After some Argy-bargy, All Blacks survive a Puma surprise

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    The All Blacks have secured a 17-point win over a gallant but outplayed Pumas outfit tonight in New Zealand.

    Argentina toiled hard and held a seven-point lead early in the second half.

    However, they failed to take advantage of a sin-bin to Beauden Barrett as the All Blacks raised their game and took control of the contest.

    Although the Pumas worked hard tonight, the fact remains that the All Blacks remain significantly superior given that they scored six tries to one.

    Missed conversion attempts from the All Blacks, coupled with penalty strikes from Argentina kept the Pumas close to New Zealand.

    Overall, another hard lesson for the Pumas, but a valuable one heading into next week’s contest against the Wallabies.

    The Pumas need to back themselves in good field position instead of opting for the penalty goal, particularly when Barrett was sin-binned during a period when the Pumas were right on the attack.

    Fifita was the standout performer for the All Blacks tonight. He always bent the line and scored a great second half try that halted the Pumas momentum.

    Alan Nicolea
    Alan Nicolea

    Alan is one of The Roar's longest serving live bloggers, covering football, tennis and rugby league.

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    The Crowd Says (151)

    • September 10th 2017 @ 5:24am
      Kuruki said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      The loss of Mick Byrne in the setup is starting to show. With the loss of test experienced players an raft of new faces the All Blacks now lack composure and patience. Those were the qualities that held their heads above everyone else for near a decade now.
      While this current All Blacks team arguably has some of the most brilliant attacking players we have ever seen in one team, they are currently playing a style of rugby to advanced for the stage they are currently at. Test rugby has never been a place where numerous full attack minded players could be put together and thrive in one side, there has always been a need for a balance. This All Black side was out of balance. SBW, McKenzie, B Barrett three guys who like to throw caution to the wind, but also have a tendency of trying to hard to fast.
      Hansen and co need to find a balance between the team they have selected and the game plan they are pushing. We are turning the ball over far to often and forcing 50/50 passes. The skill level is not there yet with this group. Acknowledge it and adjust the gameplan.
      When was the last time the All Blacks executed a solid exit play that didn’t include running it or putting up an attacking bomb? When was the last time B Barrett found touch anywhere near halfway from inside the 22? this team seems incapable of understanding when to play your hand and when to play clever rugby. It’s all out attack with no composure and no game management. Maybe that’s the negative side of having B Barrett as your first five (lets not raise the goal kicking).
      This is an All Blacks squad in rebuild mode. They need to be rebuilding the game plan at the same time. So much youth and enthusiasm has been let to get out of control by a coaching staff hell bent on playing at speed, regardless of opposition or weather.
      The All Blacks are still winning, but the manner isn’t impressing me.
      The lack of quality scrummaging props in NZ is about to be shown up on the end of year tour. We will be heading North with only one real international class prop and the rest will be unproven rookies.
      Interesting times ahead, i have no doubt about the quality of the squad, i just doubt the game plan for the stage they are at right now.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 9:33am
        Jacko said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        I just wonder who told Barrett to constantly chip over the top….Even in your own 22…Its BS and LS needs to be selected above BB as he needs to learn its not all about him

        • September 10th 2017 @ 3:19pm
          Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

          Jacko, I reckon you’re right. LS needs to be selected at 10 now that Cruden is gone until Barrett’s form improves, and unless Barrett’s game management massively improves in 2018 then I think it’ll be between Sopoaga and Mounga in 2018.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 10:41am
        Shaun said | September 10th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        Kurkuki, i agree and disagree… The all blacks played a very mediocre game last night, and still came away with a comfortable win. Giving guys like DMac more game time only ups his confidence, and soon i think we will be seeing less errors with the same amount of brilliance he has consistently shown.
        Agree though, LS should be the starting first five!

        • September 10th 2017 @ 10:42am
          Shaun said | September 10th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          the squad last night looked very experimental, and also gave a few guys some much needed rest. the ABs will be better for it.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 2:49pm
        cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        suddenly NZ look as if they dont have the players 🙂

        i think this infatuation with the so called “X FACTOR” players is now coming to bite back.

        Savea for eg is not a typical basic 7 in the Kronfeld Mccaw Todd mould. BB is not a directing fly half in the Carter Cruden Slade mould. DMac – well less said the better.

        everyone thinks the razzle dazzle rugger looks neat , but in tight tests its the basic players who know core skills that do well.

        i think Hansen is looking for players again , with some of the good guys leaving – especially the loss of cruden and Luatua and faumuina – HUGE !!!

      • September 10th 2017 @ 4:57pm
        FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

        Fascinating match. The ABs are clearly fundamentally changing the way they play. Stuart Barnes in an English article pointed out that in the two Bledisloe games Aaron Smith box-kicked from scrum-half exactly ZERO times. I counted two from Perenara all game yesterday. Not sure moving from a balanced game will work as well as it would have, say 3 years ago because the relative gap in fitness levels between ABs and opposition is less, but who am I to question Hansen.
        Some other things were familiar. The ABs were very cynical under pressure, but all sides are. However, the thing that annoys is that the ABs are the masters of taking people out way beyond the ruck, coming in at the side, flying off their feet etc. When they’re under pressure this goes through the roof. The 10 minutes after they went behind and down to 14 men was almost comical. People were getting taken out 2,3,4 even 5 metres beyond the ruck. I can’t believe Gardner didn’t see this. He seemed paralysed. You do wonder whether the unhinged, hysterical Kiwi reaction which is the fate of any ref that presides over a big game the ABs don’t win, goes through ref’s minds when the ABs look like they might lose. They’re only human.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm
          Paulo said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          I wont say what you said didnt happen, but I will say that all teams do it. Not a great thing and I am not a fan of it, but if you want it gone, then critizise everyone, dont just single one team for it.

          • Roar Guru

            September 10th 2017 @ 5:55pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

            Did not FunBus say that all sides are doing it?

            The ABs were very cynical under pressure, but all sides are. However, the thing that annoys is that the ABs are the masters of taking people out way beyond the ruck, coming in at the side, flying off their feet etc.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 6:32pm
              timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              NV, if you can’t see through that rather unsubtle charade and are prepared to ignore the unpleasant paranoid comments directed at Kiwi fans in general, then my suspicions about you are once again confirmed.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                Try to stay on the subject timber. and comment on what I have written, not on some loony paranoid fantasies you have.

                Thank you.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 5:56pm
            FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

            Paulo, I did say every team are cynical under pressure. However, I do think the ratio of how many times they do it compared to how many times they get pinged for it is bigger for the ABs than any other team.
            All sides would do it if they could get away with it. My puzzle is how the ABs get away with it – it’s not particularly subtle or difficult to spot.

            • Roar Guru

              September 10th 2017 @ 6:07pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

              Somehow I don’t think it is pre-planned cynical play from the AB’s. In SR I see it all the time. The difference is – especially in Kiwi derbies – that both teams are doing it, so in a way, it is sorting itself out.
              In International rugby… well if the opponents see and feel and that ref is not policing it, they should fight fire with fire.

              I would say one of the key things the Lions did very successfully was that they were up for it all the way when it came to the dark arts. Some Kiwis might even argue that the Lions took it further than the AB’s did.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:29pm
                FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

                Definitely agree the Lions fought Fire with Fire on the dark arts. I do think around the ruck, though, the ABs are the masters. They also step it up during those rare periods they’re under pressure. They’re saints and the very embodiment of the Corinthian spirit when clearly on top and coasting. That suggests it’s rather more calculated than ‘this just the way we ruck’. Again, my puzzle is not that they do it, but that they get away with it. Getting away with subtle, difficult to spot nefarious activity is one thing, but I burst out laughing at one point yesterday when it looked like an AB forward was going to drive an opponent who was nowhere near the ruck back to the dressing room.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 6:39pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

                I do think around the ruck, though, the ABs are the masters.

                Agree. But not only the nitty gritty stuff. Overall the AB’s cleanout tackles are so much better than anyone else. Especially in that first Lions Test, it was a master class in cleanout tackles.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm
                timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                Good Lord, NV and FunBus have become partners in paranoid bed-wetting.
                Now they’ll feed off one another’s brain farts in an endless cycle of Freudian self-denial. Run people, Run!

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 7:35pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                I think you are trying too hard timber.
                I get the same feeling like when I watch James Haskell trying to play flair rugby.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 8:16pm
                timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                Yeah, I over-egged the custard there a bit, but it contains a grain of truth nonetheless.
                The conspiracy theories behind the AB’s practice of the dark arts are an interesting observation into human psychology.

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 12:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                We all try and fail timber. Happens to me all the time, but not so much while talking rugby with Kiwis (that is a tongue in cheek joke).
                I got no problems with some spicy counter-arguments, but I prefer if those arguments are on point and not some lazy personal digs built on preconceptions with little connection to reality.

                If you read what I have written in this thread it should be pretty clear that I am not signing up on any conspiracy theories regarding the AB’s. I actually counter FunBus argument about the AB’s alleged cynical play at the rucks by saying:

                I don’t think it is pre-planned cynical play from the AB’s. In SR I see it all the time. The difference is – especially in Kiwi derbies – that both teams are doing it, so in a way, it is sorting itself out.

                And if you continue to read you will see that I actually think that it is nothing to cry about for the opponents (and that was one thing that the BIL’s did well).

                In International rugby… well if the opponents see and feel and that ref is not policing it, they should fight fire with fire.
                I would say one of the key things the Lions did very successfully was that they were up for it all the way when it came to the dark arts. Some Kiwis might even argue that the Lions took it further than the AB’s did.

                One thing that made the Lions-series so enjoyable for me as an outsider was that both teams were pretty even in all departments. From flair to the dark arts. And to make myself really clear, I think the dark arts is a vital part of the game and both respect and admire players and teams who master it. Just like I admire players and teams that master the “flairy” side of rugby.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 5:30pm
          T Payne said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

          These Nuts.Back it up boy

        • September 10th 2017 @ 5:31pm
          Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

          Or you could wonder whether the paranoias complete. Stop looking for conspiracies and hidden agendas and try seeing whats in front of you.

          Hansen made seven changes for this match. I think the biggest learning from the ABs youre gonna get this year is the talent thats being trialled.

          Reiko, Jordie and Cane Barrett, Fifita last night, the under 20s hooker to come and there will be more next year. Its obvious hes already lining up the World cup.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 5:44pm
            FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

            I agree he’s looking towards the RWC, and I think he’s changing the style by telling his scrum halves not to box kick except in extreme circumstances. Personally, I think it’s a gamble. It’s a much less balanced game than any successful international team as ever pursued before – including the ABs.
            Regarding the new additions. The winger looks the business. The jury’s out on some of the others. It’s great to have a blindside that can run in a try with a winger’s pace from 50m – providing he can do the bread and butter stuff at the top level as well. We’ll see.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 5:55pm
              Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

              You say it like its a fundamentalmchange in direction. Hansen mixes his gameplan options all the time. If hes ruled no kicking this round it puts the team in positions to try something else.

              He did the same in the World cup, shut down options to put the team under pressure to find ways of scoring in other ways. This test was clearly partially experimental with those players out there.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:04pm
                FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

                I agree to an extent. But, going two Bledisloe tests with the scrum half not box-kicking once seems, in the modern game, to be very unusual. The tactics were then the same against a different team with a different style – Argentina. I think we’re seeing the start of a two year evolution of the AB style. If, at its heart, it means much less kicking, I think it’s a gamble. If he’s experimenting with a style he will use only in certain circumstances then that’s different. It will be very interesting to see how often the SH box-kicks against the Boks.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:10pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

                FunBus, the All Blacks are playing a much faster and more aggressive style of rugby than I have ever seen them.

                It is constant attack all of the time and it looks like they’re trying to do too much right on the gain line.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 6:23pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

                What is weird to me is that this all out attack fire and fury tactics the AB’s are trying now have opened the door to their opponents more than once. In a way, it sort of remembers me of the AB’s of 90’s and 00’s.

                At the same time, the AB’s has right now the best pack I have ever seen them have, and when they let their forwards do the job and play with a little patience, they open no doors whatsoever for their opponents (and surely that sounds like the tactics to use in WC knockout rugby).

                Maybe they are trying out different tactical approaches ahead of the WC, maybe they are just trying to hide the strength of their pack for a while… we shall see.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:36pm
                FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                Taking your’s and Fionn’s points together I do think it’s a gamble. Great sides play what’s in front of them and adapt on the hoof. Certainly, that’s what the ABs of the last 7 years have done. If you over-emphasize a particular style of play, it can be difficult to make those adjustments when under the cosh. Think 2007.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:30pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                I agree, Neutral, it is very strange. Their best performance since last year’s RC was, in my opinion, the 1st Lions test, when they went back to a more forwards dominated game.

                It’s almost like they feel the need to try and outdo the 2011-15 team. Rather than just beating their opponents, they need to try and obliterate them. I don’t know, maybe I am seeing things that aren’t there.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:57pm
                cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

                ” At the same time, the AB’s has right now the best pack I have ever seen them have, ..’

                not so sure of that . Cane is no Mccaw and Kaino is not what he was 3 years ago – lean n mean. Even Read seems a yard short of pace.

                the front row minus Moody Frans and Faumunina with an aged Crockett again is not that dominant.

                the only good things – the twin tower 2nd rowers who have hit a purple patch of form and Cloes / Codie consistency.

                guys like Squire , Fifita Savea Barrett of the bench have to show consistency still. and for some reason Romano has lost it….

                so the pack of Moody cloes Franks Brodie Sam Kaino Mccaw Read with Crockett Codie Faumuina Romano Vito/Messam pack will surely be better than the one they have today.

                Both Cane n Savea have not been like-for-like replacements of Mcccaw and neither Squire nor Fifita are knocking down people like Kaino used to do. the new set of props are still getting to know test rugger.

                the way i see it , the replacements they have now are not like those being replaced. When Mccaw came in he was an upgrade of Kronfeld , a super openside.

                Though as not devastating Kaino was an able replacement of the hitman.

                Brodie and Sam are also a little better than Chris Jack Ali Williams but Romano is no Brad Thorn.

                Moody is as good as Woodcock – Coles brought a different dimension to Hore or Mealamu, Crockett is no Hayman but then who is?

                Vito and Messam both had pace and power at the height of their careers in 2015.

                we got to wait and see if the pack can be as good as the 2015 version by 2019 . 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 7:50pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                Sam Cane is no McCaw, but he is one of the most useful AB’s players around at the moment. And dare I say, that Cane’s tackles are more pinpoint and brutal than McCaw’s tackles ever was. Overall, Cane’s role on the field is slightly different to what McCaw’s role used to be, so like-for-like comparisons are not entirely fair.

                Kieran Read is still top class. Maybe not the best player in the world like 2013, but still very very good. And one major up with Read is that is seems that new players come in performs right away under his captaincy. In McCaws days it seemed that new players took a bit longer to find their feet, so whatever Read is doing as a captain, he is doing something very right in that regard.

                To be fair on Kaino, this year he has had very few opportunities to show what he really got. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise? His body have been rested much more than anyone thought ahead of the season.

                What really makes the AB’s pack special to me is that so many of them play together in the Saders. That is pretty unique.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 8:39pm
                FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

                Agree with this, cuw. At the moment the first choice ‘8’ is the best pack in the world, but there’s a vulnerability in the quality drop-off in some positions to the back-up. I don’t think they can replace Moody, Retallick, Whitelock, or Read with anything other than relatively average international players. That could bite them hard.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 8:53pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                It could bite them hard, but on the upside, what other nation have like for like replacements for their first choice forwards?

                The Lions depth among the forwards was pretty unique. No other nation – not even NZ – can/will come close to that kind of depth at the WC 2019.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 4:05am
                FunBus said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:05am | ! Report

                Disagree actually, Neutral. In the positions I mentioned I reckon both South Africa and England can replace with pretty much the same quality.
                No-one can come close to matching the ABs with depth in the backs, but they can in the forwards.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:51pm
                timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

                I’m hoping it is one big experiment\subtefuge aimed at putting the team under unnecessary but illuminating pressure because the ABs are starting to remind me of the late 90s\2000s versions and where did that get us?
                The ABs strength is their multi-dimensional play style, making them very difficult to counter. If they focus too much on attack to the detriment of all else then they become predictable and so much easier to counter.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:58pm
                Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

                Geez the constant linking of Cane with McCaw is tiring.

                ‘Sam Cane is not McCaw’….


                Can we hear it again for a millionth time? Just so we really, really get it, I really dont think its sinking in yet.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am
                zhenry said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

                Its lead up RWC time, expect Funbus and that special neutral country Sweden on Sydney’s Northshore to go through their ‘soften up the officials, the ABs are dirty’ corp media propaganda routine.
                No we’re straight ‘every one does it but the ABs more so’ fair and straight down the line are we.
                I agree with Campesie; ‘compared to other teams the ABs play hard but fair’. I do see them doing what other teams do but less so, but then I don’t command a media circulation.
                They even “presented” the ‘bug’ senario as the ABs fault, the elite have such delicate egos, the timing and farcicle summing up at the so called court trial was pathetic, and typical of the obsessions on hear re ABs.

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 12:02pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                You are being very very sensitive and one-eyed here zhenry. But what else is new mate?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 1:24pm
                zhenry said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                It’s up to you to change it.

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 2:22pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

                Dear zhenry

                It’s not easy to help someone who is hypersensitive (probably with underlying emotional problems) through The Roar commentary field. Maybe try to go to a psychologist?
                As for your vision problems, a visit to an optician should be in order.

                Best regards


        • September 10th 2017 @ 5:41pm
          Ben said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

          Aaaaaaah..Funbus…wheres your fellow Kiwi and ABs hater Rhys Bosley?
          Must really p!#s you two off everytime the ABs win huh….

          • September 10th 2017 @ 5:50pm
            FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

            Not really Ben, no. Can’t say I ever cheer for the ABs. I respect the quality of the rugby, but don’t like the way the NZ rugby community goes about its business. But, many of us, outside NZ, enjoy rugby without it eating away at our soul and sanity, so the ABs win yesterday had a very marginal effect on my day.?

            • September 10th 2017 @ 5:56pm
              Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

              Thats good to hear then because if it did youd have been in an assylum years ago.?

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:05pm
                FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report


              • September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm
                Jacko said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

                It seems to be eating away at your soul and sanity tho Funbus

            • September 10th 2017 @ 7:27pm
              ClarkeG said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

              Yeah Right 🙂

            • September 10th 2017 @ 7:33pm
              timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

              “but don’t like the way the NZ rugby community goes about its business”

              You meaning winning, I can see how you wouldn’t like that being at the receiving end and all.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 6:26pm
          timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

          Come on FunBus, out with the truth, what annoys you is the success of the ABs.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 8:27pm
            FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

            Not really, Timber. They used to irritate me itensely between 2000-2003 when England were dominating. The RWC QFs of 2007 was also my favorite day of rugby ever. I used to also like Brazil even when they consistently ended England’s football ambitions. I know it’s a comforting explanation that the reason many have an antipathy to the ABs is ‘jealousy’. I have great respect for the consistent excellence of their rugby over the last 7 years in particular but, boy, NZ rugby as a whole is difficult to warm to.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 9:22pm
              timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

              Well, you may not see it but the fact that your favourite day of rugby ever was a delightful case of schadenfreude doesn’t support your assertion.
              It shows a negative personal obsession with the ABs which isn’t explained by a dislike of such a vague and impersonal generalisation as the NZ rugby community.
              Why not enjoy your team winning or a good game of rugby? Nope, let’s focus on the ABs downfall because the NZ rugby community has offended me. How can such a large community possibly have anything in common other than being associated with success? Ergo success offends you.
              Granted, success can breed arrogance and hubris but then the NZ rugby community wouldn’t be human if it didn’t have its share.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 3:56am
                FunBus said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:56am | ! Report

                There was certainly schadenfreude that day, Timber. The Aussies had spent the week telling everyone how much they hated the poms, laughing at the prospect of England making a game of it, and generally being complete tools. Kiwis were not far behind in the hubris stakes. You would have needed a heart of stone not to laugh.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 2:47pm
                Jacko said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                That favourite day of yours funbus is also the day that Aus was knocked out of the 2007 WC quarterfinals as well. Funny how you hate the ABs more than you want your own team to be successful

              • September 11th 2017 @ 5:17pm
                FunBus said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                Did you not read my post, Jacko?It’s directly above the one you wrote. Nothing could ever be better than that day in Marseilles when the arrogance of the likes of O’Neill, the WB players and the Aussie press corps got their comeuppance. When someone as mild mannered and humble as the England coach, Ashton, deliberately seeks out the ARU CEO and thanks him for providing the motivation to win, you know something extraordinary has happened. However, that AB side were no slouches in the hubris department, and watching them crash and burn plus the likes of Howlett reacting by vandalizing a load of cars in the hotel car park was the icing on the cake.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 5:14pm
                Taylorman said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                His team is England though jacko so the shoe fits…

              • September 11th 2017 @ 5:30pm
                FunBus said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                In my own defence though Tman, that day in 2007 was joyous on a unique level. The feeling in 2003, for me at least, was more one of relief that a dominant team that was going to break up regardless of the result got their reward. 2007, though was pure joy. The arrogance and rubbish poured onto the English team by the Aussies in the run-up to the QF made their cricket team look humble. The Kiwis weren’t far behind in their sneering. When most of the coverage is related to how the WBs and ABs were going to approach the SF, it was difficult not to giggle. It was also only 2 years since many of us had our eyes opened about the nature of the NZ ‘rugby community’ on the Lions tour.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 12:58pm
          Kitch said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Wallabies rule when it comes to taking out people way beyond the ruck! Argies were warned by ref for doing so. How many times exactly did the ABs do it?..I suggest very seldom do they do it…certainly not at the level of the Wallabies!!

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:38am
      Ben said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      Fifita showed why Hansen rates him as one of the best athletes hes ever had anything to do with.
      Simply amazing.
      I actually thought Moody was motm for me. Destroyed his opposite at scrum time, real high workrate, hitups, ruck clearances and a 50m run to boot.
      Very loose first half and annoyed me. When do you ever see Read try a grubber? That was the mentality..frills first rubbish.
      Knuckled down 2nd half.
      SBW?? Not in the zone for me.
      Big change in the Argies ability to get over the gain line once Cane came on.
      A better game by Mckenzie but still bite my nails when he runs.
      Thought Sopoaga was good and seemed to steady the ship.
      With Moody now gone time for Toomaga-Allen to step up.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 8:45am
        Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Yes Kuruki and Ben, good takes on the current status. A rebuilding side should be focussing more on structure more than flair, highlighted best of all by Reads chip through attempt twenty out.

        He of all should be providing the predictable, reliable foundation for those newbies to evolve around him, yet here he is trying to grubber through?

        DMac and Barrett will do what theyll always do so cant be blamed, but their selections need to be tempered with more balance.

        Perhaps Hansen just said go for everything with this one…throw it around and enjoy it, before knuckling down with the remaining Oz Sa matches?

        Sure hope so. Weve seen how our helter skelter approach can backfire enough to appreciate what really good structure is about.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 9:07am
          Ben said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Despite Fifitas amazing athleticism i did think he failed to do his core role close in on defence…the Kaino business of repelling close in runners back before the gain line. Squire is good at that too.
          I was surprised they only threw 1 lineout to him as hes a fantastic lineout option and a great thief on opposition ball.
          He seemed to be used as a lifter.
          The first time i saw him years ago i thought this guys got something and i was talking him up on here.
          Im waiting for CUW who just rubbished me to dare mention him as an AB…kinda like waiting for PeterK Taylorman to admit Foley was better than Jantjies last night. Wont happen cos those guys are never wrong.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 1:11pm
            Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

            Yes Im banking on Hansens present state of mind being based on replacing the players weve lost.

            His tenure has till now succeeded based on his ability to bring in depth early and Cruden, Faumuina, Luatua going only add to that need to build depth.

            When you think of Reiko, J and C Barrett, DMac, probably Aumua, Fifita, all of whom hes put on the field this year hes wanting them to get out there and become ABs quickly, get the nerves out of the way, see how they handle it, then work on how they fit in if they cut it first up.

            I think hes gotta realise Barrett is never going to give the ABs the stability they need to direct and control matches. Barrett creates moments better than anyone but he doesnt manage the non moment times well and thats going to be a problem if the ABs are back with the peleton with England, Ireland, Oz and SA at the World cup.

          • September 10th 2017 @ 3:21pm
            Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

            Taylorman, excellent comment. I think you’re right about most of the poor performances put in by the All Blacks can be traced back to Barrett overplaying his hand and cramping his backs. He’s an excellent impact player, but he isn’t in the imperious form he was in in 2016, and when he is without that form he is too inconsistent to start over Sopoaga, Cruden, Mounga, who run their backlines much better.

            Peter did admit that Foley was better than Jantjies last night, and I admit it too (even though I wasn’t hugely impressed with either), sorry to contradict your narrative about everyone who disagrees with you being biased but sometimes the truth wins.

            • September 10th 2017 @ 6:16pm
              FunBus said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

              Would the answer be Barrett at FB and Smith and Reiko on the wings?

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:22pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                I really don’t know, hey.

                My gut feeling is that if someone is indisputably the best player in their position in the world, as Ben Smith is, then you shouldn’t move them. So I would have thought Ben Smith at fullback and Ioane and Milner-Skudder on the wings would be the best option, but perhaps your idea is better as it gets Barrett into the 15.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:32pm
                cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Barrett can play on the wing. i think he has played on the wing – albeit for a little time for NZ.

                he has the speed for sure, he can catch a high ball, he can chip and chase. any concern if at all , maybe one-on-one tackling face-to-face.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:34pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                FunBus, I think the answer in the short term, while Ben Smith is on sabbatical, is the following:

                9. A. Smith
                10. L. Sopoaga
                11. R. Ioane
                12. R. Crotty
                13. A. Lienert-Brown
                14. N. Milner-Skudder
                15. B. Barrett

                21. T. Perenara
                22. J. Goodhue/N. Laumape/SBW
                23. I. Dagg

              • September 11th 2017 @ 4:08am
                FunBus said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:08am | ! Report

                Yep, that would be my choice with Smith coming back for NM-S.

            • Roar Guru

              September 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

              What could be Jordie’s “downfall” (when it comes to the starting XV for the WC) is that he is so versatile, he pretty much cover all back positions bar scrumhalf.

              But from what I have seen from Jordie the last two years, I back him to be nailed on as a starter when it is time for the WC. He is a very special player who proved himself in that third Lions Test. You can’t get a game more similar to a WC knockout than that third Test, and Jordie was the best AB player on the pitch.

              In a perfect scenario, I see Jordie and Bender sort of sharing the 14 and 15 jerseys. Switching positions whenever they feel like it and mix it up to confuse the opponents and give the AB’s an extra edge-

              • September 10th 2017 @ 6:36pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                Do you think he’s better than Milner-Skudder, Neutral? I’m not so sure that Jordie wouldn’t be better as a super sub off the bench if the entire team is full strength.

                Don’t forget that Ben Smith is currently 31, by the RWC he will be 33, it is no sure thing that he will still be an option then.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:05pm
                cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                nz will not play NMS against a very good back 3 capable of jumping high and running over guys.

                he cant do anything being short. someone like Folau will just jump higher. someone like North will just go over him.

                it is not that he lacks courage or skills , he is short compared to some of the wings going around.

                even against the argies , he went against the shorter wing.

                and the pity is Hansen has said he is only a wing, so ….

                JB is 6′ 5″ !!! wanna see him and Scott stand next to each other – who is taller?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 7:06am
                Ben said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

                Theres that lack of size thing you have again.
                One of the best in the business was Cory Jane…not exactly towering was he..
                And you used to say Ben Smith was too small…he has grown any.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 7:14am
                Ben said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

                ….hasn’t grown any…

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:20pm
                Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Tend to agree with that.

                Few players mature that quickly- he was playing mitre 10 last year, first Super this year then tests vs Lions, some rise, and at 6 ft 5 certainly has a presence, loves the tackle, can kick goals and cover from centre to Fullback and no doubt 10 at a pinch.

                Milner Skudder hasnt quite hit the form he did in 2015 and I think his time out has slowed him. His primary skill is in his huge step, the ability to change direction at pace and even better know when to use it. Ive only seen the Warriors Shaun Johnson step better than that and hes a freak in that regard.

                So very different players and NMS is tiny in comparison.

                Personally I think Hansens just getting his next rung of players out there and as debutants just telling them to express themselves, do want they think is best and whatever they think they can offer. That way he gets to see them in their raw state at the top level.

                I think too many sides select an up and comer then either wrap them in cotton wool or limit their participation so it stunts them from the start.

                Is it a coincidence that all of Reiko, Jordie, Fifita had stunning first up starts where they were able to fully express themselves? Players dont normal debut well enough to be the best on the field yet in the case of all three they were all but.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:26pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                Cuw, NMS was the first choice winger in the 2015 RWC, so I wouldn’t be so sure that he won’t be used again.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 7:27pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

                NMS is a great player, but his overall play is much more one-dimensional than Jordie’s. However, I can understand your question mark Fionn regarding Jordie when he is compared to NMS (he has also proven himself at crunch time as he was very good in the World Cup final and in several other games in the WC).

                The WC will for sure be Bender swan song, but I reckon he and the AB’s management are doing everything in their powers for him to get one last peak 2019. It worked alright when they did the same with McCaw and Carter.

                With the right mix of nutrition, rest and smart training I believe one can play Test rugby much longer than we have been used to.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:30pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Neutral, there is the added possibility of BB playing at fullback and Ben Smith at the wing, with Mounga or Sopoaga at 10.

                I just like the fact that NMS has proven that he’s a big match player, despite not being so versatile as some of the others mentioned.

                Ugh, too many options.

                By the way, I contacted the Roar and asked them to pass on my email to you.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 8:09pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

                We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, but it appears that Hansen is backing BB very hard as his starting ten. Right now that can look like a risk or the wrong call, but long term it could be a very smart move. It is important for all players to feel the support from the coach, but I reckon that for flyhalf it is extra important. If Hansen should start benching BB because of one or two poor performances, I think it would create some nasty commotion internally in the AB’s camp.

                BB is no world class kicker, but he is far from as bad as some say. Just a week ago he pretty much was the difference between a win and loss due to his performance from the tee (I am sorry I have to remind about that Fionn).

                I have not got any email from the Roar yet, but I send them one soon if nothing happens the next few days.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 7:44pm
                cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

                NMS will be used for sure but it will not be automatic choice.

                he will probably play against saffas too , given the saffa back 3 are reluctant tacklers and not so acrobatic.

                in 2015 NMS was in super form, but since then he has been injured a lot and lost pace.

                he brings a difference to the usual – coz he can step on a coin, and at speed. i wonder if he plays miter 10 , where he will play – wing or full back?

                coz he made a name from 15.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 8:10pm
                Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

                Agree with the one dimensional comment NV but sometimes that can prove to be better.

                Jordie is the complete opposite and as they say a jack of all trades can also be a master of none so its best to accept theyre different, but too early to say who has the greater strengths. Certainly Jordie has more potential.

                In their debut years NMS was far more impressive, and thats saying a lot, as Jordies was very good. NMS was the only debut in 2015 to bolt into the WCup side. If the tournament were to start now, Jordie would probably make the squad but not as nailed on starter.

                NMS has proven himself by imposing his best game on the biggest stage, the WCup final. If he recaptures that form, he’ll play.

              • Roar Guru

                September 10th 2017 @ 8:31pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

                I agree about there are circumstances where NMS’s direct style can be more benfitial than Jordie’s more “fantasy-full” style.
                At the end of the day, it is all about finding the right balance in the back three combined with the perfect bench option. If I am predicting the magic four for the WC right now, I start with Bender, Jordie, and Rieko with NMS on the bench. But we all know all lot of things can and will happen the next two years, so I take both my own thoughts and others with a big pinch of salt.

                Also, agree about NMS’s 2015. He hardly made a mistake all year and after almost every single game one could make a decent highlight reel with NMS. I really hope he finds those last percentages so he can come back in peak form again. But being a winger in the AB’s is brutal, the competition seems to get sharper and sharper every year, and we are already at crazy high levels of competition.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:12pm
                Fionn said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

                Neutral, I think that Milner-Skudder has the skills to reinvent himself as a centre, despite being small. He can throw a pass like a flyhalf and has excellent vision.

              • September 10th 2017 @ 9:21pm
                Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                Yep, I actually have my doubts about NMS being better than he was in 15 which is what he’ll need to be. Its rare for such a long term injury to come back a better player.

                But that step was powerful. He did it in such a way he threw the defender into total confusion and timed it to perfection. Hopefully we get to see it again as it was fun to watch and fairly unique.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 6:49am
      Tooly said | September 10th 2017 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      The ABs are over confident and overdoing the running game they are taking too many risky options this takes away the benefits of a tight pack . The SAs are more inclined to seek forward dominance before they run ; the old AB game . It will be interesting next week if the ABs don’t tighten up they will be beaten .

      • September 10th 2017 @ 11:49am
        zhenry said | September 10th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Agree Tooly. Wayne Smith is there for his last Championship, supervising the newbee defense coach.
        WS has been the guts of the ABs for minions, much more than defense coach, very important for SBW also, who seems to have lost his motivation.
        The current period for the ABs is a huge transition, WS gave ABs an edge which they seem to be losing. They play at speed regardless and are not using Line Speed
        Defence against opposition that are using it against them.
        Puzzling because LSD on your opposition mitigates opposition use of LSD back on you.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 12:07pm
        zhenry said | September 10th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        iphone playing up comment above not transferring straight away.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 7:17am
      MPC said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      Does anyone believe that Gardner is overrated as a referee? His relationship with players is poor.

      • September 10th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Taylorman said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        I thought both referees were good last night.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 8:58am
          Ben said | September 10th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          So did i.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 9:38am
          Jacko said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          I thought both were Ok…Aug should have had a ,an in the bin for repeat infringements but generally no issues.Gardener is hot and cold tho….can be great but also can be average

      • September 10th 2017 @ 5:29pm
        timber said | September 10th 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

        Gardner was good apart from one major blip – A YC for ABs wasn’t reciprocated when the Puma’s infringed with equal, if not more audacity, in their red zone.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 9:09am
      Rick Page said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      The AB’s problems are at 10 and 12, Beaudens kicking was really poor, those little pop kicks just give away possession, a restart that doesn’t make the line every game is way too much, doesn’t kick the high ball contestable often enough, crossfield kick is a known tactic and covered for, his grubbers too often get blocked, he doesn’t respect field postion by kicking for space and territory, in short he’s not directing very well and predictable, bar his broken play running .
      Also had the whole off season to sort out his goalkicking consistency, hasn’t done the work IMO, look at Foxy in amature days and all the work he put in or Frano Botica working on his kicking when he went to league, got paid and quickly became deadly, BB just isn’t working hard enough there. Can’t have poor ball striking /inconsistent goalkicking when you need reliability there at test level.
      In yer face defence is the new normal v the AB’s and some like BB and Mckenzie havnt adapted to the lesser time and space, maybe they’ll get there, Ioane quick learner for instance but in general, it’s a big ask to play flat at speed, against flat defences quickly closing down space and the AB’s across the board setting themselves up to be exposed to more handling error breakdowns and resuting runaway tries which kind of negates their own success in exploiting mistakes.
      SBW almost doesn’t have an offloading game anymore, with defences sweating on him, he’s a strong defender and strong runner at the line but his lack of pace and rugby nous pales by comparison with Crotty who should be starting in his proper position at 12 not 13, nothing wrong with ALB distribution at 13, straightens the line and makes gain line.
      SBW really hasn’t been able to step up to a leadership role, the red card was a real bad mistake that pretty much turned the Lions series and he’s been trying to play catch up with his confidence since and become no more than solid. Laumape is gonna end up offering the same and so much more than Sonny Bill is these days but for now Crotts and ALB is much more heady and constructive.
      Beauden starts at fullback, more space for his running game, with Ioane and NMS wings, Sopoanga starts at 10 because he runs the game better than BB.
      Electric runners like Mckenzie are better off the bench against tiring defences.
      The difference between starting and coming off bench is maybe 60% game time v 40% game time, not a lot in it but when Sopoanga starts they have a better chance to build a base, better control, less errors and they convert more goal kicks more consistently.
      There’s no better forward pack around (though scrum vulnerable now without Franks and Moody), so getting back to a bit more patience and having impact off the bench, fifita, scott barret, perenara, mckenzie, laumape – to finish like they were a couple of years back is gonna make them more consistent and controlled and better closing out games, even if less spectacular overall.
      I think SBW is finished as an AB though doubt selectors do.

    • September 10th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Beelzebub said | September 10th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      AB’s tight five looked tired & no crazy dog there at all, win flattered them

      • September 10th 2017 @ 4:01pm
        zhenry said | September 10th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        NZ super teams played in the finals, esp Crusaders tight 5, with only a weeks break before 1st game of Championship in Sydney; that’s not a sustainable schedule.

        • September 10th 2017 @ 7:53pm
          cuw said | September 10th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          wonder if the smaller super competition will finish earlier?

          the expansion is not good for test rugger since it is directly connected to the 4 nations.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 10:01am
            zhenry said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            I would sooner have less Super and more international, but with decent breaks. It’s getting to be necessary to have two teams of nearly equal ability, to compete in rugby union.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 2:58pm
            Jacko said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            Isnt the June test window being pushed back to allow the SR finals to finish uninterupted?

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