Good Morning Spiro and all,
In relation to the emerging rugby market in the USA, I think the requirement for a professional domestic league or similar needs to be introduced before we really see the wealth of untapped rugby ability they possess come to life. It is not to be forgotten that in 1995 during the 'Rugby War's' the Packer backed World Rugby Corporation recognised this and had indeed designed such plans to launch an professional tournament there that would comprise of teams filled with ex-pat New Zealander's, Australian's, South African's Brit's, French and Irish blended in with local talent.
Whilst WRC's plan had its own issues I thought this acknowledgement of the US Market and need for a professional presence there was a positive plan. I still wonder 18 years on how rugby in the US may be today if that tournament was launched in 1996? Still I hope to see it in my lifetime and I think the USA and Canada would do an excellent job in hosting a RWC.
In the meantime I would love to see a double header at Solider Field - USA v Canada as the curtain raiser to a Bledisloe or All Blacks vs Springbok's match during the RC.
Spot on about Israel. I recall that intercept he got against the All Blacks when he first got into the side and he appeared to have all the running then but it maybe just my perception but he does appear to slow up as you say. Mate if Chieka does go with Hansen then I still think it will be a very competitive side as well. Mate I like Carter but like all thought his body height was to high when carrying and cleaning out at times but he appears to have done some work on that and I rate him. Poor old Dean Mumm, was he really that bad? I didn't think so - not one of greats but he was part of a side that did beat the AB's in Hong Kong in 2010 albeit as a sub at 72 mins - but he was still there! Some great players have never tasted that.
My understanding is that Mann-Rea is a stronger scrummager than Hanson and that is why I would give him the bench spot. It may sound that I don't like Hanson as player, nothing could be further from the truth; I rate him highly but if I am right in my understanding of Mann-Rea's scrummaging I think that makes the point of difference for me.
Mate I saw more of Leroy Houston in the AVIVA last season and was impressed. I had posted on here that I was hoping he would consider a return to Australia (Reds) for a crack at the RWC but that seems less like an option now. The only real thing I have seen of Ma'afu in the Aviva is when he decked Tom Youngs in a dust up. It was an impressive slug, no doubt but I am not sure if that is the type of play we need. I like the look of Paul Alo Emile to be honest, with no disrespect to Tetera Faulkner I thought he would have been a handy addition to the squad?
Mate not sure what Chieka will do against the Frogs. Lets worry about the Welsh first hey! :)