Who shapes as bolters in the June internationals?

Jonty Shonty Roar Pro

By Jonty Shonty, Jonty Shonty is a Roar Pro

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143 Have your say

    May is a great time of year. In Sydney, the weather seems to cling onto the warmth of summer, decent swell starts rolling into town making us surfers happy, the Premier League reaches its crescendo.

    And in rugby, you get an insight into what your national coach is thinking for the year ahead.

    While coaches probably know their best team, they also have an eye on the players who have been putting up their hand in Super Rugby. In June, they can bring these players into the set-up to see how they perform with an experienced team around them.

    So who could be the bolters this June?

    Australia
    The Wallabies have been calling out for someone to step up at hooker. Enter the Melbourne Rebels’ fly-half pulverising Anaru Rangi.

    First and foremost, Rangi’s setpiece is accurate and he is striking up a good combination with Adan Coleman. But it’s his impact around the park that catches the eye.

    In many ways, he’s a hybrid of Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau – he loves the physical stuff, tackles hard and hits rucks, while he’s deceptively quick for someone of his size, and he consistently gets the Rebels over the advantage line with the ball in hand.

    It’s his physicality and toughness that I like the most, and the Wallabies need some hard men up front.

    I also like Billy Meakes. He was in the squad last year but hasn’t been given an extended run. He weighs just under 100kgs and brings solidarity to the 12 position with subtle skills.

    He loves to hit the line and is strong enough in contact to free the hands and get an offload away. His distribution skills are good – something the Wallabies lack if Samu Kerevi starts at 12 – and his defence is solid.

    He could strike up a good combination with Tevita Kurindrani or Kerevi on his outside.

    New Zealand
    I’ve ruled out Brad Shields, given his only bolt might be north to play for England! There are a couple other names that are really jumping out, though.

    The All Blacks are blessed for talent out wide, but Ben Lam is currently lighting up Super Rugby with his eye for the tryline. He’s close to beating Ngani Laumape’s tryscoring record from last year (15) and it’s only halfway through the competition.

    Physical in contact, Lam can break tackles and defend, and he’s solid under the high ball. He would also link well with the other Hurricanes players in the All Blacks backline. If he was any other nationality he’d be starting.

    I’d also flag Jack Goodhue. I know he was involved last year, but he’s another who hasn’t been given a proper opportunity yet.

    Blessed with good pace and strength – I seem to remember him bulldozing through a few Bulls forwards on his way to the try line – he runs good lines and has an eye for a gap.

    The centre combination is one area the All Blacks are still figuring out, so maybe he would own that 13 jumper?

    South Africa
    I’ve got two absolute wildcards here, but hear me out.

    Sharks scrumhalf Cameron White is the first.

    If you watched the recent Sharks-Highlanders game, you would have noticed his box kicks are accurate – the Sharks have scored from a couple already – and that he can kick long from the base or vary it with short chips in behind.

    White flicks passes from rucks without a back lift, so his distribution is fast and accurate. He’s solid too, so doesn’t shirk his responsibilities in defence.

    The second is Stormer hooker Ramone Samuels.

    Samuels is only playing consistently because of an injury to Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni, but he’s really settling into that starting jumper.

    His lineouts are accurate, and with Wilco Louw and Steven Kitshoff he’s one part of a formidable front row steamrolling their way through Super Rugby.

    Malcolm Marx will start (if fit), but an issue for the Boks is how much athleticism they lose when he goes off. Samuels gets around the park, hits the advantage line, tackles, clears rucks and does the basics well.

    I have a feeling his Stormers teammates Wilco Louw, Steven Kitshoff and Pieter-Steph du Toit will be on the bench. In terms of combinations, bringing on Samuels with three forwards he plays with is ideal.

    Who are the bolters you would like to see in your team in June?

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    The Crowd Says (143)

    • Roar Guru

      May 10th 2018 @ 3:01am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | May 10th 2018 @ 3:01am | ! Report

      News today Malcolm Marx is out for six weeks

      • Roar Pro

        May 10th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Yep I saw that. The silver lining is hopefully we can establish a good back up for him. Thoughts on Samuels?

        • May 10th 2018 @ 9:00am
          Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          For the last ten years the Boks have been at their best when their hooker has been a 19th century German figure. Unless there is a Wilhelm available, I think it is time to bring back Bismarck.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 9:40am
            Ralph said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            Spooky but true.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 10th 2018 @ 10:27am
            Shane D said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            Think that Bismarck has more in common with the battleship than the statesman!

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

    • Roar Guru

      May 10th 2018 @ 4:44am
      Harry Jones said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:44am | ! Report

      Good article.

      You’re right on Cam Wright’s mechanics. Cannon pass.

      • Roar Pro

        May 10th 2018 @ 8:50am
        Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Thanks Harry. I really like him, but I think Rassie has an eye on bringing Faf back.

    • May 10th 2018 @ 5:13am
      Hugo said | May 10th 2018 @ 5:13am | ! Report

      Good stuff Jonty – hell of a blow for the Boks with Marx being out. So, Corne and Harry, who takes his place?
      There’s been quite a few bytes lately about the absurdity of having a winger as strong and fast as Lam yet the ABs are so deep he probably won’t make it. As for the Wallabies, I was surprised when Nick Bishop predicted Ireland 2-1. We’re capable of taking a test from Ireland or Ireland A even with Rangi and Meakes? I don’t see how.

      • Roar Pro

        May 10th 2018 @ 8:52am
        Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Thanks Hugo. There’s rumour Strauss might be doing a u-turn on his retirement plans, and Rassie’s interested in getting Bismark involved in some capacity. I do like Samuels though. Maybe this is the time to see what he can do..?

        Ireland will be a real test for the Wallabies that’s for sure.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 6:11pm
          UKKiwi said | May 10th 2018 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          What a frightening thought, Bismark starting with Marx off the bench – or vice versa, like a one two punch.

    • May 10th 2018 @ 6:16am
      Will E. Ruckit said | May 10th 2018 @ 6:16am | ! Report

      After watching the Rebels v the Crusaders, I thought Billy Meakes wasn’t even SR standard. He would turn out to be another Steve Kefu.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 11:11am
        John DRYSDALE said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        Agreed. He was bordering on hopeless. He was brushed off in tackles and hurled backwards with the ball. Tom English is a better centre and Hodge should be inside him.
        I did not see a single Oz player worthy of a Wallaby jumper last weekend.

        • Roar Pro

          May 10th 2018 @ 12:18pm
          Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          Hi John – I like Tom English, but is he better than Kerevi or Kurindrani at 13? I do like Hodge but can’t figure out where I’d start him.

    • May 10th 2018 @ 7:16am
      Jameswm said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Odd selections for Australia. Meakes is behind at least Beale and Kerevi at 12, and Paenga-Amosa would be ahead of Rangi.

      Bigger questions are will Tupou push ahead of AA? I guess Rangi is a chance with BPA and Uelese to back up Taf.

      And the other bolters are Timu and Gordon. Maybe not bolters as much as rookies.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 8:21am
        RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        Tupou may be ahead of SK let alone AA

      • Roar Pro

        May 10th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Beale has been a standout performer, you’re right. I just think the Wallabies could do with some size and all round ball skills at 12. Kerevi still has a few flaws which I think limits his game a bit – defence and passing for example.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 9:04am
          Jameswm said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Can’t agree on passing. On short passes, offloads, long passes and all round creativity, it’s no contest between Kerevi and Meakes. Kerevi breaks more tackles too.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 9:06am
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            Kerevi breaks more tackles than anyone in Aus. Isn’t he third in the entire comp? Kerevi’s a beast.

            • Roar Pro

              May 10th 2018 @ 12:20pm
              Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Kerevi is a beast at breaking tackles. If his defence was better he’d be an amazing 13. He’s more dynamic on attack that Kurindrani that’s for sure.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 11:06am
            PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            agree Meakes lacks physicality in contact, he was constantly stopped in his tracks by the crusaders.

            Meakes has had 1 (very) good game against the sharks whilst Kerevi has had many good games, the exception are the ones that aren’t.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 1:48pm
              Dave_S said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

              I can see the attraction for Meakes, but he’s frustrating – for every one step towards selection he seems to take two steps back. Would be good to see him benefit from a season of good coaching, but then he’s not playing in NZ …

              Until then, it has to be Beale, Kerevi and …daylight

      • May 10th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Gordon has been abysmal the last few rounds. He played very well up until then though, so it should still be between him and Powell as the backup halfback. Phipps? No thanks, let’s move on. He did nothing after coming on on the weekend against a tired defence except for getting palmed off by Akira Ioane.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 9:20am
          RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

          Yes Phipps got palmed off by a no8 so he’s hopeless.

          And he didn’t set the world on fire in the last 20min of his career so let’s just get rid of him. That means his test experience is now null and void.

          And powell who is in ordinary form that can’t secur a starting spot ahead of Matt Lucas is the obvious answer.

          Do u have trouble dressing btw?

          • May 10th 2018 @ 9:25am
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

            The last 20 mins + the last 2-3 years of his Super Rugby and international performances is why he shouldn’t be in the squad.

            Also, please just go away.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 9:52am
              RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

              Sorry someone has to pony out your balatantly obvious agenda

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

                Well, at least we have you.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm
            Wade Fite said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

            “Do you have trouble dressing btw?”
            Not a very christian comment there RTT. Blog unto others as you would have them etc etc.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 2:56pm
              RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

              I’m not a Christian

              • May 11th 2018 @ 1:06am
                Geoff said | May 11th 2018 @ 1:06am | ! Report

                but definitely a d—head.

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2018 @ 10:55am
        jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        I think Tupou has to be ahead of AA. Has a clear chance to set himself to be the starting TH if his form line is maintained.

        I’d be playing him off the bench behind Kepu in June but potentially give him the starting spot in the third test if he handles himself well in the first two matches.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 10:59am
          Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          Yep, I think Ala’aalatoa should be the 3rd choice tighthead and loosehead, but shouldn’t be in the 23 if Sio, Slipper, Kepu and Tupou are injury free.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 11:06am
            jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            Which is the view I think we shared at the start of the season. At least one group of players are going to plan.

            Now if only 13 could be resolved! Rona being sent to the bench last week doesn’t help that picture.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 11:20am
              RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              Agree odd selection as I was of the opinion that Rona was playing himself into wallaby contention.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:35am
                jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                Just saw Gibson has brought him back this week – a step in the right direction.

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2018 @ 11:19am
          PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          jeznez – agree Tupou should be well ahead of AA.

          I would start Kepu but bring Tupou on with 30 mins to go not 20 as Kepu normally comes off at 60 mins.

          IMO AA though has a very good chance of being the bench LHP behind Sio.

          He is competing with Slipper and JP Smith for that position.

          Hopefully Robertson doesn’t even make the squad.

          There are a number that could be bolters but there are 2 major issues that inhibit this
          1) lack of preparartion time for June
          2) Cheika is quite resistent to change and often only injury forces his hand

          The bolters I would have in order of importance

          1) Timu to start and push Hanigan out of the squad
          2) Tupou over AA
          3) Any hooker is a bolter since TPN won’t play in June and Ulese is injured
          4) Rodda over Arnold
          5) Gordon over Phipps
          6) Valetini in squad (IF HE PLAYS VERY WELL BACK FROM INJURY) , really need powerful backrow ball carriers who are lineout options
          7) Daugana over Naivalu

          Players who could have been bolters but have hurt their chances with poor performances (or not living up to hype)

          1) Maddocks
          2) Meakes
          3) Philip
          4) RHP

          All rebels players interestingly enough

          • May 10th 2018 @ 11:23am
            RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            AA can play both sides so I agree that might be the 4 props used.

            But we should not be writing off Robertson because of his size. He can scrummage, he wins his contacts and he’s mobile.

            Size isn’t everything
            Ps I realise the risk of the innuendo

            • May 10th 2018 @ 11:34am
              MitchO said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              On last year’s trip North Robertson got smashed in the scrums and it was a huge problem for the team. I am glad to hear (from you) that he as improved in super rugby.

              Regarding size, I agree in the sense that 110kg should be able to pack in enough strength but my betters are telling me that it is too small for a test loosehead so I will believe them. A good big man beats a good small man and so many tightheads are over 120kg. Everyone is on the weights and so giving up 15kg to a test tighthead is asking for trouble.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

            I wasn’t aware JP Smith was eligible?

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 11:32am
              PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

              he emigrated to aust in 2010

              The highest level he has played in sa was currie cup for western province.

              He played in australia up to 2015 so here for 6 years continuously, and i believe has aust citzenship.

              The question though is he went back to sa and played for western province 2015 and stormers 2016. Since he was here the required number of years first i don’t know if this changes his eligibility.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:35am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                Excellent to hear. Thanks, Peter.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:38am
                jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                I think (but am not certain) that the Stormers trip in 2016 breaks his eligibility. My understanding was that you had to have the continuous residence immediately preceding selection and that any time breaking that residence re-started the clock.

                Will happily stand corrected if anyone has a better insight.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:48am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

                If he is an Aus citizen that would make him eligible regardless of how many consecutive years he has spent here, right?

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:59am
                PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                Fionn – That I don’t know for sure, I thought it still required the first number of continuous years but I didn’t think the clock restarted since he was a citizen and had qualified but WR may not take that into account.

                I suppose it could be grounds to apply for an exception.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:06pm
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                I’d be pretty horrified if World Rugby could prevent an Australian citizen uncapped by another nation from playing for Australia.

                Imagine if a refugee moved over and was barred from playing?

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:48pm
                jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                I don’t think he qualifies – below is from the WR announcement in December. He qualified under section c but then broke the immediately component making himself in eligible again.

                Also doesn’t meet d yet.

                This is based on the Player having a genuine, close, credible and established national link with:

                (a) the country in which the Player was born; or

                (b) the country in which one parent or grandparent of the Player was born; or

                (c) the country in which the Player has completed sixty consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing³; or

                (d) the country in which the Player has completed ten years of cumulative Residence preceding the time of playing; and

                (e) for Olympic Event participation, the nationality of the Union or country the Player wishes to represent is also required.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                jeznez – He might then qualify under the 10 accumulative rule

                Smith’s family originally emigrated from Cape Town to Toowoomba in 2006, where he and twin brother Ruan spent a year studying at Darling Downs Rugby nursery Toowoomba Grammar School, before returning to their homeland to finish their schooling.

                He stayed on in South Africa a further year to play for Western Province, before returning to Australia to play for GPS in Brisbane and chase a Super Rugby contract – earning a two-year stint with the Brumbies from 2014-2015 and the Stormers in 2016.

                Smith spent the 2017 season weighing up his options and honing his coaching skills with the USC Barbarians on the Sunshine Coast, before taking up a six-month opportunity with the Jake White-coached Toyota Verblitz in Japan’s Top League.

                Was here for 1 year at school in 2006, then back here in australia 2010-2015, so another 6 years makes it 7 years, then back here in 2017 and 2018 makes it 9 years.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                sounds like one year to go to qualify under option D then

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 11:39am
            jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

            Was thinking AA for the reserve LH spot is an option as well. Good call.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm
          Akari said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          Now that young Eddie has set a precedent by selecting Brad Shields sight-unknown from Canes, shouldn’t the WBs be calling on Michael Ala’alatoa to come home for the Irish series? That’s assuming of course that MA is amenable to playing under Cheika.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 12:13pm
            PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            To cap him maybe but on merit both Kepu and Tupou IMO are ahead of MA as a THP.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 12:22pm
              jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              Kepu is nearing his last legs though. MA and TT for the TH’s and SS and AA for the LH’s would be a fantastic propping group as the older statesman transitions out.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:31pm
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

                Plus how cool would it be to get the two Alaalatoa’s scrummaging down together? Those two + Uelese or Paenga-Amosa is a very big front row…

    • May 10th 2018 @ 7:27am
      Highlander said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Australia is going to need a solid hooker and with TPN unlikely to return Rangi looks a good choice. Not sure he is as accurate as stated but great energy and he will make hits behind the opposition gain line.
      If the Wallabies are looking for better backline structure I would think about Hegerty.
      Tahs concede 4 midfield try breaks vs sharks and jags before Folau got moved to wing and Hegerty plugs this hole better. Blues second try in the weekend was a midfield break that the fullback again didn’t cover.
      Plus he provides greater balance to the attack both sides of the ruck. Not a flashy player but is very sound and appears to have the top 2 inches.

      South Africa need a 9 who can move the ball super quickly and kick well. No small part played by White in deconstructing the Highlanders defence line last week.
      That guy de Allende at Stromwrs looks way better than the de Allende who has played for SAin the past, add Bosch here too.

      For NZ I would pick Matt Procter at 13 in partnership with Crotty, the guy just looks like an All Black, does everything right, defensively sound and quick.
      We are going to need a loosehead behind Moody with Hames still out and Crockett retired – step up Aki Seuli from the Highlanders. Since he paper clipped Dan Cole to get the penalty that won the Lions game he has scrummed well and is great round the park

      • May 10th 2018 @ 7:38am
        Morsie said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        Tahs are a different (better) team with Hegarty on the field. I think he has the skills to move into 10.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 10:22am
          Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          Agreed.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 11:15am
            John DRYSDALE said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            Agreed. he is the most skilful back playing in Oz( that includes Beale who is a bit too “hail Mary” most of the time.. Pity he is not bigger but he does not shy away from tackling.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 11:26am
              Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              I think Hegarty looks to have all the skills required for a flyhalf. Whether he can handle the game management stuff will only be discovered by giving him time there.

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2018 @ 11:11am
          jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Hegarty at FB has been the outstanding selection by Gibson all year – very surprised he moved away from it.

          He’s listed on the team website as a flyhalf – I’m keen that he be given a chance to show us what he can do there.

          The few times Foley has been off the pitch they have shifted Beale in and Foketi into 12.

          I like Foketi at 12, much more than I like him at 13 – but it completely changes the shape of that backline.

          Then again shifting Hegarty out of 15 changes the way that backline plays immensely as well. Although Foley could play a similar role to what Hegarty is doing at 15 so if it could be tried without completely disrupting the attack.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 11:21am
            PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            Foley originally was a f/b when he shifted from 7’s.

            I too think Hegarty at 10 and Foley at 15 could be better than Foley at 10 and Hegarty at 15..

            • May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am
              RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              Now we’re talking rubbish

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am
              jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

              Not sure if it would be better or worse – particularly might not make much difference if the set up against the Reds is repeated with Beale at first receiver and Hegarty and Foley playing either side.

              I’d certainly like to see it given a bit of a run to see how he goes. Hegarty is looking a quality player but without the size or speed to translate to higher levels as an outside back.

              Keen to have a look at him in what is his stated preferred position – even if just for 20 minutes of a match.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:46am
                PeterK said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                exactly whilst Foley is faster and has a better running game but Hegarty is a better creative playmaker.

                Foley has played more f/b also from memory.

                The questions I would like to know who is better under the highball and who can kick wide to IF on the wing better.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:49am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                Beale as first receiver is something I just don’t like. He’s always been at his best when running in space – counter attacking off of turnover ball from 12, or off kick returns from fullback has always been his thing.

                Was it against the Lions that Foley went off and Beale shifted to 10 during the HIA? If it was then then it was not a successful experiment.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:03pm
                jeznez said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

                Happened against the Lions and in an earlier season match – maybe the Sharks.

                He was used there effectively against the Reds where his longer pass was used to shift the point of attack – finding Foley and Hegarty in wider spaces to play the strike runners into gaps.

                In the Lions game Foketi came in to 12 and completely changed the way the backline played.

                Much more direct, very traditional inside centre type play. I think there is scope for Foketi and Rona to work as a centre pairing but those shifts during the HIA were drastic changes to try and bed down quickly.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 9:17pm
          ThugbyFan said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

          Bryce Hegarty played at 5/8 (#10) for the first 4 matches early in the SR2018. I remember watching his two games on the SA tour (rounds 2 and 3), the bloke tried but was inexperienced at #10 in SR and looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He was subbed about the 65th minute both times.

          I think he was 5/8 also in the round 4 match against the Brumbies. I was at that match but I honestly cannot remember him doing anything except catch and pass. That was the game that Ned Hanigan will remember as a life changer, Jack Dempsey was eating the Brumbies for dinner but got a bad ankle injury.

          B.Foley was sitting out the 4 matches on concussion issues. As soon as he was ok, he was selected at 5/8 and D.Howitz played at IC.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 8:22am
        RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        I believe TPN has agreed to return.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 8:23am
        RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Ps and Hegartys defence is dreadful

      • Roar Pro

        May 10th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Yeah I prefer Izzy out wide. Maybe as a wing with Belabe at 15?

        De Allende has been playing incredibly well. SA has some dent centres running around at the moment which is good to see. Esterhuizen from the Sharks has stepping it up a level, Am, Kriel, and rumours are Rassier is looking to bring back Frans Steyn.

        Matt Procter is amazing. As you say – does all the basics to a high standard. NZ is never short of outstanding outside backs right?

        • May 10th 2018 @ 12:37pm
          Akari said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          I am yet to be convinced about Matt Procter. But then that’s exactly what I said about Jack Goodhue until this year. JG has shown skills and smarts that I didn’t think he had that better observers had already noted.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 9:04am
        Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        Beale or Haylett-Petty are the only guys with the capacity to shift Beale out of fullback in Cheika’s eyes, I think.

        I wouldn’t be against seeing Hegarty played at 10 for the Waratahs and potentially the Wallabies though 😛

        Is there any chance of Proctor getting ahead of Goodhue? Even if there is, midfield partnerships that are together at Super Rugby level and international level are a huge bonus.

        As I understand it TPN is returning.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 9:40am
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            Ugh. Okay, then I would be looking at Uelese (if fit), Paenga-Amosas and Rangi as the three hookers.

            Those three are guys that can dominate physically at least, which is more than I can say for most other Aussie hookers. I think they would be up to the physicality of test rugby.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am
              RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

              Damien Fitzpatrick

              Best lineout thrower in the country and a high work rate.

              Not to be discounted just because he’s a Waratah, you know the team leading the conference

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:02am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

                We need guys who can dominate physically in the loose and scrummage to a high standard also. Fitzpatrick’s line out throwing is good, but he is small, isn’t a very good scrummager from what I’ve seen and he has little impact.

                As to your last point, as is so often the case with you I feel like you’re putting him forward specifically because he is a Waratah. I can’t wait to hear your opinion on Robertson, Hanigan and Holloway – which of them should be in the Wallabies too?

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:39am
                RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Fitzpatrick is not small. If 6ft 105kg hookers are small than the game has changed quicker than I thought.

                To be fair I’m not advocating he starts for the wallabies but he should not be discounted. He’s quality. And his performance has led to a much improved tahs side this season.

                Robertson is mobile and can play both sides of the scrum. We saw last week v the blues he can scrummage. Then again we’ve seen that in most games. There’s a lot to like.

                Hanigan is another that can’t win. He played well last week for example getting us over the ad line on many occasions, took his lineout ball, worked hard around he park, but let himself down with some unfortunate lineout penalties one of which he was unfairly pinned. But he is not liked because he’s a Waratah. If he was doing what he does at the red or brumbies you’d all be calling for his inclusion.

                Holloway of 2016 pre injury was something else. If he gets a chance to show that form why wouldn’t we want that at test level?

                I’ll leave the selections up to the coach but none of those guys would be out of place in a test side.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:47am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                Okay, that was pretty much exactly what I expected.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:25am
                RTT said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                Yes how dare I use logic

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        • May 10th 2018 @ 3:45pm
          Malo said | May 10th 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

          FOLAU = 15

          • May 10th 2018 @ 8:21pm
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

            He’s actually 29…

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2018 @ 9:43am
        Ralph said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        South Africa need a 9 who can move the ball super quickly and kick well”

        Agree, but it’s going to be really interesting to see what Rassie does here.

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2018 @ 10:35am
          Nick Turnbull said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

          Has Stirzaker played for Australian Barbarians yet?

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2018 @ 10:07am
        Diggercane said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Love Procter, we are such a better side with his inclusion. Such a shame he has had the injury woes he has had.

        Certainly with Goodhue and ALB floating around, there are some quality choices available.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 10:09am
          Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Do you think we’ll see SBW at 12 and Crotty shifted to 13 again this year, or is that experiment over?

          Also, think Lam makes it into the squad? I was astounded to hear a lot of people saying that he might not.

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

            That is Hansens preferred midfield – if fit, they start

            Lam either starts or is out, ,limited bench value – AB selectors are very loyal beasts, no way they will move Reiko for the June tests

            Hope Lam gets the wider squad call up though and gets a taste of what is required at the top level.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am
              Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              Perhaps you’re right. I just haven’t seen Barrett gel with SBW.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:24am
                Highlander said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                don’t disagree with that

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:45pm
                Akari said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Barrett might be the problem in that equation IMO then, Fionn. They will gel when Barrett stops being intimidated (or is awe the better description) by SBW. I am a SBW fan folks and any contrary views will be disregarded.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:54pm
                Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Maybe, Akari, but they sure need to work out how to gel. I would have thought the straight running, offloading SBW might be the sort of 12 Barrett would need, but it hasn’t really worked so far. Cruden and SBW seemed to work better together as a pairing.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 3:37pm
                timber said | May 10th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                Barrett is not a natural fly-half (playmaker), his kicking and blistering speed/agility are enough to cover this weakness, for now anyway.
                Cruden looked better with SBW because he’s a natural playmaker and SBW is best with a player inside him capable of coordinating his charges.
                Barrett will only gel with an inside centre who’s a playmaker, Barrett would actually be the strike-runner in this pairing.
                My best guess anyway.

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 10:16am
            Diggercane said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            Assuming fitness I would suggest we will see it again Fionn.

            I would not begrudge Lam at all but I suspect that he may not. Considering the alternatives in Ioane, Naholo its a hard road and I am unsure that Lam is where he needs to be in defence. I think it may also come down to what they want to do with Jordie and Smith while they seem to have NMS pencilled in. All of those players offer more versatility then perhaps Lam does as squad members.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:20am
              Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

              Yeah, I see Lam as being in direct competition with Naholo, and I would have thought he has played better with Naholo, but what you say makes sense.

              Agree on Milner-Skudder that from the chatter I’ve heard from Kiwi audiences he seems to be in the plans, which I find interesting, but nice.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm
                Diggercane said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                The other curve ball for Lam is how the selectors see Macca as well, given he can cover in the back as well. Lots of pieces to fit in so many holes.

            • Roar Pro

              May 10th 2018 @ 12:11pm
              Jonty Shonty said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

              You guys are certainly blessed for talent out wide Digger.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:17pm
                Diggercane said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                There is which is great but geez it can be nauseating talking about backs all the time.

                I yearn for the day when we are trying to cram as many front five players into so many spots.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Ed said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Highlander,

        With Read out of the French series, who would be your pick for 8 – Akira or Jordan Taufua? Or will they go with Luke Whitelock?

        • May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am
          Highlander said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Gotta be Whitelock – he was awesome v Wales on EOYT when Read pulled out injured. And its France, so gonna be a scrap up front.

          If only Taufua was 6 inches taller eh, actually he even looks taller this year, and playing awesome

          Ioane still a work in progress, noticeable last few weeks he has been playing a lot narrower and closer to the ball for more minutes – I wonder if the big phone call came. The tries in the wider channels might have dried up but I think he looks a better for it.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am
            Fionn said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            6 inches or cm :P?

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:26am
              Highlander said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              Just taller would be good……
              I am happy to do weights in metrics but height I am still old school

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 10:31am
            Ralph said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Some interesting stats (Foxtel):

            Games played:
            Whitelock – 9
            Taufua – 8

            Tackles made:
            Whitelock – 139 (ave – 15.4 game)
            Taufua – 44 (ave – 5.6 game)

            Missed tackles:
            Whitelock – 18 (ave – 2 game)
            Taufua – 10 (ave – 4.4 game)

            Obviously this doesn’t show how dominant the tackles were, but Whitelock is certainly putting in the hard yards for the Clan and he is doing it accurately.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:40am
              Highlander said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

              They are very different animals aren’t they

              Taufuas missed tackle ave looks a lttle harsh

            • May 10th 2018 @ 2:01pm
              woodart said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

              big fan of whitelock, hope he wears Black this year

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 11:45am
            Diggercane said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            Yes, Whitelock for me too, easily the best all round skill set.

            Here’s a bolter to consider, Evans has been going very well and could be worth a squad place.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 12:54pm
            Akari said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

            Taufua seemingly looks 10 feet taller this year, Highlander, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get in the squad. I like Whitelock and I agree that he’ll be the one to beat.

            I also like Akira but not his unnecessary bullying school boy antics. He should be sent back to club rugby and learn how to stop wasting time and energy on little distractions like being tougher than anyone else.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 2:03pm
              woodart said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

              yes, needs to work on his people skills

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