                Up until last year he was primarily an inside centre was he not and recently he has said he would be happy to have a go there again if the opportunity arises.

                ” The coaches have said they want me to be durable enough to play midfield, fullback and even the wing. If it suits the team balance, then I am happy to be anywhere on the park. “

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:09am
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                Edited

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:00pm
                Mmmmm..k said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                He’s awesome.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 9:36am
                Wal said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                Big Talk about Jordie bulking up is so he can play 12. Played a lot there when he was younger and for Canterbury in the NPC.

                I suspect we might also see the return of Savea

                June NZ back line might be
                Smith
                Barrett
                Barrett
                Crotty
                Savea (Dagg)
                Ioane
                Smith

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:53am
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

                What evidence is there that Savea will be returning? I’ll admit, he might, but it isn’t like Ioane played poorly, and Savea’s aerial skills and defence haven’t improved to the point that he can play the fullback/winger hybrid role that the All Blacks like.

                You would think he would have to outplay Ioane and Naholo for the out and out wing spot.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
                Pilferer said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                George bridge may be an outsider too, corey jane v2

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:15am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                Yep I think they are more likely to go with two full-backs against England, esp if the weather is predicted to be murky!

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:15am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                What weight is Jordie Barrett now H’lander? 🙂

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                To Wal below – Jordie at 12?? Really? That’s a bit of a Jamie Roberts shift 🙂

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:23am
                Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                ClarkeG – he did play 12 for Cantabs, I thouhgt he played 10 for the under 20s but that was also at 12, I stand corrected

                Nick he is listed at 96, but that sounds similar to last years number, at 6’4″ he could carry 100 quite easily

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:31am
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

                I heard he had put 6-7kg on top of his previous 96kg, so 103kg thereabouts.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:07am
                Wal said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                Hi Nick

                I was wrong he played most of the 2016 NPC season at 13, Johnny McNicol was the 15
                Rob Thompson 12
                He won the provincial player of the year award so must have gone ok,
                A Sept 2016 article actually says
                “Barrett feels most comfortable playing second five or centre but has experience slotting in at first five or fullback”
                Recent photos not only show the extra weight but the loss of some teenage puppy fat too. @ 103kg he would certainly suit the 12/13 channel. However, with Laumape and Aso the Canes are hardly struggling for a midfield.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 1:30pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                In a near future, we might see Jordie and Rieko on the AB’s midfield. The potential is scary for that duo.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:27pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                the 2016 U20 is where Razor Robertson effedup – by playing dryfield rugger on a very wet day , and lost to Ireland by a large margin.

                they ended up out of the semis ( maybe it was the first time they did not get to semis).

                JB played 12 and was the designated goal kicker – infact at the time BB was kind of rubbish , so many a commentator was saying he shud be in the NZ team , just to kick goals 😀

                they had 2 fly halves – TJ Vaa and Stepehen Perofeta – neither really asserted any authority .

                if i remember correct Sio Tomkinson was the 13 and Chief Stevenson was 15.

                it was interesting to see the stark differences of play depending on weather : under dry conditions NZ scored freely , but on wet and windy days they struggled and lost one , which proved decisive.

                it was something interesting re SR. when the lions played crusaders on a wet day , it seemed as if he had not learnt from the U20 experience ( tho the ref also had some impact).

                as for JB – he was listed as 6′ 5″ and 96kg at U20 WC. am sure he will not be getting any shorter.

                is he a 13 ? got to wait and see if he can defend well ther – given the likes of LAB and Goodhue are very good defensive centers – not forgetting the old man ofcourse.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:43pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

                Yes cuw I remember that Irish match. It was awful the way the NZ side approached it.

                The Wales match was similar. They beat them by one point in the pool game and then in the place playoff matches they run all over them on a dry track.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:20pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                @ NB

                “Tana Umaga wants Rieko Ioane to wait for center switch”

                http://www.planetrugby.com/news/tana-umaga-wants-rieko-ioane-to-wait-for-centre-switch/

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 10:14am
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              Yes the other aspect (for which no room in the current article) was the battle of the big men at 4,5, 6 and 8. That in itself will be a battle royal, esp when Billy Vunipola comes back in the frame (or out of it, he’s that big!).

              Agree about Owen Farrell, he has an indomitable playing personality and warrior-spirirt which would be appreciated by the AB’s themselves – easy in fact to see him playing outside BB!

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:34pm
                Perthstayer said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                3 BIL 2nd rows on pitch vs Wales. Launchbury proved his point in style.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:38pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

                he comes out not just in tests but even club rugger as dislikable.

                i recall there was an article about hating teams or players here – Farrell fits the bill perfectly 🙂

                he is England’s Quade Cooper. but then i dont think QC was hated by everyone – just NZ.

                even tho Hartley has more bans than most – he still gets respect from the opposition.

                remember how Read had a verbal spat with him in the final Lions test – when the final decision was being discussed?

                ” why are you here ? u r not the captain ”

                ” i m not saying anything 🙂 ”

                ” then go back ! ” LOL

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:52pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

                Farrell seems to be extremely well-respected from what I can see, at least by opposition players and coaches. He constantly makes one unforgivable mistake, though – it’s not being spiky on the pitch, if he was an Aussie or Kiwi that would be ‘warrior spirit’, but he’s English and, therefore, it’s arrogance.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:07pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

                If you remember FB, Farrell also took a huge amount of flak from England (and especially Bath) supporters who thought England should pick someone more ‘creative’ in the years when he was establishing himself… There were even accusations of nepotism when his Dad was an England coach.

                Now it all looks pretty silly, and he’s one of the top players in the world to those who know and love the game.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:03pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

                Yes, NB. He showed real strength of character then.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:52pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

                ” he’s English and, therefore, it’s arrogance ”

                If you say so.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:55pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

                !

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:09pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

                To P/S (below)

                Agree fully on Launchbury – he did prove his point conclusively (if he hasn’t proved it before)

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:20pm
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                I think there’s an argument for Launchury being one of the top 2-3 best locks in the world at present, with such company as Retallick and Nakarawa 😀

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:34pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

                Yes he and Nakarawa are the best locks in Europe atm. Although Nakarawa is being asked play number 8 for his club right now!

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:38pm
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

                I love watching Nakarawa play. He and Amanaki Mafi are everything great about forwards.

                How does he got at 8??

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:36pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

                To CUW (below) – sorry but your radar is way off on this one.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:46pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

                no difference – irrespective of the number on his shirt , he plays same.

                perhaps its an indication of his adaptability and versatility.

                dont forget – he was a prop in 7S 🙂

                but am not sure why he is playing 8 in the first place?

                is Classens injured?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 7:53pm
                Fox Saker said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                Reply to your question to Highlander Nick – The AB’s wanted him to put in 7-8kgs which he has, but more importantly, add a yard of pace if he could and according to Jordie himself and his Wgtn coach he has done that.

                I said in an early blog to you Nick that Jordie will be one of the AB’s best rising players this year and the signs are looking good. He has sublime skills for a guy only 20 years old – almost freakish and he is a very good goal kicker.

                I think the back three against England will be Smith (FB) Dagg or Milner-Scudder on one wing and Ioane.

                The other possibility is Jordie Barrett at FB with Smith on the wing – The rise of Jordie Barrett this season could have a big effect on other players making the squad.

                IMO Jordie Barrett is the one of the most gifted 20 year olds in the world game because he also has superb vision like Smith and his brother. But his reported increased speed and weight will be interesting this season.

                MacKenzie ( also very gifted) will be there as FB and cover at 10. He is no slouch on the wing either with that gas of his.

                England got away with one against Wales IMO.Anscombe scored no question and the powers that be have publicly stated the ref got the call wrong – but hey that is sport. 🙂

                But I hope injuries are at a minimum on both sides when the AB’s and England meet.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:23am
            Kia Kaha said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:23am | ! Report

            Ben from accounts is back. McKenzie could be a super sub at 10/15 but I’d much prefer to see some midfield cover.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
              taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              Yes I think thats very likely Kia. If we can get anything like the Barrett impact of the bench that would be great and of any player he’s one you never need to say get stuck in from the start, he does that anyway.

              He’ll come on fresh as like an annoying flea when bodies are flagging. He’s done his apprenticeship in 2017 so I think Hansens got him bookmarked for that role.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:10pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

                D Mac certainly best off the bench IMO 🙂

            • February 14th 2018 @ 8:19pm
              Mmmmm..k said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

              You don’t have to prefer centre cover.

              9 Smith
              10 Barrett
              11 Ioane
              12 SBW
              13 Crotty
              14 Smith
              15 Barrett

              22 McKenzie, 23 DLB/Laumape.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:46pm
                dcnz said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

                bro you mean ALB not DLB yah.

                thanks for Laumape on the bench, the more Canes the better !

              • February 15th 2018 @ 8:29pm
                Mmmmm..k said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

                Yah, ALB but any LB will do 🙄

                Laumape would be my pick for the 23 spot based on 2017.

                I’d have B.Barrett, A.Savea, D.Coles, J.Barrett, V.Fafita, Perenara and Laumape in the 23.
                I’d have Aso, NMS and Aumua in the squad too.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:28am
            Harry Jones said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:28am | ! Report

            NB

            Hansen knows best, but I’d feel safe as houses with an outside back corps of Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Reiko Ioane, and David Havili .,.

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              That’s a good group Hazza – will Israel Dagg get another shot?

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:09am
                Wal said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Might be a bit of depending on the opposition, very hard to go past the 60+ metre punt against some teams

              • February 14th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                MitchO said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                Dagg is no worse than any winger out there and a better kick than most. Being a 100kg Fijian is a means to an end but I reckon Dagg scores as many tries.

                Ioane has the “blockbusting winger” wing. The other will go to someone with full back skills.

                Jordie Barrett did pretty well as a kid against the Lions and David Havili and DMac are both such good full backs you could live with either of them back there. I don’t want to get in a north south peeing contest but DMac’s stats in super rugby last year playing full back were exceptional. You don’t need a better full back than DMac but if you have the luxury of having a few then you must be NZ.

                But games are still won and lost in the forwards. NZ have the tight five to match england so it is 6, 7 and 8 that’s the real key for mine. In particular 8 coz Read had a big influence on the Lions series and just how good can an old man be. But Akira Ione looks dangerous and there’ll always be a guy like Messam to cover 6 and Cane and Savea at 7.

                NZ are beatable but when the primary weakness in their system is Beauden Barrett they are gonna be hard to beat.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:44pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                Dagg’s chances will depend on how good his knee is.

                he has lost pace , just like NMS.

                and there was a time last season if i recall – when he was not taking the kicks , in order not to stretch his leg.

                its a pity coz he and Smith worked very well from 15 and 14.

                Against England NZ will need to cover the pace – they will not worry about a bomb- blitz.

                will be interesting to see how JB goes – becoz my firm belief is that DMac got inthere simply coz Smith and JB were out and then Dagg got injured too.

                He is a very good player but – size does matter in these backlines with huge guys. it is not about heart – it is about physics.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:14pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                To Mitch (below)

                Not as convinced as you are about D Mac as a Test match 15, esp in NH conditions…

                The 4,5,6 & 8 equation is fascinating. Retallick/Whitelock v Itoje/Launchbury may turn out to be roughly level, Lawes might shade Squire at 6 and Read is one of the best players in the world opposed to a guy with a completely diff skill-set in Billy V!

                Mouthwatering.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:38pm
                Council said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

                You’re dreaming of you think Itoje matches up to Retallick or Whitelock.

                He’s a very athletic player and during the Lions tour pushed the boundaries a hell of alot and should of been pinged more than he was.

                But I can’t see him having the sheer impact of Retallick or the untiring workload of Whitelock.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:58pm
                StevieB said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

                Yep Retallick is the best rugby player in the world with Whitelock a very close second, the English have more depth there but if you look at the starters its a no contest

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 7:09pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                StevieB, If Brodie and Sam are so much better than Itoje, how come we did not see that during Test series against Lions? They had their chance to school the young English boy, but they had to fight for their lives just to keep up with him.

                Seeing is believing, and until Brodie and Sam schools Itoje on the paddock, I think it is better to keep quiet.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:14pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

                No it’s not a no contest at all, and I suspect the AB second rows will be looking at it as their sternest challenge to date.

                Joe Launchbury would get into any SR team in New Zealand without a problem – ironically he’s very much a Kiwi style second row anyway, with excellent ball-playing skills and speed across the ground.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                Itoje was only playing his 2nd full season (professional not just international) during the Lions series. You’re ‘dreaming’ if you think he’s not going to be an even better player by the RWC.
                I seem to remember the Kiwi media and most fans confidently informing the world Martín Johnson was useless prior to the 2003 RWC. There’s never been a good rugby player that didn’t come from NZ.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:04pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

                2003 . heck have you got a good memory.

                Most NZ fans thought Martin Johnson was ” useless ”

                Oh just stop it will you.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 9:32pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

                Yeah FB, that it is a bit over the top. Even NZ’s most legendary player Colin “Pinetree” Meads was very vocal about what a class player Martin Johnson was, and Pinetree even tried to convince Johnson to stay in NZ and play for the AB’s instead of going back to England. If that doesn’t count as compliment and recognition, you are a very harsh judge.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:56pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

                Yes, but Meads was a great rugby man who had gravitas. I’m talking about the Kiwi media and gullible fans. ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘white orcs on steroids’ ‘lumbering and lacking skill.’ Any Kiwi rugby blog of 2002 would be saying the same things about Johnson as is now being said about Itoje.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:21am
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:21am | ! Report

                Oh my god are you full of it or what.

                Your keyboard must have a turbo key.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:34am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:34am | ! Report

                To Mitcho

                Yes it’s D Mac’s ability under the high ball that would be a concern, and I’m fairly sure England would pick him out as a target.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 12:07pm
                MitchO said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                cheers Nick.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:12pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

                Yes, NVFS, but Meads was a great rugby man of gravitas. I’m talking about the Kiwi media and the gullible fanboys who lap it up. ‘Dad’s Army’ ‘White Orcs on Steroids’ ‘lumbering plodders lacking skill.’
                Kiwi rugby blogs in 2002 was saying similar things about all England players, including Johnson, as is being said about Itoje now.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 12:20am
                Mitcho said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:20am | ! Report

                Cheers nick and cuw
                How come dmac not a test full back in the nh? Too small for a heavy track? I like big full backs but Folau doesn’t seem to use his size in defence so why not Mackenzie? But if you are right then havili and Jordie are big. Does the full back need to be big in the NH or is it more a preference? Loved lote tiqiiri sttengh in the tackle when isolated and Wendell but that was not Nz. Pity if dagg is out love his reflexes and are tired of wingers with more power than skill.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 7:03pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

                To me it looks like you are dreaming Council.

                Itoje has been to NZ, played against Sam and Brodie, and was arguably more influential – and overall better – than both of them during the Test series.

                Crying about the ref is kindergarten-level. Like all great players, Itoje played on the limit and new what level ref had.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:47pm
                taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

                Oh let it go Swede Itojes got nothing on Retallick.
                Few will argue Itoje is better than either, certainly not Retallick.

                But dreams are free.
                So they meet and he did ok, big deal.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:11pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

                …in his 2nd full professional season. How good were Retallick and Whitelock in their 2nd full professional season?

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:31pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

                Look I’m going to have a wild guess…. Better than average perhaps?

                Or perhaps I’m absolutely wrong and they were both as useless as most of us apparently thought Martin Johnson was.

                So then the obvious question arising from this discussion.. ..how good was Johnson in his second full season. 🙂

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:05pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

                How good was Johnson in his second full season?

                Not as good as Itoje.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:13am
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

                What season was that Bus?

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:34pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

                I am a big fan of Retallick and hold him in highest possible regard.

                But it gets a bit corny when some talk about Itoje like he has not proved a thing and is all hype when the fact remains, he went down to your hood T-man and competed very well with Brodie and Sam.

                He has won every single title possible both as a junior and a senior (if England wins the WC next year he will have a complete collection of titles at the tender age of 24). If Brodie and Sam were as good as some here says, they would have schooled the young Itoje rather easily last summer, but they did not do that. Not even close.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:23pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

                Itoje is good with indulgent ref s and old Laws.

                now that u cant kick the ball forwards at ruck he doesn’t do much.

                and i have not seen his “fish-seller’ like shouting at the lineouts in club games. perhaps it was a Lions Special :p

                is he a good lineout operative – definitely.

                is he a good 6 – not sure.

                is he an influential player in the team – most certainly.

                is he on par with the best in the word – not at the moment.

                i will take Brodie and Leone Nakarawa any day – even as a crusaders fan 🙂

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:06pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

                Oh well you go with that then. Bit like how Perenara was a better bet than Smith. As FB says he’s only in his second year. And it shows.

                He’s still working his way in and isn’t yet in the same league as an all round fully experienced lock as either Retallick nor He may have been on par, but he hasn’t achieved what the other two have, not even close.

                Respect your opinion though.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:25pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

                Your comparison with the TJP/AS-situation is very well put. TJP and Itoje are young “freaks” in their positions –
                with the potential to be top dog one day – but I agree neither of them is the full package.yet.

                If I remember correctly, TJP has been considered to be a special talent since he was a teenager, at least in the Wellington-area? And has not TJP, like Itoje, captained several age-group-national teams also?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 3:55am
                Harry Jones said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:55am | ! Report

                NB

                I-Dagg was once the best back in the world. IMO.

                But no longer.

                Still like his big boot on exits, and his never-say-die smile while he cover tackles.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:27am
                rebel said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

                TJP turns 27 next week. Young compared to me though.

      • Columnist

        February 14th 2018 @ 4:59am
        Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:59am | ! Report

        Yes H, the English attack structure is coherent but it is in the kicking game and its varied uses that the real threat lies. In a sense it is putting strength on strength – because it will be directed against what has been the best backfield in the business for as long as anyone can remember!

        The Ireland game will also be a case of like versus like, and seeing who is the stronger in the kicking/fielding/chasing/countering game 🙂

        • February 14th 2018 @ 5:35am
          John said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:35am | ! Report

          Didn’t the Jake White-led Bokkies trouble the Darkness with their kicking game? To the point where it not only won them the 2017 RWC but also crushed the Darkness in 2009 and led to the ABs finding back three players that could field high balls? I think it was 2009 …..

          • February 14th 2018 @ 6:13am
            Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:13am | ! Report

            2007 and yes

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:24am
              Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

              England have no boot like Frances Steyn though. In the Durban Test the Boks scored multiple penalties from Frans kicking from his own 22 way downfield and finding the grass with the ball ending up well inside the ABs 22.

              In the third Test (was it Hamilton?) Frans kicked, I think, three penalties from his own side of halfway.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:38am
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                At Hamilton 2 of those kicks were from Tristram St and the other Steyn kicked a field goal from 45+.

                A game that incredibly the ABs came quite close to snatching at the end.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

                Daly can kick from 55m – or have u not seen?

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:42pm
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

                Can he kick accurately over that distance consistently, cuw? I didn’t realise.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:04pm
                David said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                I’ve seen Daly kick from 60 before

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:51pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

                oh yeah – far more accurate than Hodge from what i have seen.

                55m becoz of the angle ( not from own side tho he has done that also dead straight).

                i will put him on par with Marcello Bosch – another long ranger 😀

                actually now Steyn is not in form as far as long range kicks go.

                though of slight build ( comparatively) i think 1/2 penny has a 50m range.

                and going by that drop goal so does Sexton 😀

            • February 14th 2018 @ 8:37am
              rebel said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

              Agree yes NZ was having issues, but SA didn’t win in 17 as you pointed out, but also didn’t play NZ in 07.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am
                mania said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                and in 2009 it was PDV (nominally) at the helm not jWhite.
                ABs lost all 3 tests against the boks. as good as fransSteyne was ; it was really morneSteyn and FourieDuPree’s kicks that were punishing the ABs. they had rokocoko and sivivatu back then who were awesome try scorers but not bomb defusers.
                thanks to that year ABs went with a back 3 that could take bombs. beat boks 3 nil in 2010 and then went on to win the 2011 WC.
                boks taught ABs a valuable lesson in 2009

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:41am
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                Frans was an integral part of those wins also.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:49pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                i think that was the time when Law was changed so that teams could not kick out from outside 22.

                it took a while for all to adjust the backlines.

                but then NZ did that against Irish in USA and lost.

                also i do not think NZ are worried by size of opponent – anywhere in the XV . it is always pace that has upset their plans.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:15pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

                To Mania (below)

                Yes it was Fourie du Preez who really made the SA kicking game tick, not the Steyns. FdP had a razor-sharp rugby brain and huge range of kicks at his disposal.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:37am
                mania said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:37am | ! Report

                agree nic. FDP was at his best then and was the one most responsible for out smarting ABs.

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:18am
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Aye John – laws were a bit different back then ofc 🙂

          • February 14th 2018 @ 2:29pm
            John said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            Sorry folks – 2007 not 2017

            • February 15th 2018 @ 7:28am
              rebel said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

              They didn’t play each other in the 2007 WC.

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 7:33am
          Carlos the Argie said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:33am | ! Report

          Hi Nich,

          As his immensity Jones has mentioned above, it is defense close to the rucks where the ABs have mightily struggled in recent games, including the BILs. Kicking to the back three is going to be problematic early on in matches. Running close to rucks and to the 9-10 space is going to tire Cane/Read/6 (whoever that is). And only late they can try kick wide.

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:20am
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

            I don’t think they’ll follow the model that way around Carlos – if they can prove a threat wide early on, it will naturally force the D to spread in any case…

        • February 14th 2018 @ 7:44am
          Goatee said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

          @ NB -‘The English attack structure is coherent but it is in the kicking game and its varied uses that the real threat lies.’

          It seems to me that the effectiveness of England’s kicking game is in correlation with the capacity of its forward pack to generate front foot ball. They managed to achieve this for approx. an hour against Wales on Saturday and then the combination of Anscombe’s switch to 10 and superior fitness of the Welsh forwards (?) seemed to negate England’s effectiveness.

          To my mind the AB’s (and IMO, the Lion’s tour did little to dispel this) have the best forward pack in WR. If we’re not dominating up-front against them then I suspect we will struggle, or in your view, will parity up-front be sufficient for the England team to utilise their kicking game and still gain an advantage ?

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:23am
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

            I felt the English attacking threat largely evaporated after they scored the two tries Goatee, Wales out-broke them for the remaining hour.

            Billy Vunipola will make a big diff to the English forwards when he returns, though AB’s may well enjoy advantage at scrum-time.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 11:37am
              Goatee said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

              ‘I felt the English attacking threat largely evaporated after they scored the two tries.’

              Hard to disagree with that, Nick, but my view of the game (particularly during the first 40 mins) was that England were in control of the match, largely due to the quality of the kicking game of 9, 10 and 12 and their ability to turn the Welsh around, particularly their back three. As a result, Wales were struggling to get a foothold in the game. Furthermore, England’s forwards were also dominant during this period.

              The fact that they were unable to convert this dominance (as you’ve already alluded to) into more tries, or even points during this period, will presumably, not cause S Hansen too many sleepless nights!!

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:18pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

                Yes, against Australia they scored all their tries in a 10 minute patch at the end, against Wales a 15 minute patch at the start. I guess it’s the between times that may concern Eddie Jones. Overall, any side that keeps winning, however well or poorly they’re playing, will be a major concern to Shag.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 7:53am
                Goatee said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

                @NB – ‘Yes, against Australia they scored all their tries in a 10 minute patch at the end, against Wales a 15 minute patch at the start…’

                Yes… and neither of those teams fielded a forward pack that was capable of denying ENG a platform (for significant periods of the game) for the effective use of their kicking/attacking game.

                Surely, it is not without significance that the only game of 24 that ENG have lost under EJ, is one where their pack (which included B Vunipola) were comprehensively outplayed by the opposition forwards and placed on the back foot for the majority of the match? How good or effective was their kicking game then?

                Clearly, at present, both IRE and the AB’s have ENG measure (and more) particularly with regards to personnel and the coaching ticket. Sure, ‘Shag’ and the AB’s won’t be complacent come November, they never are, but at present, as already suggested, they won’t be losing sleep worrying about England.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 7:14pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

                Surely, it is not without significance that the only game of 24 that ENG have lost under EJ, is one where their pack (which included B Vunipola) were comprehensively outplayed by the opposition forwards and placed on the back foot for the majority of the match? How good or effective was their kicking game then?

                Or just maybe, they came up against a side with a kick-receive-chase game as good as their own? The raw stats say that England only lost 4 bits of ball (set-piece and breakdown) in 85 rucks, scrums and lineouts, so what is your idea of ‘comprehensive’ based upon?

              • February 16th 2018 @ 9:58pm
                Goatee said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

                @NB – ‘Raw’ stats alone, rarely tell the whole story and in isolation, they might suggest that the England pack ‘held their own’ or were ‘competitive’ that day… Whereas, the sad reality was – they were out-muscled and dominated by their Irish counterparts and ‘second-best’ for the majority of the game. So, on this occasion, I’ll stick with ‘comprehensive’.

                ‘Maybe, they came up against a side with a kick-receive-chase game as good as their own?’

                Yes, undoubtedly… and I imagine S Hansen, purring quietly at the prospect of selecting the likes of B Smith, J Barrett, Milner-Scudder, A Smith and B Barrett for the game at Twickenham.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 10:08pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

                Those guys at 10 and 12 are not in the same class as Carter and Nonu as kickers, and the difference is ‘comprehensive’. Kicking game – nowhere near mate.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 11:59pm
                Goatee said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

                @NB – Maybe not… but I’m not sure I suggested that the AB’s would play off 10 and 12? Ireland don’t… Again, who is suggesting that the AB’s will adopt a ‘like for like’ game plan? I simply identified the wealth of talent at the AB’s disposal (particularly in the back 3 and under the high ball) and also, those who I believe Hansen may utilise in order to play their own variant of a kicking game.

                Regardless of this, your riposte/response does not invalidate my main premise that the AB’s (like IRE) possess a forward pack who are capable of denying ENG the ‘go forward’ and platform for their kicking/attack game to flourish.

                You have not addressed this… If (as an expert) you have a perspective on this, I would welcome it!

                Finally… it’s good to hear we’re still ‘mates’! 😊

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 4:25am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 4:25am | ! Report

                Regardless of this, your riposte/response does not invalidate my main premise that the AB’s (like IRE) possess a forward pack who are capable of denying ENG the ‘go forward’ and platform for their kicking/attack game to flourish.

                Every team depends on gaining an edge in the physicality battle, and it’s not confined to ‘up front’ any more – ask the 12’s who play international rugby if they don’t feel more like a forward most of the time! The AB’s are no more capable of playing a constructive game without that physical edge than England… (witness Chicago).

                But I would beware of reading too much into the Ireland game and of hanging too many of your hopes on it… I think England match up pretty well in the big men at 4, 5, 6 and 8 now that Kaino seems to be out of the reckoning, and on the assumption that Billy V can get back to peak form and fitness.

                That, as much as the kicking game, is likely to determine the outcome in November.

                P.S. Why wouldn’t we be mates? 😀

              • February 17th 2018 @ 8:48am
                Goatee said | February 17th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

                @NB – Thanks for the response.

                ‘Beware of reading too much into the Ireland game and of hanging too many of your hopes on it…’

                That would be it… 😣 As an England supporter I was urging Ireland over the line!

                With regard to ‘reading too much into the Ireland game…’

                Possibly, but neither do I share your confidence that England, at present, have the tools to prevail against the AB’s, even at Twickenham.

                One thing we can agree on, is that B Vunipola looms as a key part of the jigsaw with regard to England’s ambitions. My question to you is, do you consider his ability to get over the advantage line (and generate a regular supply of front-foot ball) an essential pre-requisite, for ENG kicking game to flourish? Or do they possess sufficient variation in their attack to cause the AB’s problems?

                EJ and the coaching team have done a fantastic job. P24, W23 is superb – and the players he has (and continues to) identify and incorporate into the side suggest that this ENG team could, in time, become a special one. As a supporter, this is great.

                However, it is telling, that in a defining and pivotal game (and when finally confronted by a team with a combination of power, personnel and coaching smarts to match our own) we came up short.

                Do I believe ENG are capable of winning a one-off game at Twickenham, against the AB’s? Yes… it’s happened before. However, Twickenham, on St Patrick’s Day, will tell us much more with regard to where this England team currently are, along with their ‘potential to see off the AB’S,’ come November.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 6:44pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                As a matter of fact, I wanted Ireland to win that game too!

                My question to you is, do you consider his ability to get over the advantage line (and generate a regular supply of front-foot ball) an essential pre-requisite, for ENG kicking game to flourish? Or do they possess sufficient variation in their attack to cause the AB’s problems?

                No I do not, and for the simple reason that England (like most other teams) tend to do different things in diff parts of the field. Part of the point of the article is that England kick offensively rather than defensively – in other words, they don’t just kick it away when they cannot think of anything else to do with it! Or when their ball-carrying isn’t working.

                Some of the posters on this thread seem to still hold on to the idea that England just kick the leather off the ball looking for another set-piece further downfield, but that is far from the truth.

                I think England will be capable of beating the AB’s in November whether they overcome Ireland or not – the question is can they beat them twice in a row. That really would prove something 🙂

              • February 17th 2018 @ 10:26pm
                Goatee said | February 17th 2018 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

                @ NB – Ok. Thanks.

                ‘I wanted Ireland to win that game too!’

                Both you and Stuart, right?!! 😉

                ‘England will be capable of beating the AB’s in November…”

                I hope you’re right!! 😁

              • February 17th 2018 @ 10:33am
                Fin said | February 17th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                Nick,
                Pat McCabe was an international 12. Do you feel that the way he embraced the physical demands of the position may have played a part in ending his career which came after breaking his neck 3 times in less than two years.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 6:58pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

                Probably, Jamie Roberts has had a lot of concussions, Jean de Villiers suffered a lot of wear & tear too…

              • February 17th 2018 @ 7:55pm
                Fin said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

                Nick,
                I will forever remember McCabe’s courage against the springboks in the 2011 WC quarterfinal. Australia only had 24% of the territory. McCabe’s shoulder was hanging on the ground in the first half, and Robbie Deans kept asking him ‘to give me another 10’. He kept getting up off the ground and making his tackles until he was finally replaced with about 10-15 minutes to go.
                It was an incredibly brave performance through enormous pain and adversity but not unusual in such a big game. He must have had a few needles to numb the pain at halftime. Every team needs a Pat McCabe in there somewhere don’t they Nick?
                I hope his battered body doesn’t cause him too much grief in retirement.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 8:50pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

                England in my time there had Brad Barritt, who never ended a game without blood all over his face!

                BB was a typical unsung hero, who did an awful lot of the bits and pieces of the game very well but only rarely seems to be visible to the fan or the media commentator. One thing’s for sure, without that kind of selfless individual, you’ll never achieve very much….

          • February 14th 2018 @ 10:28am
            Akari said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            Good points, Goatee. Right now, I am inclined to think it’s England’s test on Nov 10 to lose. I however also think that if their attack arsenal is to solely rely on their kicking game to win, even if varied, the ABs are already good at countering that kind of game and will get better at it by November. I suspect therefore that England will go the way of the French; clueless and demoralised by the 50th minute of the test.

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 6:19pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

              I don’t think they’ll rely on it completely (EJ is too smart for that) and apologies if I’ve given that impression in the article – but it will be a major weapon for sure.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:14pm
                Akari said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

                Agreed that it will be a major weapon for sure, Nick. We can only hope that young Eddie is smart enough not to rely on it to win though.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:09am
                Goatee said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:09am | ! Report

                “I don’t think they’ll rely on (kicking game) completely…and apologies, if I’ve given that impression in the article’

                To be fair, Nick, your article does seem to suggest or imply that because this has been England’s primary weapon for winning games under EJ (and the effectiveness of their ‘attack’ is closely wedded to this)… that this represents their best chance of victory against the AB’s.

                My wider point, was that this is difficult to implement if your forwards are going backwards (eg, like England’s were in Dublin, last year)… and seemingly, the difficulty is compounded if you’re up against a team whose kicking game is as effective as your own.

                Therefore, your clarification here, is appreciated, as are your articles and expert knowledge. 👍

              • Roar Guru

                February 16th 2018 @ 11:16am
                Fox Saker said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                I think NZ have the edge on the bench.

                IMO they simply have more genuine -and I stress genuine – X-Factor players in their arsenal and they can introduce more gas in their forward replacements like Ardie Savea @ 7 , Fafita @ 6 ( England has no one in their pack with his exceptional speed), Either Taylor, Coles or the new star Asafo Aumua are all quicker than any England Hooker – Aumua’s rise in the pecking order this season will be interesting) and I think if Naholo and ALB and JB or DMac or even Havilli come off the bench – I just think they will have more impact or even top Super 2017 try scorer Laumape near the line could be tough to handle with tired legs.

                Don’t get me wrong England have strong bench but IMO it does not look as dangerous with 20 to go as the AB’s could look barring injuries. England’s greatest depth is at Lock and Halfback IMO but Perenara is one of world’s best so they won’t get an edge there in sniping or vision.

                But where’s England DMac? or Jordie Barrett? or the pace coupled with the finishing power of Laumape or Neholo? Sorry Nick but I see many very good players on England bench but not as many genuine X-Factor players IMO in forwards and backs.

                The AB’s will have the ability to really speed up the game with their bench. Will the England bench be able to match that pace and skill level in their forwards and backs?

                The Lions did – but I don’t believe England do- I have seen no signs of it so far in the 6 Nations either. This could prove telling for me.

                I still believe at full strength the AB’s have the best bench in world and the gas they introduce in the pack could run England off the park with 15 to go.

                And the other problem for England pack can’t and won’t bully the AB pack and may have to be worried about getting bullied themselves which is not a position England often find themselves in. It will be a battle royal.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 7:07pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

                I still believe at full strength the AB’s have the best bench in world and the gas they introduce in the pack could run England off the park with 15 to go.

                I don’t see how this conclusion can arise rationally from what you’ve said before it Fox! Yes NZ may have more impact off the bench but they haven’t been dominating opponents in the last quarter:

                Wales 14-7
                Scotland 7-14
                France 7-0
                Australia 5-6

                in the last four games, so hardly conclusive. Two games where they eased away, two where they were reined in.

                And the other problem for England pack can’t and won’t bully the AB pack and may have to be worried about getting bullied themselves which is not a position England often find themselves in. It will be a battle royal.

                Does this colonialist thinking have a place in the modern game?? 😀

                England have more ball-players in their forwards now – Launchbury and Mako are both as good if not better ball-handlers than anyone in the AB tight five – and especially in the absence of their two power number 8’s they’ve been looking for something more athletic. Sam Simmonds in only 6′ and 102 kilos.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2018 @ 10:49am
                Fox Saker said | February 17th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                In all those game you mention Nick the AB’s were not at full strength – missing all or a large part thereof of the following players – No Dagg, Franks, Moody, ( Coles not yet back to his best) Ben Smith, Retalick, Milner-Scudder,

                That effects the 23 and the run on strength. So I think my conclusion with the greatest respect Nick are rational. My arguments are based on a full strength side. Missing Franks and Moody was significant. IMO Franks is the best in world in his position and makes many world 15’s even chosen be northern hemisphere rugby scribes I notice,

                I mean seriously, missing the world’s best FB and Lock is hardly chicken feed either.

                And Mako and Launchbury better ball handlers than Retalick and Coles ( at his best) ?

                Hmmm that’s a big call Nick and not sure I agree there though yes they have some skill no question. But who has the pace of Fafita or MacKenzie on the England bench of even Neholo who has been clocked at 10.68 for 100m

                Like I say they greatest depth strength England have is at Lock and halfback and Mako is very good player but we may have to agree to disagree but I would have the AB bench over the English bench right here and now and as I have have said, with a Full Strength AB side.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 6:57pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

                I thought you were talking about relative fitness as well, when you said that the AB’s would run people off the park Fox! That doesn’t depend on personnel.

                The truth is that no team runs the other off the park in the last twenty, although replacements can make a big diff tactically to the flow.

                So you’re saying that the AB’s depth is not good enough (after a few injuries) to have that impact?? 🙂

                Yes I’d say that the two England forwards are comparable as ball-handlers to Retallick and Coles, in fact I’d have Mako at the top of that high-class pile.

                May, Watson and Daly would all give Naholo a good race in rugby boots, so no advantage there either!

                This is what the discussion is proving, that the choices in most positions between the two sides are very much ‘either/or’ rather than AB automatic wins.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 7:05pm
                Fionn said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                Reiko accelerated away from Daly relatively comfortably in Bled 1. But Naholo isn’t as fast as Reiko, is he? He was almost beaten by Kwagga Smith I saw (although Kwagga is pretty fast for a forward…)

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2018 @ 11:16pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 17th 2018 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

                Watch the sequence again and you will see that it is not Rieko’s speed that does the trick. Look at their starting positions and what direction they are moving when the “race” starts.

              • February 18th 2018 @ 8:35am
                Fionn said | February 18th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

                Sorry, Neutral, I can’t agree with your perception of events on this. I’ve just watched it several times and it looks to me like Reiko has slightly more speed built up to begin with, but then changes directions slightly and then comfortably accelerates from Watson and Daly…

                Reiko is meant to be the fastest in the team though, even quicker than Barrett.

              • Roar Guru

                February 18th 2018 @ 2:36pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 18th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                Well, that just goes to show how two persons watching the same sequence can see two different things.

                There is no doubt about Rieko’s speed in my corner, I just think Daly (and Watson also) is on par with him.

              • February 18th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Fionn said | February 18th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Indeed it does prove that. One can’t really be certain about relative speeds unless we see timed standing starts, however, are there are various other factors to consider such as injuries, the fact that Reiko is carrying the ball, etc.

                I think this definitely proves that Daly has the speed to play fullback for England though 😀 . I’d definitely be considering him as a potential future fullback after Brown.

                If your view is correct and Daly and Watson are as quick as Reiko then that means both are faster than Barrett!

              • Roar Guru

                February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                Whom is the fastest of these four outstanding players, is not really that important. Stepping, acceleration, upper body strength, smartness et al is of more importance. I would guess that Watson is the fastest of the four in a 100-meter race (he is really built as a sprinter), but I would choose Rieko over him in my world XV because I think he edges Watson in most other areas.

                Daly’s versatility is his biggest enemy. He covers wing, midfield, and fullback, and that is very handy to have on the bench. But he is a fine “footballer”, almost “un-English ( if someone told me that Daly went to high school in NZ or similar, I would think: “that makes sense”).

              • Columnist

                February 18th 2018 @ 6:09pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 18th 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

                Everyone’s faster than Barrett – Scott Barrett that is 😀

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 1:48pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          Irelands kicking-game against the AB’s 2016 was a real threat and combined with the solid structures Ireland have in place already (including a great forward pack with a back row that is arguably the best in the world).
          I can see them being a tougher challenge for the AB’s this fall, hence they have better depth than ever before, they have central contracting, and they have the luxury to play the AB’s the week after the AB’s Test at Twickenham.

          Apparently, there is talk between IFRU and NZR to play an extra Test this year also. Both unions need more money to be able to fend off English and French clubs, so it makes perfect sense that they are looking at it.

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:21pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

            Yes NV, English and French clubs will be rankling they haven’t done better (thus far) in the European comps, so they’ll obviously need to spend more to make up the ground!!

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 3:57pm
          Charging Rhino said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          England need to try and get through South Africa first. 😉 That’s their next worry after 6 Nations.
          Which I think SA will win 2-1.
          England is good, but the Boks at home with a new coach and structures will bring it.

          I do have a feeling that England will beat the ABs later this year though. Twickenham, end of season for ABs. And a good England side. But never bet against the All Blacks.

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 5:34pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

            I think we all expect the Boks to be better this year than the last two years, but I don’t expect them to win the series against England unless Eddie leaves a lot of first picks at home so they get a real break before the World Cup.

            England looks like a very settled side that just refuse to lose Test matches, while the Boks has looked the complete opposite lately.

            The Boks will play against Wales in USA, the week before the first Test against England, so the Boks will have to deal with some jetlag and travel less than a week before the first Test, while English doesn’t have to worry about that too much, hence their season finish May 27 and they have two weeks to prepare and will be in SA before the Boks.

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:22pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

            Bok series will be intriguing and I do expect a different wildebeest to the sad spectre we saw last year…

            • February 14th 2018 @ 8:36pm
              cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

              @ Nicholas Bishop

              what do u make of this??

              ” England coach Eddie Jones hits back after World Rugby admit Wales were robbed by TMO mistake in Six Nations defeat at Twickenham ”

              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-5388031/Jones-hits-World-Rugby-admit-Wales-robbed.html

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:46am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:46am | ! Report

                Can understand why he said it – I don’t know why WR come out and criticize their own officials – but it was clearly a try, having said that.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:03am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:03am | ! Report

                Even weirder since there are pretty good pictures that show that Evans actually knocked the ball on and these pictures have been spread all over the social media the last few days.

                Look at Evans middle finger when you see the clip.

                https://twitter.com/theblitzdefence/status/962642686758064128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Frugbyonslaught.com%2Fupdate-enhanced-footage-shows-anscombe-try-disallowed-anyway%2F

              • February 15th 2018 @ 9:37am
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                Its not clear that the ball goes forward from Evans finger. It may have ever so slightly.

                It is clear however that it went forward off his knee.

                And it is clear that Anscombe grounded the ball first.

                And it is clear that the TMO process is a flawed tool.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:15pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

                I think it is pretty clear that it goes forward, but then again, even in super slo-mo lots of people see two different things.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:17pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                No from that angle it can’t possibly be clear. Not saying it wasn’t fwd but if we are going to use the TMO process the officials have to be given a lot more than we’re giving them presently.

                I’d guess Newman in this instance didn’t have access to the blown up version you have shown here.

                But agree about people seeing different things. You and I have just proved that yet again.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 3:09pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                Newman hardly looked at the first potential knock-on, that was the mistake he did.

                But let us give Newman a little break, and not go on like Gats a say it was a “terrible mistake”, hence even with a hundred replays in slo-mo, so many people see different things. Not only with the first potential knock-on, but with the second potential knock-on also.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:25pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

                I’m excusing the first potential knock on for the reasons I’ve given so I have given Newman a break.

                But to not award a try was plainly a stuff up.

                Apparently he also said that Anscombe did not touch the ball and Watson grounded it first.

                In that case you have to ask why he then said that but for the penalty advantage it would be a 5m scrum restart.

                I’m not really concerned what Gatland or Jones say about it .

                My interest is that these sorts of issues are minimised because otherwise the game just looks foolish.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 7:20pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Great summary Clarke!

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:16am
                Rugby Fan said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:16am | ! Report

                If anything, the statement by World Rugby has confused, rather than clarified, matters.

                I thought it was a try, because Anscombe’s hand appeared to have contact with the ball, when it also had contact with the ground, and Watson’s hands had no contact. By one reading of the World Rugby statement, that’s also their opinion.

                We don’t know from that statement, however, whether the TMO saw things differently, or whether he had a faulty interpretation of the grounding law.

                Also, we don’t know whether World Rugby has an opinion on whether the ball was knocked on originally. If they are going to comment on contentious rulings, then we need chapter and verse.

                I’d like World rugby to make clear the following

                1. Based on the angles the TMO viewed, and the question put to him, should it have been ruled a try? (I’m guessing the answer is yes)
                2, Did the TMO rule the way he did because he misunderstood the law, or because he saw things differently?
                3. Did the TMO look at everything he should have looked at to make his decision?
                4. Does the video evidence indicate there was knock-on, which a reasonable TMO would have been able to see?
                5. Was it ultimately the wrong decision, or the right decision (for the wrong reasons)?

                I think you either don’t comment publicly, or make sure you walk through the whole process, so everyone can see what went right and what went wrong.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 5:20am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:20am | ! Report

                I don’t see that ball going clearly forward off the hand there NV.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 5:18pm
                cuw said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                it has been done before – probably leading to Joubert leaving the XVs scene.

                BUT the bigger issue i have is selective bias.

                how come there was no explanation about the Lions test 3?

                or when Georgia got screwed by Wales in the last minute scrum?

                or the way HIA protocols were cocked up by France in the first 6N match ?

                am sure there are many more involving officials.

                if players are subject to scrutiny with cards onfield as well as post match charges , then same shud apply to the officials.

                and as much as possible to all cases without here and there.

            • Roar Guru

              February 15th 2018 @ 4:01am
              Harry Jones said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:01am | ! Report

              The Boks don’t lose easily to England in SA. Nor at Twickers, really. It’s a matchup thing. A lot of what England currently does well, is EXACTLY what a traditional Saffa side does, in schools, varsity, club, and tests. So, it doesn’t work as well against SA as it does against OZ, for instance. You can tell me that history is history, and now is now, but I will say that Rassie’s Big Bad Boks won’t obey the narrative of being roadkill in South Africa. Even Coetzee’s Sad Little Boklings managed to see off Ireland and France in 2016-2017, in the Republic. If true, the reports have it that Rassie will start a front row of Kitshoff-Marx-Koch, with Beast-Bismarck-Wilco as subs, and we all know a second row of EE-Lood-PSDT won’t back down to England’s locks, and SA can choose a loose trio of quality.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 4:45am
                Harry Jones said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:45am | ! Report

                But…

                There are 8-9 Saffa scrumhalves playing in the Aviva, Top14 and Pro…

                All of them better than Ross Cronje…

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 5:18am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:18am | ! Report

                It doesn’t sound like Rassie will have any qualms about selecting European-based players en masse H. The tight five you describe is a formidable one which doesn’t weaken off the bench. Will he pick the Great Dane and Louw behind them too??

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 6:59am
                Harry Jones said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:59am | ! Report

                @NB

                I think it’s clear how highly Rassie rates Thor and Flo, and if they can get really fit and healthy, I am sure they are part of his 30 top Boks.

                But I am also sure he will give the new generation a fair chance to shine. There’s a few bolters and they’re almost all loose forwards.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                I love your never say die attitude, Harry. And all you say rings true, the Boks will have a formidable pack (including finishers on the bench). In that department, the Boks are second to none. The problems start with the backs. Even with overseas Boks included, I don’t think they can match any team that is above you in the rankings.

                From time to time, the Boks pack will put in a giant performance – like they did against the AB’s at Newlands last year – and get some wins even over the mighty AB’s, but I say it is impossible to play that kind of rugby week after week, it is too taxing.

                Right now Rassie might seem like the best thing since sliced bread was invented, but is he at the same level as Eddie Jones? Nope, he is not. Eddie will have his players ready for battle and tell them good night stories about Afrikaner rugby. The days when NH’s team came down south on a mixed holiday trip is gone.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm
                Fionn said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                Combrinck, le Roux, Frans Steyn in shape and form and Pollard would all be in with a good chance to make the Wallabies’ backline.

                How many of them would make the English 15? A couple at least, I would think.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 3:19pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Not saying there is no quality Saffa backs Fionn, just that they don’t have as many as the teams ahead of them have. Players like le Roux and Pollard better prove that they can play at the level they did four years ago before I start rating them again.

                And to get the backs to click and gel usually takes a lot more time than to get some grunt from the pack. SA have wasted two years, something the teams above and around them have not, and that will most likely cost them even if they have the right coach and select the best players.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm
                Fionn said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                SA still nearly managed to beat the Wallabies last year and came oh-so-close to defeating the All Blacks despite the abomination that their backline was, and the fact that Coetzee was in coaching. Seriously, Jantjies, Kriel, Rhule and Coetzee all proved to be liabilities last year. That’s 4 backline players whom there are clear and obvious better players to select in place of! I’m sure there must be a better halfback too??

                Imagine those performances last year with a significantly better backline and better coaching?

                If they can have those sorts of results with that backline and coaching, imagine their potential with a much better backline and better coaching.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 3:51pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                No doubt that SA has huge potential, but they have a lot of work to do before that potential is fulfilled. As said, they have thrown away two years, something their rivals have not. And they still have quotas to adjust to and picking players from Europe is far from ideal long term, hence the seasons are not in sync at all.

                And let us not forget that Australia did not exactly start the Test season flying out of the blocks after their horror showing in SR.
                I give the AB’s some slack also, they went through an extremely testing Lions series that cost them some extra fuel and no doubt affected their injury count (despite that they still put 50plus points on both OZ and SA, so maybe they can be excused for not coming 100 percent ready for battle in the return matches).
                On top of that SA got hammered by Ireland.

                SA will come good again, I am totally convinced of that, but I predict it will take a lot of time before it happens.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:54pm
                Suzy Poison said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

                I will be surprised if Rassie’s Boks beat a well coached team like England in South Africa. England must be seen as favourites. If I was to put money on the series, I would predict a 2-1 victory to England.
                The Bok forwards as Neutral and Harry have pointed out are good. The backs are a real problem. England have a massive advantage there. I have a gut feel Rassie will pick the backs around 10-12-15 axis of Pollard and Frans Steyn and Warrick Gelant (who showed enough on the end of year tour to see his potential) I am also looking for Gelant to shine under the mentorship of John Mitchell at the Bulls. Also South Africa can potentially select some gas on the wings. Seobela Sentala, Makazole Mapimpi, Sergeal Petersen so I guess a series win is possible. Boks backline problem start and finish at number 9. No idea who Rassie will go with? Louis Schreuder ? Dewaldt Duvenage? Jano Vermaak ?

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 6:30pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                A lot may also depend on who Rassie has around him, and how much say he has in the selection of his backroom team. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of bloke who would like to have a staff forced upon him.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 12:57pm
        Markie362 said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

        A lot of people are forgetting that nz has to play ireland the week before the england game and that could be good or bad for them.depending on injuries/suspensions

        • February 14th 2018 @ 1:20pm
          Jeff said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          The week after the England game, not before. I think Ireland will pose a bigger threat to the ABs anyway due to their better loosies. The English loosies look to be a few levels below NZ and their scrum is also not as strong as NZ’s. Ireland match up in both these areas a lot better imo.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 4:57pm
            cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            dude there is a good chance Eddie will send out Brad Shields against NZ . he is qualified.

            just for the effect 😀 and the fact that he playz the SH style game.

            I will say Shields , Underhill and Billy with Nathan Hughes or Michael Rhodes off the bench is a very good 3rd row.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:15pm
              Jeff said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

              There’s a reason why Shields isn’t an AB, he’s just not good enough. Having Billy (if he ever gets onto the field) and Shields together also gives the back row a rather pondering look. Billy is great going forward but does he have the speed to keep up with the AB loosies? Not sure.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:34pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                he would have been in the squad if not for going to EU. anyway u dont need to be an allblack to play for England 🙂

                maybe u have not seen the England 3rd row when Billy played ? – Haskell Robshaw Billy . 😛

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm
                Jeff said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                Damn that spell check. What was meant to be plodding somehow became pondering.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:52pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

                Shields will not be lining up against the ABs in November.
                Don’t underestimate the potential for Lawes to become a truly world class ‘6’, and Vunipola has developed into a world class ‘8’ already. His current injury is a fractured arm, so there’s no reason he should need a lot of time to get back to physical fitness once medically fit.
                The wild card is Simmonds. I think Jones might run him at 7. He’s got serious pace and you’d then have a balanced backrow each bringing something different. No extraordinary ball pilferer on the floor, but enough of that ability across the pack to compensate, particularly given recent law changes.

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 6:24pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

              The chance that Eddie will catapult Brad Shields straight into the starting lineup is close to zero CUW 😀

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:35pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

                i think he will do it just to create a situation.

                imagine the headlines and the attention.

                and IMO Shields is better than Haskell by any NZ country mile. maybe even better than Hughes ….

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:11pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

                Works like this Cuw, he’ll improve so much since he left NZ that they’ve made him test worthy in such a short time.😂

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:32am
                adastra32 said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:32am | ! Report

                Rhodes likewise.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm
                cuw said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                adastra32 said

                ” Rhodes likewise. ”

                really? Eddie could not wait to get guys like Underhill , Teo , … into the squad .

                when Teo just signed with Warriors he was straight in the squad ( before he was with Leinster and ineligible)

                same with Underhill – he was at Ospreys.

                then there is the convert Solomona. he is in the squad.

                Eddie has history. Rhodes is one of the best 6s in Europe. atm ineligible by residency.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:09pm
                adastra32 said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                T’eo fits your profile. Solomona does too but is peripheral unless injury strikes. Underhill doesn’t – he is young, English and has been on the radar for a long time; happened to go to uni in Wales and play for a Welsh team while there.

                Rhodes might be tempting for EJ but, IMO, he is too old to be anything other than a “we’re desperate” selection: increasingly, Eng is not desperate in any position (apart from 8 at the moment!) And if SA rugby selection now really opens up, I reckon his phone may start ringing….probably has already.

        • Columnist

          February 14th 2018 @ 6:23pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

          Wow that’s a tough two weeks at the tail end of your season.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 12:29pm
        CJ said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        Yes, the good Boks teams have also had world class runners to complement the kickers and the physical forwards; F Steyne (but could kick and run), Jacques F, Jean D, Joost and Habana (in particular) and Percy Montgomery. I don’t see anyone in the England backline with quite that same menace, one on one. And, what the ABs did was get their forwards to play like backs.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 14th 2018 @ 5:39am
      Conor Wilson said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:39am | ! Report

      Love this article Nick! Cheers! The kicking options England have are a very big tool to Englands belt. Especially against OZ last year. In regards to the make up of the back 3, I really like Daly on the wing with Watson and Brown at 15 for his positioning and defensive work. Is there any other wingers or combo you feel would offer more for England in that regard?

      I know Shag loves to use 2 full backs in his back 3 as the aerial game plus the counter is so important now, but do you think Englands back 3 are designed differently?

      • Columnist

        February 14th 2018 @ 10:25am
        Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Daly or May would be around 50/50 Conor, though Daly may get the nod for his long-range goal-kicking!

        Both of those plus Watson and Nowell all have full-back experience (even Johnny May for Glaws a coupla years back) so they copy the NZ model.

    • February 14th 2018 @ 6:08am
      P2R2 said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      …..England know they are good, because they have won two consecutive Six Nations Championships and 24 of their 25 games under Eddie Jones. That compares favourably even with New Zealand’s own outstanding record of 24 wins, two defeats and own draw since the last World Cup….

      I think the better perspective is that since 2011 the ABs have had only 3 losses (Aus x2 & BIL x1) and the draw….that makes it more impressive although the ABs don’t need to state that…

      • February 14th 2018 @ 9:05am
        Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Think you’ll find since 2011 they’ve also lost to SA and England and Ireland.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 9:34am
          Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Neil how do rate this side performances vs 2016

          • February 14th 2018 @ 9:48am
            Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            Not sure what you mean Highlander?

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:01am
              Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

              England better this year or last?

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am
                Rugby Fan said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                For my part, i think we are better, but more likely to lose matches.

                We are better, because we’ve looked at more players over the last twelve months, and some of them look like they can step up for a World Cup. Although Jones claimed he wanted to get the English scrum back on top, it’s never looked that good to me during his tenure. The last couple of games have been an improvement.

                We are more likely to lose matches, because our breakdown work is still patchy. When Ireland beat us last year, we couldn’t get our hands on the ball. When Wales started to hang on to possession, they looked much more of a threat. Scotland and Ireland can cause us similar problems, and if France learn to cut out the penalties (and we don’t) then they’ll hurt us too.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:07am
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                And speaking of the scrum here is Eng and Georgia in a training session.

                https://youtu.be/56jyIj4tt8w

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:00am
                Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

                Given it’s 2018, I’m assuming you mean Eddie’s first year (2016) compared where we are now.

                I think we’ve stalled a little in our development.

                I think the majority of his matchday squad for next year’s RWC have been in his mind for a while now, but with a Lions year and injuries and suspensions, he’s struggling to achieve intuitive, problem solving players working within structures everyone recognises, that a reasonably consistent playing group better allows. And he’s already running out of time to catch up a team like NZ who have always been doing that.

                Player-wise, Eddie’s continued to bring new (and exciting) players into the playing group which is great, but you’d have to assume a lot of those guys are being developed for his team beyond the RWC.

                On the plus side, the team continues to find ways to win when it’s all going less than right, which is a quality all championship aspiring teams have to have.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 1:42pm
                Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                thanks gents

                they are certainly a resiliant side that is far better equipped to stay in games and win under duress than they were pre jones.
                are they continuing to develop season on season, proabably not and i wonder if they are now so invested in this 23/24 ? run that they are protecting that rather than risking anything new.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 2:00pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

                Thanks for the scrum-clip with the Georgian boys ClarkeG.

                Wow, those Georgians pretty impressive at scrum time. Have seen a few scrum-clips with the Georgians U20, and they walk over everyone pretty much.

                Smart move by Eddie this, hence the AB’s scrum at the moment is the best I have ever seen. The AB’s did not lose one scrum during 2017, still, they fly under the radar a bit (but not under Eddie’s radar).

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:02pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

                hence the reason WALES screwed them when they played last – and im yet to see any investigation of that one from the Powers that be.

                most of their guys are in France.

                also interesting to note how the scrums went in Eng v Wal match – as they had practiced together last year , just the scrums and lineouts.

                however there was complaints the ground used was not so conducive for proper fight.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:30pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                To Clarke (below)

                Thanks for the Georgia video Clarke. Nice to see Harry Willliams in a destruction derby against that devil Narishvili!

                And what the hell was Lawes doing boxing on the sideline? 😀

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:48pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                Lawes on light duties apparently.

                I see Wayne Barnes there as well giving the scrum penalties.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:23pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

                @ CG

                ‘England learnt lessons from Georgia’ – Eddie Jones

                http://www.planetrugby.com/news/england-learnt-lessons-from-georgia-eddie-jones/

    • February 14th 2018 @ 6:19am
      Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:19am | ! Report

      Just another end of year game in the scheme of things Nick, given importance this time because England have a good chance I believe.

      I think Hansen will have something spare for it but the main matches are the June series, bled, and the RC as usual.

      For me there’s more to gain losing than winning this match and personally, With the huge and increasing migration of talent Hansen needs to be realistic… gone are the days the ABs think can win them all bar a hiccup as in the past.

      I’d send a near full seconds team to the AIs and focus on next year, plus we don’t even know who will be available by November as the World Cup squad will be known largely by then, leading to another exodus.

      If the northern clubs want to gut our playing levels at the rate they are they can play the lower levels. No point sending teams over where there are more chequebooks waiting at the airport than fans.

      Give us the equivalent 75-0 er England got for sending a b team to oz and the French sent in 07 before the Wcup and be done with it.

      No longer should the ABs pull out the stops for everyone anymore, join the rag trade where there are friendlys.

      On the match I thought England were poor and created little outside the two they got. England are going back to the kicking pressure game we all know and love and without the ABs to stop them I fear we are going to have a period of England dominating the game while they keep everyone else’s resources hidden in the castles dungeons.

      It’s no longer about ability, it’s about availability.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 7:44am
        Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        It is never acceptable for the All Blacks to even consider not winning.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 8:01am
          taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

          That’s because that has always been within our control. AB success is built heavily on its ability to provide depth in most positions.

          If that depth is being removed from the equation constantly, we no longer have that control. We need to adapt, and that includes picking our battles.

          ABs will not continue to win with the percentages they do with the resources being plundered they way they are now. That is the reality.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 9:25am
            Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

            Its also a state of mind by a team and country – all part of the lengend/mythology which goes to the very ethos of what the All Black are
            Much much more than just a rugby team to me, what it stands for is also much more important than money – its a much lesser world when excellence is crushed for profit.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:06am
              Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Well said

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:28am
              taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

              Exactly, but its becoming an option not to aspire to be an AB. When has that ever be the case in the numbers we have now.

              Heres your statement:

              “The AB’s are much much more than just a rugby team to me, what it stands for is also much more important than money – its a much lesser world when excellence is crushed for profit.”

              Can you see Cruden, Faumuina, Kerr Barlow uttering those words now?

              That state of mind is being well and truly compromised. Not by fans, but by the players.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:06am
                Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                My 4 grandkids believe because we keep the lengend alive
                NZRU is already begun working out how to let players take sabbaticals – make a quick million, give the body a lighter season and most importantly not be completely lost to NZ.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:19pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                Yes I saw that, sounds desperate but probably necessary. It’ll certainly lift the standard of the NZ players over there from the vacationers If they know they’re coming back.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:51pm
                ThugbyFan said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                G’day TM, you can add in G.Moala and L.Sopoaga to that list. They are leaving NZ for the gold up in the North.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:07pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                Seta Tamanivalu , Brad Shields , Liam Messam , Taqele Naiyaravoro 🙂

              • Roar Rookie

                February 14th 2018 @ 5:07pm
                piru said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                Personally, and this may sound a bit judgmental but, if you choose to go chase the dollars in Europe rather than try for a Black Jersey – I don’t want you in it anyway.

                It’s supposed to be hard to obtain, it’s supposed to be the top rung.

                The situation is different for those who’ve already proven themselves and negotiate a break (Carter and his sabbaticals) but they still need to prove they are the best when they return.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:24pm
                Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Me too – go enjoy the money.
                NZ rugby will give us a younger faster better one anyway who has the desire.
                Most player careers are not that long if the ABs can hold them for the 3-5 years that they are at peak we will be fine.
                And when all else fails i can always watch Southland play NPC – Ranfurly Shield this was my childhood – I was there to see us beat France in 1989 and it is still one of the best games i have attended in 50 years of rugby standing beside my 1934 All Black grandfather – this is where the diehard is born and raised.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 8:10pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

                Thanks Peter – good memories.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:34pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                To you comment below Tman.

                I don’t think it’s a desperate plan on the part of the NZRFU to target individual clubs with good cultures for player sabbaticals, in fact it’s a very clever move…

                Just a way of working with the modern rugby world in England and France and still ‘remotely controlling’ your own nationals….

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:14am
                Fin said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:14am | ! Report

                Nick,
                They should form partnerships with European clubs whereby European players can also come down and experience some super rugby. Do some reciprocal player loans between clubs.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:19pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

                Yes I get it Nick. Still means we don’t have them for Super rugby. Don’t know if I’m interested in seeing these irregularities you get from the north…Drew Mitchell and Franz Steyn for example turning up for test duty with tummies full of pies.

                And I don’t trust the clubs ability to keep a critical AB at AB levels for two seasons. Have yet to see that happen.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:50pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

                Gregor Paul in NZH completely hammered the idea that the NZR/AB’s could arrange something special with a select few clubs in England and France. And Paul is usually very careful with criticism towards NZR.

                Not easy to say or predict how it will play out, but to expect English and Frech clubs bend over backward to NZR’s demands, and pay the highest salaries ever in the rugby world, is a tad optimistic. Right now the clubs in France and England are just waiting for the final push that will lead to star-AB’s comes to them by there own will, with no NZR in the middle. My guess is that this push will happen after the World Cup in Japan.

                If there was a way to merge Super Rugby (at least the Kiwi and OZ teams) with the Japanese Top 14 and create some kind of JANZAR, then I could see this kind of idea work, hence NZR would be involved at all levels in the competition and would be partners with Japanese clubs/regions that would rent/hire AB’s players.

                Not saying this would be easy in any way to iron out, but the main focus for NZR should be to keep the players at least in a competition that they are involved, that is played in a NZ friendly time zone, and also give the NZ public a chance to see these players live regularly.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:10pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:10pm | ! Report

                Got link to Paul’s article NV?

                To Tman (above)…

                There aren’t any fat blokes playing for Leinster or Exeter or Glasgow or Scarlets 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 11:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

                Sure do mate:

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11989674

                The title of the article is pretty telling: The stunning arrogance of New Zealand Rugby

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 10:31am
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

              Much much more than just a rugby team to me, what it stands for is also much more important than money – its a much lesser world when excellence is crushed for profit.

              Great mission statement – thanks Peter…

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:20am
                Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

                Thanks Nic – i really enjoy the roar forums and your articles atrract good debate – keep it coming Thx

              • February 14th 2018 @ 12:01pm
                Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                Its what B Thorn is instilling at the Reds – the fans deserve total commitment when you enter the pitch – nothing else acceptable or accepted

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:51am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:51am | ! Report

                Thanks for that NV (link above) – not quite sure where the ‘arrogance’ comes in though, seems like a reasonable proposal!?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:23am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:23am | ! Report

                I am still sitting on the fence on this one NB. I do acknowledge that NZR has to do something different/new, but what the best option is, we shall see. I am leaning more towards a solution with Japan as the sugar daddy.

                I guess from your perspective, it must be a pretty tempting idea to work with Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane et al for a couple of seasons? Top up Leinster with a couple of AB’s in their prime, and you would walk through ECC to the final almost.

      • Columnist

        February 14th 2018 @ 10:30am
        Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        I’d send a near full seconds team to the AIs and focus on next year, plus we don’t even know who will be available by November as the World Cup squad will be known largely by then, leading to another exodus.

        I don’t see them giving the black jersey away so easily Tman, or yielding England any potential psychological edge going into 2019.

        The rest of your post sounds a little world-weary and embittered – maybe if England lose a coupla matches in the remainder of the 6N it will make the country less attractive as a destination for SH boys! 😀

        • February 14th 2018 @ 11:29am
          Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          I don’t see them giving the black jersey away so easily Tman, or yielding England any potential psychological edge going into 2019.

          Clearly it doesnt tho Nick. The ABs lost to Aus in 2011 and in 2015 prior to both WCs and went on to win both beating Aus comfortably at both,, so I see very little hanging on the Eng V ABs in 2018. If anything a loss helps more than a win…….Or as Tman said, send in a reserves AB team….A loss would prove nothing and a win would demoralise England

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

            The AB’s did that in 2002 sent a (bluddy good) reserve team to England on tour and got beat in a shoot-out.

            They then lost to the same opponents with their first XV in Wellington. Now remind me, who won the 2003 WC?

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:47pm
              Council said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

              Do you not think that was just a loss to a better team?

              It sounds like you’re grasping at straws with this comment.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 9:27pm
              Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

              That kinda proves the point tho Nick…..Tests before the WC have very little bearing on WC outcomes…..NZ is on their end of year tour and have nothing to prove…Lose , win who cares a week after? The WC is far more important than any game in 2018

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:57am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:57am | ! Report

                In truth, neither you nor I nor Council have any idea how it will affect chances at a WC one year later.

                But generally pro coaches prefer to win rather than lose whatever the occasion, and the thought process behind sending a second team will simply not be entertained.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:31pm
              Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

              It’s actually the exception to the rule winning up to and including the World Cup as England did.

              87 ABs were terrible in 86, 91 Wallabies lost to the ABs 8 weeks before the final. SA lost 3 tests in 94, Oz lost to SA and NZ 2 and 3 months before 99 final.

              Boks lost the RC, last in 07, ABs in 2011 lost to SA and Oz and NZ lost to Oz in 15.

              So it largely pays to lose this year, can’t recall if there are tests before next years Cup.😁

        • February 14th 2018 @ 11:46am
          Bluesfan said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Well in the last 12 months we have lost or are losing:

          Faumunia
          Cruden
          Sopaga
          Ngatai
          Brad Shields
          Kerr-Barlow
          George Moala
          Elliott (rumoured to be negotiating with European Clubs)
          James Lowe
          Steven Luatua
          Malakai Fekitoa
          Rene Ranger

          All effectively international class players – who whilst might not be in the first 15 of the AB’s – would be next pick.

          AB’s are getting hollered out and it’s only going to take an injury to someone like Barrett, for everyone to realize that NZ’s onshore depth is not as great as it is.

          As a commercial idea – maybe the NZRFU should set up an AB “B” side composed only of offshore players and play in the Nth Hemisphere – maybe even gain entrance into the 6 nations ? Question would be where they would place – my bet between 2nd and 3rd place!

          • February 14th 2018 @ 5:12pm
            cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

            u missed Seta Tamanivalu , Hika Elliot , Pita Ahki (7S team) and Piers Francis 😛

            not forgetting Rennie and Boyd the coaches 😀

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 6:40pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            As a commercial idea – maybe the NZRFU should set up an AB “B” side composed only of offshore players and play in the Nth Hemisphere – maybe even gain entrance into the 6 nations ? Question would be where they would place – my bet between 2nd and 3rd place!

            This is effectively what SARU have done by placing the Cheetahs and Kings in the Pro 14. Forget about how weak they are as teams, they are professional beachheads in NH club competition, and the South Africans can choose to make them far stronger if they want to – both via home-grown players and attracting off-contract South Africans already playing in Europe.

            But I think the entry point is definitely through the Celtic tournament, I cannot see a foreign-based side gaining entry to the Top 14 or EPL, it goes against all their principles!

            They want to buy your players off you, not give you a platform to keep em!!

          • February 14th 2018 @ 7:37pm
            Peter Kelly said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

            Cruden is the only true loss – the rest are replaceable with those who desire it more.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 10:37am
              Jeff said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Faumaina is also a massive loss. He’s one of the few International quality frontrowers from NZ who is also a good ball carrier. Fidow and Moli look promising but they are not ready yet and may not be ready in time for the RWC either.

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 11:58am
          Poth Ale said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          Besides which, the NZ players leaving like Cruden, Faumuina, and Kerr Barlow are going to France not England.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 1:30pm
            Bluesfan said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

            Yes but Sopaga, Shields and Luatua are off to/in the the UK – With Shields potentially playing for England.

            Lowe – went to Ireland.

            Elliott – think is off to Northhampton

            Ngatai, Fekitoa and Moala – all off to enjoy things in France – can think of worse places to play in the world.

            So don’t worry, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all getting their fair share of players.

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 6:44pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

              As both PA and I have pointed out in previous articles, England and France probably take 90% of the top imports from New Zealand.

              In Ireland, Wales and Scotland they are like drops in the ocean of home-grown talent. James Lowe is not even first choice at Leinster, let alone Ireland in three years time. If you have Joe Schmidt a choice between Lowe and Jordan Larmour, I suspect he’d take Larmour anyway…

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqjetoF55NE

              • February 15th 2018 @ 6:02am
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:02am | ! Report

                Well he doesn’t have the choice over Larmour and Lowe yet – as Lowe has yet to qualify for Ireland.

                But your comment “like drops in the Ocean” seriously?

                Who were two of Wales better players on Saturday – Anscombe and H Parkes?
                Ireland – Bundee Aki, CJ Stander ?
                Scotland – how many of their squad to play the AB’s in last November was foreign born (circa 25%) and qualified via residency/grandparent rule – Maitland etc.

                Dops in the Ocean? What would happen to Scotland if the grandparent rule is
                removed and/or residency is moved up to 7+ years – would they even be able to put out a team that could compete in the 6 nations.

                Seriously if you took out all the foreign players from the Pro 14 comp – how good would they be?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 10:35am
                Poth Ale said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

                Nic was talking about top NZ players. You were referring specifically to top NZ players.

                We’ve provided the foreign player figures before. On a number of occasions.

                There’s 18 NZ born players in Ireland. Inc those with Irish parents/gparents. There’s 258 players in the four squads. That’s 7%. If you take out the likes of Carbery, Reidy, McCoy, etc it’s 13 inc Fiji-capped Nacewa – that’s 5%. Only one of them has been capped for NZ – Piutau. Drops in the ocean of homegrown talent.

                There’s 98 SANZAAR players amongst the 660 players in the PRO12 clubs of four unions.

                If they all inexplicably left in the morning, life would go on.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 7:30pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Aki, Stander, Parkes were all qualified through the residency rules at they stood at the time. Anscombe’s mother is Welsh, Maitland has a Scottish grandparent.

                Those are (or were) the rules, so what exactly are you complaining about, and who should you be directing your complaints to?

                Of those you mention, only Stander would be a definite first choice with everyone fit for Ireland, Scotland and Wales. And even he could comfortably be replaced by Jack Conan without Ireland losing too much (if anything at all).

            • Roar Guru

              February 15th 2018 @ 10:06am
              Poth Ale said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              I thought you were referring to top quality AB players. One-cap Ngatai said he’s leaving for France because of his ongoing concussion issues. He said you never know when your career is going to finish.

              Uncapped James Lowe left for similar reasons due to his ongoing arthritis issues to Leinster. He’s club level at best. Not good enough for ABs with his current defensive issues which Leinster are working on. He’ll be a good club player and hopefully be able to see out his 3-year contract before moving on.

              Sopoaga, Luatua and Shields are moving to England.

              This may change but i reckon it’s highly unlikely that there’ll be a recently capped NZ or Aus player under 32 in the PRO 14 next season.

              All the high quality ABs will be in France and to a lesser extent England.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 10:18am
                Fionn said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

                ‘He said you never know when your career is going to finish.’

                I think that’s really the crux of the issue.

                These players have a relatively small window to earn their fortunes (and they’re not fortunes compared to, say, European soccer players).

                I don’t feel particularly badly for someone who “only” earns $200,000 a year in Aus as opposed to $400,000 in the UK, Japan or France, but I equally can’t blame players for going.

                In fact, I think the Honey Badger’s situation is an example of how positive it can be—he went to France in order to build up more savings in the hope that he could afford more treatments for his father’s terminal illness, from memory, as well as look after his family.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 10:39am
                Poth Ale said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Exactly Fionn. And moving to France or England where average salaries are 20% or more higher than PRO14 is a big driver too for their destination.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:05am
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                Tell me what happens when an AB gets injured – that’s where your depth comes into play. If the likes of Ngatai etc leave – what happens to our depth.

                Currently if Barrett goes – who do we have McKenzie/Mounga? Kids who have played 1 year at Super Level @ 10 (Mounga) and McKenzie only at age group.

                Whilst overseas – you have Cruden, Sopaga, Slade – all of whom walk walk into either the run on side or general squads for the 6 Nations teams.

                That’s 3 World Class Players unavailable to NZ.

                In regards your point -“There’s 98 SANZAAR players amongst the 660 players in the PRO12 clubs of four unions.”

                Well if they all left – yes life would go on, but generally foreign players are contracted because their is not the available local talent. So effectively 15% of your elite player base within the PRO12 is SANZAR players. Reality is losing that number of your top players results/quality of play would only be in one direction.

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 7:10pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

                Cruden, Sopoaga and Colin Slade do affect NZ’s depth at 10 without a doubt – but they all play in France or England.

                And that’s the point – Ireland, Wales and Scotland have done nothing to deplete All Black depth because the players they have signed could easily be replaced. Even the best of them (Charles Piutau) happened in a position where the ABs have an abundance of options – as this thread has amply demonstrated.

                Aki and Lowe and Maitland don’t deplete you at all, because they would not even be fringe ABs. You’ve centres and wings coming out of your ears! 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                February 16th 2018 @ 5:30am
                Poth Ale said | February 16th 2018 @ 5:30am | ! Report

                Blues fan: generally foreign players are contracted because their is not the available local talent. So effectively 15% of your elite player base within the PRO12 is SANZAR players. Reality is losing that number of your top players results/quality of play would only be in one direction.

                Not quite accurate. Because there is not sufficient local talent and/or where local talent would benefit/learn from playing alongside someone more experienced/talented. Each of the four unions has a limited number of teams from 2-4 teams in each union. With test players time restricted or unavailable, squads are supplemented with foreign players. Not all the SANZAAR players are top quality. Many of them are average to good. Some of them are poor. A small few are very good. .

                I’ll continue to use Ireland as the example since it has the most NZ born players of the four unions. Tom McCartney, Jake Heenan in Connacht have long passed residency qualification. Not selected for Ireland though. Heenan is now moving to Bristol. Robertson McCoy, Ahki, and Ili are bit part players also in Connacht. Bundee Aki is the exception there.

                Rodney Ah You and Reidy in Ulster are so-so. Piutau hasn’t set the world on fire, is leaving anyway and is now injured and has probably played his last game for Ulster. Payne has been injured since Lions and may not play again. He’s currently helping out on the coaching sidelines. I presume he’ll stay because he’s put down roots in Belfast and married local.

                Lowe arrived a season early at Leinster – he was meant to replace Nacewa, but Luke Fitzgerald’s forced retirement sped things up. He’s got plenty of competition in the back three but will be available when others are on test duty. He’s a good player with some defensive issues that need work. Is he essential? Many would argue that he’s not given Leinster stocks. Fiji-capped Nacewa is 35. He’ll be a big miss – top quality player.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 7:29am
                Bluesfan said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

                So your argument is if you lose 15% of your playing base – the quality of your teams would not decline by a large amount?

                So why if these SANZAR players are only so so in quality – why do you contract them – for their accents?

                What I laugh about with you and Nicolas is that somehow all these SANZAR players have not boosted Nth Hemisphere rugby etc.

                Players who were picked – would not have being in the AB Radar – well actually i remember the AB Coach being unhappy at both Aki and Payne’s moving offshore.

                Why – because they are quality players and with further development e.g. Aki – how do you know that he would not be in the frame of the AB’s.

                Reality is that your rugby is and has being rubbish for years and it’s only now with deeper pockets that you are buying up players, having people specifically employed to track people via Grandparent rule (Scotland) and/or residency rule.

                What’s the Wales and Irish results – 28-1 & 31-3 – between the two that’s a winning ratio of 6% – that accurately reflects just how good you are at the game.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 7:23pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

                Reality is that your rugby is and has being rubbish for years and it’s only now with deeper pockets that you are buying up players, having people specifically employed to track people via Grandparent rule (Scotland) and/or residency rule.

                Best to draw a polite veil over that one I think 😀

                All of the Celtic nations have tried to improve their lot from within the rules provided by the IRB/WR. Are you saying they should not do that, but only follow your own specific set of rules as a Kiwi supporter??

                Maybe you should publish those rules, then we’ll all know where we’re going wrong!

                (And P.S – Jared Payne was nowhere near AB consideration when he moved to Ireland.)

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2018 @ 1:02am
                Poth Ale said | February 17th 2018 @ 1:02am | ! Report

                So your argument is if you lose 15% of your playing base – the quality of your teams would not decline by a large amount?

                That’s not my argument. You asked what would happen if they all left the PRO12. I replied that life would go on. Because other players would come in. You seem to assume that there’s no development of domestic players happening. The opposite is the case – Ireland started it about 3-4 years ago ramping up their academies so that there’s now 80 academy players across the four provinces. That’s where players such as James Ryan, Andrew Porter, and Jordan Larmour have emerged from.

                So why if these SANZAR players are only so so in quality – why do you contract them – for their accents?
                As I explained above, they are a mixture. Some are average to good. Some are poor. Some are very good. The very good players add to the quality of the squad and help develop other domestic players. The average to good ones because they’re available when the test players are not. The poor ones are eventually moved on or contracts not renewed.

                What I laugh about with you and Nicolas is that somehow all these SANZAR players have not boosted Nth Hemisphere rugby etc.
                You keep seeing a slight or criticism of SANZAR players that’s not there. Of course, the SANZAR players add to the teams in PRO12 – all I’m pointing out is that some do more than others.

                Players who were picked – would not have being in the AB Radar – well actually i remember the AB Coach being unhappy at both Aki and Payne’s moving offshore.
                Why – because they are quality players and with further development e.g. Aki – how do you know that he would not be in the frame of the AB’s.

                I didn’t make any comment on Aki, other than to say that he’s the exception in Connacht of the NZ players they have. He decided to move to Connacht with Pat Lam’s encouragement. He got a contract renewal, and then qualified on residency for selection. His performance was good enough to be included in the squad. He’s one of a half-dozen midfielders for Schmidt. Good on him.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 1:57pm
            rebel said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            It does appear most kiwis head to France, whereas most aussies go to England. The only two I could find going to England were brad Shields and Lima Sopoaga

            • Roar Guru

              February 14th 2018 @ 2:24pm
              Rugby Fan said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

              We do get NZ coaches. Currently, Blackadder (Bath) and Coventry (London Irish). London Irish will go down, but Lam could be up with Bristol next year, while Boyd will be with Saints.

              However, the last time a New Zealand coach won the Premiership title was Warren Gatland in 2005. Since then, winning coaches have been French (St Andre), English (Cockerill, Baxter, Mallinder), Irish (McCall, O’Shea), Scottish (McGeechan) and Australian (Pat Howard).

              Southern hemisphere coaches take time to adapt to the demands of Premiership rugby, and sometimes just can’t manage it. Pat Howard had the advantage of knowing the league and club as a player Then again, that didn’t help Aaron Mauger, but Leicester didn’t really give him time.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm
                rebel said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                Interesting trends

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:29pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

                since they introduced the final match

                2003 , Wasps Gloucester

                2004 , Wasps Bath

                2005 – Wasps Leicester

                2006 Sale Leicester

                2007 Leicester Gloucester

                2008 Wasps Leicester

                2009 , Leicester London Irish

                2010 Leicester Saracens

                2011 Saracens Leicester

                2012 Harlequins Leicester

                2013 Leicester Northampton

                2014 Northampton Saracens

                2015 , Saracens Bath

                2016 Saracens Exeter

                2017 Exeter Wasps

                2018 Exeter ?

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

                Yeah, You have northern coaches in the 6N too but they haven’t won since 2011. They have difficulty getting selected to coach at that level and when they do they take time to adjust to the demands of 6N rugby, and sometimes just can’t manage it. They might ride in off the coat tails and nab one when the master is off to higher duties but really, they’re just not up to it.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 6:14pm
                Rugby Fan said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                I think you mean Wales in 2013. Easy to overlook that when you don’t bother to follow the game in the North.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:33pm
                Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

                Of course we follow the game in the North…Thats where half our players are

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                Rugby, what do you think the coat tails comment was for. Gats gave him the title while on Lions duty. I think I know more than you think…though that shouldn’t surprise.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:08am
                Rugby Fan said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:08am | ! Report

                Before the 2013 Championship, Howley had sole control of Wales for longer than Gatland in 2008 and Jones in 2016. On your reading, it makes as much, if not more, sense to say their victories were owed to their predecessors.

                Best give full credit to Howley, or you’ll have to add Gatland to the list of coaches who have lost to Japan.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 3:53pm
          Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          They already are giving the jersey away Nick.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 1:44pm
        Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

        Ah well.

        Only another 19 months of this incessant whining, as the wicked child catcher of the North ensnares all these poor, tricked, unwilling, unknowing All Blacks with offers of sweeties and lollies.

        Only another 19 months of these poor, tricked, unwilling, unknowing All Blacks having their escape home thwarted by their parent’s foot against the door

        Only another 19 months of you bullet proofing yourself against any future losses and polishing the chrome off any future wins to make them even shinier.

        Only another 19 months …….

        • February 14th 2018 @ 2:40pm
          aussikiwi said | February 14th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Or you could spare yourself a tortuous 19 months by sticking to English sites where you could join your kindred spirits in incessant moaning about the entire kiwi nation.

          Win-win!

        • February 14th 2018 @ 4:23pm
          Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          All could have been avoided if you’re lot weren’t so useless Neil. Personally I’d be embarrassed but there you go, you’re here in full colour representing them.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm
          Bluesfan said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

          Actually here is a great question for you – what first string English Rugby player is currently unavailable to play for England as they are playing overseas?

          Must be nice for England to be able to play against the Southern Hemisphere teams – and when they beat them, tell us about what a great side they are – of course excluding the fact that between Oz, AB and SA offshore players you could put together a side that would win the 6 Nations in a canter.

          Mmmm thinking of a back line – Nick White, Colin Slade, Nonu, Smith, Piatutu, maybe throw in James Low what about some Matt Toomua. Actually if Slade is off his game, maybe I would put in Cruden – actually no – maybe I should select Sopoaga.

          Forwards – mmm like the look of that Bismarck D.P – do you think he is good as Hartley? By the way what’s it like having as your national captain a Kiwi – oh well, if you can’t beat them – buy them up!

          • Roar Guru

            February 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

            By the way what’s it like having as your national captain a Kiwi – oh well, if you can’t beat them – buy them up!

            Did “England” buy Hartley, or did he move to England when he was 16 years old, has an English mother and has gone from junior to senior in the English “system”?

            And you handsomely forget about all the advantages NZ has had (and still have) over England, hence the English players are not centrally contracted, they play more games every year, have less downtime, and overall has much less time together than the AB’s.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 6:04pm
              Bluesfan said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

              Rotorua boys school and Captain of the 1st 15 if I recall and then picked up by the UK System.

              Parents still live in Rotorua – farmers if I recall.

              Love your last point – how exactly does that refute my point around the number of players the AB can-not select under their current system and how much that disadvantages them?

              Again remind me – how many players can England not select because they are playing overseas – I know let’s look at the Super Comp and i can see one – G. Parling for the Melbourne Rebels.

              Obviously not being able to select that 1 Player is obviously comparable to the situation that NZ, Oz and SA face.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:49pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                Nic Abandonen , Swan diver , Armitage bros, perhaps Ryan Lamb and Carl Ferns

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:14pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

                England can’t select Ashton, Strettle, Abendanon, the Armitage brothers, and Parling. With the exception of Cruden and Sopoaga (who hasn’t left yet) they’re as near to the England 23 as some of the names whined about here.
                They couldn’t select Haskell when he was away, and it looks like Cipriani who Jones has said is his third choice 10 might be off to France in the summer.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 7:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

                Love your last point – how exactly does that refute my point around the number of players the AB can-not select under their current system and how much that disadvantages them?

                Just a little friendly reminder that England does not hold all the aces, even if you and couple of others try very hard to convince both yourself and the rest of the world.

                You seriously believe that the “English system” drafted Hartley when he was 16 years old? If so, I understand it is easy for you to come up with all type of conspiracies how the Big Bad NH is working overtime to punish NZ (or whatever way you like to describe it).

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:47pm
                cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                ” it looks like Cipriani who Jones has said is his third choice 10 might be off to France in the summer.”

                its not might – he is off and said so.

                http://www.planetrugby.com/news/danny-cipriani-to-leave-wasps/

                but when was the last time the 3rd choice take the field for England??

                he has not been in the squad for like – i cant even remember 😀

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:29pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

                So the ‘UK rugby system’ picked him up from the Rotorua school system? The authoritative way in which Kiwis spout drivel about the ‘North’ is hilarious. Putting aside the small fact that there isn’t a ‘U.K. rugby system’ Hartley, packed his bags to move to England where his Mum’s extended family lived at 16. It had nothing to do with rugby and he pitched up at Northampton later off the street to try out – they’d, obviously never heard of him – what with the Rotorua school system not looming quite as large in English thinking as Kiwis seem to think.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 5:52am
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:52am | ! Report

                “just a little friendly reminder that England does not hold all the aces, even if you and couple of others try very hard to convince both yourself and the rest of the world.”

                Oh so the English players have it tough right – well here is an idea – player a game in Winter in Christchurch, then jump on a plane the following morning and flying to sunny Brisbane, then jump on another plane and fly to SA and play a game on the high Veldt and then to top it off – feel free to fly to anyone of Argentina, Japan or Singapore.

                Yea – the Sth Hemisphere players have it so easy – must be tough to fly from London to the South of France to play a game – what’s the flight time?

                No – I don’t think England recruited Hartley – but I just find it amusing that someone who is a Kiwi is captaining England. Just like all those England players playing in the Sth Hemisphere – didn’t you know Tana Umaga was actually born in Finsbury Park in London.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:23pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                You are right Bluesfan. Travelling in business class with your mates to Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, and Tokyo to play rugger and be taken care of with top-notch all included hotels and restaurants sounds like very hard work. I am sure you would not sign up for that kind of “slave-life”… And to make it even worse, if you hit some form and play some good footy, you might even qualify for the AB’s.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:38am
                rebel said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

                You’re correct Funbus. Now we should not hear about incessant claims of NZRU offering islander school kids scholarships.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                So Neutral,

                Have you actually ever played Rugby at any decent level – because if you think:

                “travelling in business class with your mates to Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, and Tokyo to play rugger and be taken care of with top-notch all included hotels and restaurants sounds like very hard work.”

                That really just shows real ignorance of what it takes to fly 16 hours, across multiple time zones and play Rugby Union at the highest level.

                Why do you think the Crusaders victory last year was so astounding – fly 16 hours with stop over, 24 hour time difference, play on the veldt e.g. no time for acclimatization and still win?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:54pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

                I know that jet lag and traveling can be very taxing, but it is not harder than actually play rugby, not even close. And the fact remains, the NH players spend more minutes on the paddock, and at Test level, they have less time together to prepare, and they have much shorter downtime and holidays. So the main point very much stands, NZR holds a lot of aces, something you keep on ignoring and instead play the victim on behalf of NZR.

                I have played ice hockey at a pretty decent level, so I know a thing or two about contact sports if you wonder about that. What about you Bluersfan? What level of rugby have you played at, since you claim authority?

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                Less travel involved in one playing their rugby in Europe however, I seem to vaguely recall, has in the past been mentioned as part of the equation when weighing up moves to Europe.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

                For a family-father, less and shorter travel is most likely a big up. But I repeat myself, playing rugby (or ice hockey, MMA or any contact sport) is much more taxing on the body than flying in business class. Quite remarkable that I have to repeat something so obvious on a forum where many claims to know a thing or two about rugby (and contact sports).

                Maybe it is human nature to not see the advantages that come with birth, genes or culture and only see the disadvantages.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 6:34pm
                MitchO said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                I heard that alot of plane travel to play contact sport does shorten the career of the traveller. That is a theory the AFL people were talking about. there must be a study on it somewhere by now. Surely getting on the plane after the match has to harm recovery?

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 7:11pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

                No doubt is not great for the recovery with too much air travel, but still… for the last time I hope, competing in compact sports is far worse than air travel. No two ways around that. Those extra hours that SH players spend in the air is far less damaging for the body than to play between 500-1000 extra minutes of top-level rugby that the NH players do each year.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:16pm
                MitchO said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

                I don’t know how any of the players either north or south handle playing that many matches. I think a lot ice baths

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                Ice baths are very central for recovery (even if there are new studies that say they maybe are not as beneficial as some like to believe, we shall see, I want more proof before I give up my ice baths after a hard work out). I believe a lot of teams works with “the reversed sauna” (don’t remember what is called) where you stand in minus 150-200 Celsius for 30-60 seconds.

                Massage, healthy food and rest (both deep and active rest) are other cornerstones. The real grey area is the mental fatigue I believe. To get in “match mode” mentally in a contact sport is many times more taxing than the actual beatings the body take.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:43pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

                Well I never claimed anything to be fair so hope you’re not including me there Swede but I know what you mean about repeating yourself.

                I feel the same way about Anscombes obvious grounding of the ball.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 3:21pm
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

                So Neutral,

                Let’s just understand that for a man with an opinion on all things Rugby related, you haven’t even played Rugby – but hey the argument “I’ve played Ice Hockey”.

                Excuse me while I laugh – I bet that helps in your analysis of Scrum or lineout play right? Wow an expert who has not even played the game?

                For me – I started at age 5 at Waikane Rugby club- moved to first 15 rugby for my College and then played Club Seniors in Nth Harbour, in London for NZ Ldn, Singapore for Bedok Kings etc etc – So played for 10+ years at Adult Level.

                Should also point out in the Summer months in NZ I played touch – where teammates included Nth Harbour/Samoan Rugby Reps and played with and vs AB’s including one game against Zinzan Brooke at Carlton Rugby Club – which we lost by the way.

                So I’m a medium level club player – but will of course bend to the analysis of someone who has played the game for years and years and understands the dimensions and challenges of the game because he played “Ice Hockey”

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:27pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                Yeah the ice hockey thing is a bit random I have to say.

                But there you are Sweden. You asked the question and the Bluesfan to be fair has fronted with an answer unlike some in this forum.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

                Good on ya, but maybe drop the attitude?

                The point is we are talking about contact sports and how taxing it is. Rugby, ice hockey, MMA (I have done some of that too), I get the drill. But if you want to paint yourself into a corner and think that rugby is “special”, well good luck to you. One thing is for certain, I could walk on to a rugby pitch and not embarrass myself completely, I doubt you could survive five seconds on an ice hockey rink or in the octagon. But again, keep that attitude up behind your keyboard.

                I have followed rugby for almost 20 years now and I am deeply in love with the game and has spent tens of thousands of hours watching, discussing, reading and thinking about the game. I am the first to admit that I have lots of holes in my rugby knowledge, but I am very confident that I can hold my ground in most topics discussed here at Roar. And if you are really paying attention, you will not see me claiming to know anything of the finer details of scrum et al (but you will see me ask questions hence I am curious, eager to learn, and humble – words you don’t seem to know the meaning of).

                So what were we talking about now again? Oh well, you say your experience from club rugby makes you some kind of expert regarding how the game is administrated, player drain, jet lag, contracts and so on?

                And finally, a real rugger man would embrace the fact that someone who comes from a country that does not really play rugby shows so much passion, they would certainly not sit behind a keyboard with a salty attitude.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:51pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                Gee I really hope you are not addressing me with that post Swede.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 8:47pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                Of course not directed to you ClarkeG. Even if I don’t agree with you all the time, I generally enjoy your input and comments.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:23pm
                ClarkeG said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

                All good.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm
                Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

                That you even think that because you have played Ice Hockey means that you somehow understand how taxing jumping on a 16 hour flight between NZ and SA and then having to acclimatize to SA Heat and Altitude is interesting.

                How many times do Ice Hockey players play a game, then fly 16 hours across 3 different timezone and then play a game at a higher altitude?

                I’m comfortable with my playing, cultural and business experience in both Rugby and Banking that I have a pretty reasonable amount of experience to comment on either 1. Issues on the rugby field and 2. Commercial/Contractual issues.

                By the way – I do enjoy your commentary and it’s great that you do so – but if I believe you are speaking BS – well I’m comfortable in laying out a different opinion/view point.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 8:01pm
                Fionn said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

                Federer says that ice baths are nonsense so in my mind that is that. 😛

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 6:58pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

              Going back to 1995 and the advent of professionalism, I think in a way the SH nations created a rod for their own backs.

              I was talking to Keving Bowring the other day – Kevin has just retired as the Head of Elite Coaching Development at the RFU, and he was Wales coach just after the switch to the pro game – and he reminded me how miserably unprepared the NH was professionalism. New Zealand and Australia really got a flying start in that respect because their structures were all in place.

              In England and France they weren’t, which is why the RFU failed to contract any of the top players and opened the market to private ownership. It became a chaotic, random free-for-all and we have have the situation we’re in now. Private owners control the club game and don’t feel the need to prioritize the international game or not asset-strip the SH countries.

              If the SH could have waited to make a coordinated effort to turn pro with their counterparts up North, this may never have happened and English players would probably be now contracted to the union and player drain from NZ/SA/Aus would be far smaller than it is.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm
                wardad1 said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                So its all our fault then ?

              • Columnist

                February 15th 2018 @ 1:02am
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:02am | ! Report

                To Wardad –

                Yep 😀

                But seriously, the situation between the two hemispheres is firmly connected and always has been.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 2:13pm
                Akari said | February 17th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                I am guessing, Nick, that the SH national rugby union bodies were solely focused on the millions on offer from Murdoch and couldn’t wait to sign the contract. So now we barely have access to rugby via free-to-air TV. We’d ditch our Foxtel subscription now if I could access rugby at super rugby level and above via another channel.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 7:00pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                I would ditch mine too AK 😀

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:48pm
              ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

              Yes Swede. Your last paragraph is a rather handsome tangent. 🙂

          • February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm
            ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

            Probably one or two Argentineans as well.

            Nicholas said elsewhere Launchbury would find a place in any super rugby side and rightly so.

            Imagine the whining from our former Eng flanker if that actually happened.

            The Blues just can’t attract a fly half. Ford says ohh I’ll come and fix that for you perhaps.

            Jamie George hears Dunedin is fun place. Oh play some rugby for the Landers while I’m there perhaps.

            You can just imagine. 🙂

            • Columnist

              February 14th 2018 @ 11:20pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

              I think all of those moves would be a terrific idea as part of an exchange scheme Clarke… Why not? Well it would prob depend on a global season structure being agreed, so people could play in the same kind of tournaments at the same time.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 8:30am
                ClarkeG said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

                My post wasn’t really intended to be taken too seriously Nicholas, but more or less intended as light entertainment for our friendly and fine former England flanker. 🙂

                But in all seriousness yes why not…not as if it hasn’t happened before. I think NZ super rugby teams are allowed 2 overseas players last time I looked.

                Launchbury and Ford to the Blues say…yes why not indeed.

                Itoje to the Chiefs or Crusaders perhaps where he could teach
                Retallic or Whitelock a thing or two. 🙂

                But if it depends on this so called global season well then that is not even remotely close is it.

                Califano the Blues.
                Haskell, Tanaka the Landers
                Leitch,Yamashita, Ardron the Chiefs
                There was an English prop at the Canes a number of years back i think…his name I don’t recall.

                So there are some examples. No doubt there are others.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 6:55pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 16th 2018 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Many a true thing is said in jest Clarke.

                If a global season becomes a reality (even in a truncated form), this idea of player exchanges or sabbaticals becomes far more viable, becuase the club or provincial comps are being played around the world at roughly the same time.

                Would it not appeal to the imagination of the NZ rugby public to have some of the Lions players who toured their country recently playing for their SR regions?? Then everyone could see for themselves how good they really are.

              • Roar Guru

                February 17th 2018 @ 11:20am
                Diggercane said | February 17th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

                Hey Clarke,

                That was Kevin Yates. There was an Argentinian prop to, Hasan I think though that might have been for Wellington in NPC, think he may have played at the Brumbies also?

                Yes Nick, I wouldn’t turn down Itoje or Launchberry or Furlong if I could grab them for the Canes, nor Faletau the more I think about it!

              • February 17th 2018 @ 3:01pm
                ClarkeG said | February 17th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

                Yates…that’s the guy Digger. Good work.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 5:14pm
                ClarkeG said | February 17th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                Yes Nicholas as I said why not…I’m pretty sure if an Itoje or a Farrell turned up in a NZ Super Rugby side that would be appealing but that still leaves the question regards the ‘global season ‘.

                I can’t speak for everyone but for me I don’t necessarily need to see any of last years Lions in Super Rugby to see how good they really are although as I say it would be an attraction.

              • Columnist

                February 17th 2018 @ 7:05pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                I think it would add a lot of spice and novelty to the comp Clarke and put bums on seats.

                It would also create pathways between the hemispheres outside the straight purchasing of top SH talent by clubs in England and France, as most of the players would be swapping on agreed limited sabbaticals in which their original club retained primacy of contract.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 7:42pm
              cuw said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

              Cipriani is a free agent soon. But many say Toulon have a hold on his legs. 🙂

              Blues really need to be sharper – they missed Pisi , and he went to Sunwolves .

              Pinned all their hopes on Black and he is injured now.

              Cooper wants to play , so… 😀

          • February 15th 2018 @ 5:43am
            Bluesfan said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:43am | ! Report

            Nic Abandonen , Swan diver , Armitage bros, perhaps Ryan Lamb and Carl Ferns

            Oh those players are world beaters -wow walk into a World 15 i would imagine.

            Let’s think how many of

            Faumunia
            Cruden
            Sopaga
            Ngatai
            Brad Shields
            Kerr-Barlow
            George Moala
            Elliott (rumoured to be negotiating with European Clubs)
            James Lowe
            Steven Luatua
            Malakai Fekitoa
            Rene Ranger

            Oh and forgot Seta Tamanivalu, oh and let’s chuck in Piatutu – now the world’s highest paid player.

            Would walk into a 6 Nations side – Jarrod Payne, CJ Stander and Sean Maitland all did -Mmmm Mike Brown or Piatutu – that’s a tough one isn’t it?

            How about Kerr-Barlow – oh yes Danny Care is a much superior player!

            Hilarious and then some – that an AB side unable to select the above players into their squad and still be favorites to beat England at Twickenham – show’s just how good a side England are.

            • Columnist

              February 17th 2018 @ 7:07pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

              Mmmm Mike Brown or Piatutu – that’s a tough one isn’t it?

              Ahh, you’re one of the English media in disguise – beware, Eddie will have you 😀

              But seriously, of those you mention, only Cruden and Piutau would be certain to find a starting place in all the Six Nations teams.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm
          Perthstayer said | February 14th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

          NB – Love it

    • February 14th 2018 @ 6:22am
      Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      Thanks Nick

      And while the rugby world likes to look forward to the NZ game and the RWC I think they have more than enough on their plates with the next three games.

      Their tactical kicking from 9-10-12 was excellent in part, not so much with Care in there, and the they really gave Wales an issue with contests and turning them round.
      But seemed to me on Saturday it was far from perfect and that a fair amount of ball was kicked away needlessly and that Wales couldnt find a way to punish them despite Farrell missing 7 tackles in the midfield, their scramble/cover defence is very very good – Lions like.

      Will be very interesting against Ireland, England score more than half their tries from lineouts (2016 numbers OPTA) so they are going to have to keep using Lawes at 6 as they dont have another jumping backrow, and they lost the battle on the ground and at the gainline on the weekend I thought, Ireland you would think would be able to retain for the ball for long periods, and Scotland at Murrayfield will run the ball back far better than Wales did. Looking forward to those.
      Also, time to start Kruis wth the ever execellent Launchbury I think.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 6:33am
        Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:33am | ! Report

        Farrell missed seven? Geez, with the match high five in the third Lions test he’s becoming a bit of a turnstile our Farrell.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 6:41am
          Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:41am | ! Report

          don’t forget his 6 v Ireland in the gland slam game, he likes those big hits, but he falls off a few

          • February 14th 2018 @ 6:57am
            Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:57am | ! Report

            Spoken like a true eggchaser 😉

            • February 14th 2018 @ 7:03am
              Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

              I want to see how Eddie reacts if they drop a couple, he looked and sounded like he was losing it this week and they still winning,

              • February 14th 2018 @ 7:34am
                Fionn said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

                Yep.

                It would be amusing.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 11:30am
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                His post match interview with Chris Jones regards Mike Brown was…?…interesting.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:47pm
                aussikiwi said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

                Poor Dylan Hartley’s face was priceless during that interview.

              • Columnist

                February 14th 2018 @ 7:01pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

                Don’t think he enjoys the fishbowl up there H’lander! ‘Those who sup with the devil need a long spoon….’

          • February 14th 2018 @ 10:10am
            Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            I’d suggest you both go back and have a look at the tackles he ‘missed’.

            • February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am
              Highlander said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              Which game, this one, Ireland or the Lions test, we have a few to choose from 🙂

              • February 14th 2018 @ 10:30am
                taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

                Yeah you need to be specific. The wood for the trees kinda thing. No one would be anywhere near those numbers where their team never lost.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 10:39am
                Rugby Fan said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                There’s a school of thought that Farrell has licence to blast out, in the knowledge the rest of the team has him covered. Even when he doesn’t scrag his target, he cuts down the attacking options. He’s a defensive leader in the team, so that kind of role would make sense.

                If, instead, it was a case of awful defence, then you’d expect this to show up more often in line breaks through his channel but that’s not really happening.

                Can’t say I know, to be honest. For instance, Nick Bishop says Farrell was too far in front of Launchbury (or Launchbury too far behind) for the break which led to Underhill’s saving tackle. That might be an example of what he usually does but bad positioning meant it didn’t go to plan.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 5:01pm
                Taylorman said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

                Well that’s the best excuse I’ve heard for poor tackling again. Quade does the same but unfortunately he doesn’t get credit with that excuse. Perhaps when Farrell goes up he could actually tackle them. Has he thought of that?

              • February 14th 2018 @ 8:29pm
                FunBus said | February 14th 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

                Do you actually believe Farrell is a weak defender, T-man, or are you currently in your increasingly regular under-12s yah boo sucks mode?
                Just let me know so I can either discuss rugby defence or talk about Barrett’s hair.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 9:39pm
                Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

                The stats say he is a pi$$ weak defender funbus….cant argue the stats

            • February 14th 2018 @ 11:34am
              ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              And they will find?

              • February 14th 2018 @ 1:46pm
                Neil Back said | February 14th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                They’ll find it pays to actually watch the game, and the tackle, rather than read a convenient stat my friend. Give it a crack.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                Neil Back I can’t recall your expertise in dropkicks but my word you most certainly are one. Due to technical issues I have been unable to watch all of the match unfortunately

                Now if you can get a grip for a moment you might have a crack at answering a perfectly straight forward question. A quick summary will do.

                I am of course aware of the difficulty you have with answering simple questions so I will understand if I receive nothing more than a smart Alec response.

                PS . you must have been thrilled with WRs statement regards the TMO decision.

              • Roar Guru

                February 14th 2018 @ 3:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                Farrell’s missed tackle stats was discussed at 1014 earlier this week. Here is a little summary:

                If you want a good explanation for why Farrell misses so many tackles watch RugbyDumps video of the Saracens defense which is now used by England. It basically explains how a missed tackle can still have a positive outcome. By shooting out he forces players to check their runs step inside etc, so whilst counting as a missed tackle it has a positive outcome for the defending team.

                I hope NB can share some words and thoughts about this.

              • February 14th 2018 @ 6:50pm
                ClarkeG said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                Now you see if Mr Back had come out with something of similar substance in answering my question I might have given him at least a 5/10.

                I can imagine Neil’s answers in the exam…( read the textbook )

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:29am
                Neil Back said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

                I don’t bother ClarkeG because you’ve increasingly put yourself in the ‘under-12s yah boo sucks‘ club FunBus
                correctly tags Taylorman with in this thread, and frankly, life’s too short.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 8:54am
                ClarkeG said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Very mature of you Neil.

                As I said your smart Alec response is understandable.

                Take your wee mindedness and follow the exit signs. You will find them on the way out big man.

                Fancy using the real Neil Back’s name…geez.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:42am
                rebel said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

                Zinger

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 10:36am
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Rugby League style tackler, goes high and always has done!

      • Columnist

        February 14th 2018 @ 10:35am
        Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        The Ireland game will be very interesting without a doubt H’lander – two teams with similar high ball expertise promises a nerve-wracking contest!

        In fact I think England are a (slim) chance to lose two of their remaining three games in the 6N. I suspect they have already had their easier two fixtures, and I don’t expect the Scots to roll over as they did at Twickers last year. They’ll have a point to prove 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 12:03pm
          Poth Ale said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          I read somewhere that Jones had tapped into some expertise from Australian AFL players on the skills of catching high balls overhead.

          I presume he reckoned he couldn’t persuade an Irish football coach to do the job… :).

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 7:07pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

            Yes and this process was already underway in late 2014…

            Several Ireland players also have experience in Gaelic Football which gives and AFL like skill-set under high ball, as I’m sure you know.

            • Roar Guru

              February 14th 2018 @ 9:46pm
              Poth Ale said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              I do. Keith Earls being one of the best. Kearney, Sweetnam, Carbery, Henshaw and O’Halloran all have the ease too.

          • February 14th 2018 @ 9:42pm
            Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

            The problem is Poth that when they catch it they then pass it forward….Its just not the same

            • Roar Guru

              February 14th 2018 @ 9:47pm
              Poth Ale said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

              Err, no they don’t. Watch them.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:19pm
                Jacko said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

                So AFL players dont pass it forward? Dont allow knock-ons? Dumb comment Poth…of course they do….And its 100% allowed in AFL

              • Roar Guru

                February 16th 2018 @ 4:46am
                Poth Ale said | February 16th 2018 @ 4:46am | ! Report

                I wasn’t referring to AFL.

      • February 14th 2018 @ 3:04pm
        Dan54 said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

        Geez I watched the test and Farrell missed 7?, must of been when I looked other way as I thought he did some great defensive work!

        • Roar Guru

          February 14th 2018 @ 3:39pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 14th 2018 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

          I think we all should trust what actually we saw from Farrell (a MoM-performance) instead of looking at stats.

          I believe it was Highlander that told me once that Wayne Smith considers stats as “entertainment for the public” and one should not pay too much attention.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 7:22pm
            Jacko said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

            Yeah sure Neutral…If a Kiwi no 10 missed that many tackles you would be the first to start the critisism yet Farrell defends like Quade cooper and its all because he rushes up and thats coach instructions? BS…the guy should learn to tackle….but lets forget the stats eh?

            • Roar Guru

              February 15th 2018 @ 7:43pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

              If Farrell was is as useless as you say, it is kind of weird that he gets chosen all the time for both club, country, and the Lions. And not only that, most experts, even in NZ, consider him to be one of the best players in the world, who would walk straight into the AB’s starting XV. But maybe you know something guys like McCaw, Fitzy, Wayne Smith don’t know? If so, please share it, I am sure there are many Roarers who would love to know more about this.

              And if you saw the Test against Wales a week ago, can you please point out where Farrell’s defense was costly or risky for England?

              And no matter how many times you repeat the same lie, I have nothing against NZ rugby at any level,

              • February 15th 2018 @ 8:02pm
                Jacko said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                Who said he is a useless player? More Neutral fabrication eh? .where did I say anything along those lines? Typical Neutral arguement….Make stuff up then rubbish the poster with these fabricated truths.
                Farrell is one of the best players in the world but all we were talking about was his missed tackle stats and you wanted to excuse them by saying stuff which aint right…Maybe its right in Ice Hockey but not in rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 8:49pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

                You compared Farrell to Quade Cooper Jacko, enough said.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 9:11pm
                Jacko said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

                BBBB is regarded as the best back on the planet yet ALL acknowledge he has issues with his game,
                Lomu is considered the best winger of all time yet ALL acknowlede he had issues with his game
                Farrell is a great player…but he has issues with his game

                Enough said

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 9:20pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

                Yep, we can leave it like that Jacko.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 9:47am
                ClarkeG said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                Even in NZ?

                He would walk straight into the ABs. ?

                The beauty of these sorts of comments is they will never be tested.

                One of the best players in the world? Well that has been put to the test and is proven.

                And in all fairness Swede Jacko did not say he was useless.

              • Roar Guru

                February 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Greeting CG

                Even in NZ yes, at least if one listens to your coaches, ex-AB’s et al. It is not breaking news exactly that rugga-men in the know in NZ rates Farrell.

                Yes, he would walk in as number 12 in the AB’s. He would be a perfect glue in the midfield and he would take care of a lot of kicks. Again, not exactly breaking news. Especially with SBW’s repeated brain farts and Crotty being very injury prone.

                There are a lot of “statements” on the Roar that never will be tested or am I dreaming all these times I read about NZ players that walk in all different kind of teams and all Test NZ would never have lost if it was for the ref, rain, injuries et al?

                Just check out both official and unofficial yearly rankings from the last couple of years, Farrell is in top ten on all of them.

              • February 19th 2018 @ 11:54am
                ClarkeG said | February 19th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

                Sweden.

                [even in NZ?] – what I was querying here is the need to qualify your statement with this. Are the so called rugby experts in NZ somehow different to those from the rest of the rugby world. I just felt it was odd that you felt the need to add that but having said that I guess I could have made my query clearer.

                Was I suggesting Farrell is not rated in NZ?…nooooo. I wrote “One of the best players in the world? Well that has been put to the test and is proven”…you glossed over that perhaps?

                The only certainty here is that Farrell will never walk into the ABs in any position.

                To say he would is mere speculation.The trouble we, and those experts you speak of, have is that we don’t get to select the team.

                Would say Aaron Smith – who many an expert rate as the best in his position – turn up at the Eng camp today and start against Scotland this coming match…I doubt it. We would need to talk to coach Jones about that I guess.

                Would Jones exclude Mike Brown from the Eng team on the basis of widespread opinion that he shouldn’t be in the team…I doubt it.

                You talk of SBWs “brain f…s” as some justification of your claim. Well I have to say,in case you haven’t noticed, the present AB selectors have to date seemed somewhat tolerant of these.

                And I doubt the rugby worlds leading coaches base their selections on player rankings. By the way what are the “official” player rankings?

        • February 14th 2018 @ 5:38pm
          cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

          he fell off a few – which i guess count as a miss.

          i guess its like in cricket – a slipper gets the fingers diving full length and , the stats say a missed catch 🙂

          but as NB says above , Farrell goes high , which makes it easier for runners to fend him off.

          Sam Underhill goes low – hence his concussions.

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 7:08pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

            Farrell goes high , which makes it easier for runners to fend him off. Sam Underhill goes low – hence his concussions.

            It’s a great choice for the modern professional CUW 😀

    • February 14th 2018 @ 6:34am
      mzilikazi said | February 14th 2018 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      Tickets will be hard to come by for that game on Nov 10th. Before that, the game on St. Patrick’s Day may answer to some degree your title question, Nic.

      ‘”Patchell was pinpointed right from the opening whistle ” “When Warren Gatland replaced Patchell with George North for the final quarter, with Aucklander Gareth Anscombe moving into the #10 role and Josh Adams shifting to fullback, the complexion of the game changed dramatically.”

      In my view, this is poor decision making by the coach, Warren Gatland. Patchell’s confidence shattered, going nowhere, then act decisively and quickly to attempt to rescue the situation. Don’t wait till the final quarter.

      This actually reminds of Eddie Jones when he coached Australia, and would never replace poorly performing players. He has certainly evolved since those now far off days.

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2018 @ 7:34am
        Carlos the Argie said | February 14th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        200 pounds difficult to get!

      • Columnist

        February 14th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Apparently £200 face value for a good ticket against the AB’s MZ!

        It did cross my mind that Eddie might well have replaced Patchell before half-time, judging by what he did with Burrell and Harrison in Australia last summer…

      • February 14th 2018 @ 10:45am
        Akari said | February 14th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        this is poor decision making by the coach, Warren Gatland

        My thoughts exactly and which national team does he think he is the most qualified to coach next?

        • February 14th 2018 @ 5:42pm
          cuw said | February 14th 2018 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

          the issue – altho not making it a point at the coach – the commentary was discussing was that RP plays at 15 for Scarlets and GA plays at 10 for Cardiff , but the roles ae revered in the test match.

          they did not say anything much about how it affects the game – perhaps being PC . if i’m not mistaken Sam Warburton was in as expert.

        • February 14th 2018 @ 9:45pm
          Jacko said | February 14th 2018 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

          Nothing personal against the guy but if Ainscome improves your team then the standard is below SR

          • Columnist

            February 14th 2018 @ 11:23pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | February 14th 2018 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

            Tbf Jacko I think Anscombe was only in the 23 because Wales had so many backline injuries…. With a few people back he’ll prob be on the outer again. But he did well on Saturday, for sure.

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