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Carlin

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Joined October 2018

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Nice tribute for the late Andy Haden Geoff mate. I was abit young to see his playing days but have heard he was a good lock forward. He amassed 117 games for the All Blacks so played over 70 tour or non-international matches. Tours are special thing that has been lost in professionalism but do understand why.

The other thing that Haden was instrumental in was getting girlfriends and wives being able to attend after match functions. Seemed to be a man a head of his time.

The Wrap: Super Rugby AU comes of age in Canberra thriller

A couple of tough ones to pick here this week with the Brumbies vs Reds and Highlanders vs Blues set to be close games.
Australian Competition: The Rebels will be too strong the Force (as much I am very keen to see a Force win). The Rebels have too many International players that will run away with the game in the second half. The Reds and Brumbies game is a tough one to pick. The Reds will be refreshed after the bye. They have a strong scrum and a couple of good finishers out wide. The Brumbies are doing enough to get over the line. I think this will be the game they go back to their clinical best and grind the Reds down via their maul strength.
New Zealand Competition: Hard to see the Crusaders going down twice to an out of form Chiefs team. The Chiefs historically get under the skin of the Crusaders but I think the Crusaders have a point to prove after last week. The game in Dunedin has the potential to be a high scoring close game. I have gone with the Blues as I think some of their backs like Barrett, Clarke, Ioane and Telea will relish in the indoor stadium. The Highlanders wont be easy though. I am hoping Papalii and Frizzell have a classic loose forward battle (they may or may not mark each other but think this has a big bearing on the game).
Sure Thing: The Chiefs get robbed by the refs again.

Super Rugby Week 8: Lessons learned. Or learnings gained.

Good article thanks Nicholas.

Your article highlights the limited depth in the tight forward stocks in Australian Rugby having to call up some veteran players. I really hope there is some work happening in the player pathway system and the high performance unit thats developing some world class tight forwards. In any new competition format no matter how many Australian teams there is, they will need strong tight forwards especially as any new competition will be aiming to be as close to test standard as possible. Your article also shows it is predominantly a “young” mans game.

Too big to fail: Why Rugby Australia must not make the same mistake again

That’s a really good point Micko mate. The rural communities end up missing out on some talent that would really boost their local clubs.

I also have seen some private schools in NZ “warehouse” talented kids. Been a couple of examples of boys who signed with NRL Clubs while at school but were allowed to play Rugby Union at top 1st XV schools as it supposedly prepared them abit better for a potential pro career. A lot never reach the hyped up expectations.

The Wrap: Truth proves elusive as Superman Suaalii saga rages on

Great article Geoff.

This point is spot on.

“Perhaps not allowing NRL player agents and their representatives to line the side of school rugby union pitches in Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland, like a conga line of Bob Sugars, would be a good place to start?”

I would also add agents going to School and Youth Rugby League games as well. My personal opinion is no agent and dear I say this any professional club should not be signing a player until they are 18 as that is generally when they are out of school. 16 is far too young for a player to have that sort of pressure on them no matter how good he is.

I have seen a number of boys in NZ get false hope by an agent or a club scout expressing some sort of interest in them and nothing ever comes of it. I think a lot of people over look some of the other characteristics that will really shape a talented school boy into a seasoned pro 10 years down the track, such as their training ethic, their levels of resilience and their receptiveness to criticism (after probably dominating at a young age).

I wish Joseph Suaalii all the best in which ever code he chooses (hopefully the XV man) but I just hope he gets to be teenager for abit longer without all this media on him and how much he is going to earn.

The Wrap: Truth proves elusive as Superman Suaalii saga rages on

Please IGNORE my last comment. I read the wrong article on the Blues website. Beauden is at 10 and TJ at 12.

Super Rugby Week 7: Movers and shakers week

Hey Brett

Have just seen the Blues squad for this week. They have kept Plummer at 12 and Barrett at 15. Black has really controlled the Blues backline. I like Barrett at fullback as he can roam free a lot more. We havent seen that though while he has been a Blue apart from that try he scored last week.

I personally would have TJ Faiane playing 12. He has really come of age in the last 2 or so years.

Super Rugby Week 7: Movers and shakers week

The challenge for this week is to see whether the 4 games can reach the same quality as last weeks. I really hope so as it will be a good reason why all teams currently playing in both competitions need to be in the mix in any new version of professional competition.
I think the Tahs win a close one. They have had a good first half and a good second half so far in this competition so they will pull out a good 80 mins. The Brumbies will be too strong for the Force but I do think the Force will scare them. I am really enjoying Force’s attacking style.
In NZ competition. At times over the history of Super Rugby the Hurricanes have troubled the Crusaders when we have least expected it. I cant see it happening this week though. The Crusaders are rested and will be wanting to keep their impressive home record intact. The Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan fullback battle will be worth a watch.
The Blues should be too strong. They wont be able to be as leaky in their midfield defence as they were last week. Their forwards are playing well and I think they will target a young Chiefs tight five. I am also hoping Barrett gets to play 10.
SURE THING: Laumape wont have his name disrespected again.

Super Rugby Week 7: Movers and shakers week

Yeah he is in great form. The Blues leadership has also lifted his game and leads that team really well.

Changing of the red guard bodes well for the Wallabies

Great article Nicholas.

When Rodda left I was bemused by that. He had really impressed me over the last couple of years and looked set for a good Wallaby career. He obviously saw the $$$ side of things and took his agents advice.

LSL is a lot more effective at lock. He has a similar frame to Patrick Tuipolutu and has the ability to perform that power lock type of game with some big strong tackling and good ball carrying in the middle of the field. You must be chuffed that he is finally playing in the second row.

Changing of the red guard bodes well for the Wallabies

I really rate this idea. I think it is a really fair solution for a team that has sacrificed a lot to ensure the competition was able to continue especially in a time where the Warriors are going through some major issues with coach sackings, players going home and contracts not being renewed.

The one thing other NRL clubs need to do is be a little more generous in the loaning of players. Todd Payton was on the news tonight saying clubs are happy to say they will help out when the cameras are on them but behind the scenes it is a different story.

How to repay the Warriors in 2021? Stretch the gratitude into 2022 as well

Good effort on the XI. I think if McCullum is batting down the order he bats 7. He was a great finisher in his early years. Personally I would have him opening though. His brashness and aggressive nature at the top of an innings when he came off really set the tone for New Zealand to win a lot of games.

I would have Cairns a head of Oram. Cairns is more a match-winner with both bat and ball.

I am glad you Mills in there. He was an unheralded bowler and did a great job for NZ.

My New Zealand ODI XI of the 21st century

Hey Brett

Was a real enjoyable round of rugby. The Force are going to become “everybody’s” second favourite team by the end of this competition. They are showing some great skill and intention to play a good attacking style of rugby. They are definitely not there to make up the numbers. Fingers crossed they get a win to really bolster the franchise.

I really enjoyed what I saw from Super Rugby AU on the weekend. Good even battles. Looking promising for the remainder of the competition.

The weekend that made Super Rugby AU

Hey Geoff

Definitely not if it was a night game and to peg back that type of lead in a night game would be more challenging.

I really hope they are kept. The Mitre 10 Cup is having two Sunday games going simultaneously at 2pm this year. Hope this is well received. Has great potential if some of the top players are available.

The Wrap: Super Rugby goes up a level, as Australia and New Zealand eye each other off

Top read as always Geoff.

It will be a great shame if a revamped competition has less Australian teams involved. It sounds like the new team that the ex-All Blacks is starting up will enter in MLR first, then try to tackle new version of Super Rugby. South Auckland does seem like the natural base for this franchise if they get going in NZ. I do agree with you though it will dilute the supporter base especially for the Blues. My understanding is that the Aratipu report has some points about fan engagement. I would hope one of those is more Sunday day time games.

On the rugby front. I have really enjoyed the brand the Force are trying to play. They seem to have a reasonable high skill level and arent too far off the mark. NZ wise, Laumape made a huge statement on Saturday. And Frizzell showed why he is not to be forgotten about in the 6 position. There hadnt been much talk about him pre-COVID when the likes of Boshier, Robinson and Grace were all getting mentions.

The Wrap: Super Rugby goes up a level, as Australia and New Zealand eye each other off

From what Joe Rocokoko said the other night there main target players are the ones who miss out on making NZ Super Rugby squads or Provincial squads. So in away they are not getting the best crop of player in comparison. They definitely need the money to be invested to lure some Pacific players back from Europe. I have no issues with the team being based Auckland as it is the biggest Pacific city in the world and there is a decent enough infrastructure there. I would hope there is a few games played in the Islands.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

I think NZ Rugby has to be very careful on how they do this. I heard a couple of weeks ago they only wanted 2-3 Australian teams involved. Australia will never agree to that. I am glad they are exploring a Pacific team. The key for that though is where will they be based (maybe the Hawaii consortium) and how well will the organisation be operated.

Rugby Australia coy after NZ announce preferred Super Rugby format

Seems like a week where some results can go either way. In the Australian section I am going for The Reds as I think they are more established and have a pack that is doing some big damage at the moment. The Brumbies will win a tight one on the back of some rolling maul tries.

On the NZ side. I think the Blues will bounce back after last week in a tight one. Their last outing against the Canes they dominated their lineout and they will target that again. The Canes have some potential off the bench especially in the forwards which may see them finish strong. The Blues just seem a little more clinical at the moment.
I have picked the Highlanders as I think they arent as disjointed as the Chiefs. Was a tough one to pick.

Sure Thing: Dane Coles to give Beauden Barrett a friendly serve at some stage on Saturday night.

Super Rugby Week 6: Choose your own disappointment

That is the one RT mate. I am still learning the school song.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

I like Bridge but have an indirect bias with Clarke. I started working at his old school this year so have hope he will be an All Black.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

ALB is good and is one of the best midfield backs NZ has. One of the keys though is having the right balanced combination. ALB/Goodhue can work but Goodhue should be in the 12 jersey as he attacks straighter and has better distribution skills.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

Ioane does still need to work on that defence. I will keep a close eye on that aspect this week for him.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

Yeah that’s true. Not settling on a stable position can be a downfall.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

Yep Havili is underrated. That’s a good way to compare them. I think Havili is an Iceman but he does have some Maverick in him

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?

Great article Nicholas.

I am with you with the Crusaders system. They keep delivering year in and year out. Their coaching system, player development system and their culture are exemplary. They also work really well with Canterbury and Tasman so everyone is on the same page. I am always amazed by when a player no matter where they are on the depth chart gets an opportunity they fit in seamlessly and nothing is every affected too much.

George Bridge has always impressed me as he has a great workrate and makes the right decisions very often as you highlighted. His selection last year was a contributor in getting the All Blacks going again after what was a rusty Rugby Championship. I think his reliability means he will be a first choice All Black. He was also voted by other players as the best winger in the NZ game. There is some great options for New Zealand at the moment in midfield, wing and fullback. Tough job for the selectors.

Who will wing it for the All Blacks in 2020?