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Carlin

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Joined October 2018

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The North team has some x-factor players right across the park but the South have 12 Crusaders in their starting lineup so they should be able to gel a lot better early on. The loose forward battle is the one that excites me the most. The North with the strong ball runners vs the South tackling machines.

Do the North vs South teams show us what the All Black selectors are thinking?

I am backing the Rebels to be too strong for the Force. It is a shame the Force will come away with a donut but I think we need to look past that and give them credit for joining the competition. All their players will be better off for this experience.

The Reds vs Brumbies game will be a good battle. I am really looking forward to the loose forward battle. And there is other good match ups in the front row and in the outside backs. I have tipped the Brumbies but will be close.

Sure Thing:

Super Rugby AU Week 10: The final countdown

I agree there. The North team has a lot of x-factor across the park. Their loosies and backline especially. I am really looking forward to the battle of the loose trio and back three. In the loosies the North has some explosive ball carries and the South have 2 tackling machines in Christie and Frizzell & a workhorse in Sanders.

I think with 12 Crusaders in the South starting lineup, they are definitely the front runners.

The teams are in for the North vs South match in New Zealand

Sanders wont be in the mix but I think he is very underrated. Always gets the job done without any moments of flash (apart from that try against the Chiefs). Marino Mikaele-Tu’u was exceptional this year.

The teams are in for the North vs South match in New Zealand

Brilliantly said Highlander. I am really surprised Hall doesnt get more of a look (and Drummond for that matter). I really rate Halls game management and his kicking game.

The teams are in for the North vs South match in New Zealand

Very surprised TJ Perenara is starting ahead of Aaron Smith. I also thought Ash Dixon would start ahead of Aumua. Must have been a hard decision between Christie and Hunt. Some good battles in front row, loosies and across the backs. Both back threes could have some fun if the game allows.

The teams are in for the North vs South match in New Zealand

Yes good call Nick. Would be a good effort if Tupou played 80 mins in a high stake international game.

The great tighthead prop debate, Part 2: Triple-A versus Tongan Thor

Well said Corne mate. Must be frustrating hearing that South Africa is staying with the Southern Hemisphere and next thing they are going up North. The best thing for SARU is to make a clear cut decision and run with it (and deal with any fallout). Everybody would get over it eventually, The hard part is dealing with the uncontrollable factor that is COVID-19. Doesnt sound promising for a Rugby Championship this year.

The pieces of the rugby calendar are coming together

Awesome analysis Nicholas. Tupou is making some big leaps this year. What is pleasing is the vast improvement in his scrummaging ability over. He is going to be a key component for the Wallabies moving forward.

On Alaalatoa switching to loosehead that would give him great versatility of playing both sides, but given the modern game with 8 reserves that has taken away the need for a versatile prop so makes you wonder is there any point him playing both sides.

The great tighthead prop debate, Part 2: Triple-A versus Tongan Thor

For me (I have heard stories of some greats from 70s and 80s but never saw them in action, I have gone with players I have seen since they were reintroduced in 1992) :

1. Juan Smith: Extremely underrated. Played wholeheartedly and seemed like a good guy off the field. Also he shares my birthday.
2. Joost: Just was such a great competitor.
3. Victor Matfield. Technically one of the best forwards to ever play the game.
4. Bryan Habana: Great try scorer and great speed.
5. Jean De Villers: A very calm leader

Some of my favourites though are James Dalton, Kwagga Smith and Hendrich Brussow.

My top five Springboks of all time

Juan Smith was class. I totally agree.

My top five Springboks of all time

I am glad you mentioned Juan Smith. He didnt get the accolades he deserved. I have a lot of admiration for him. Had a good work rate and was a tough player.

My top five Springboks of all time

Not a bad line up. I think Aaron Smith would be the 9 at the moment. I also think the way Codie Taylor played in Super Rugby Aotearoa, I would swap him to start and Marx as the impact hooker. I would have Kitshoff in there instead of Slipper on the bench as well.

Picking a combined Springbok-Wallaby-All Black squad

Good article as always JD. I am starting to wonder what to believe with where South Africa eventually end up. Seems to be a different theory every couple of weeks.

The pieces of the rugby calendar are coming together

Sanders is one of the most underrated players in NZ. Rolls his sleeves up and gets to work. I have a lot of time for him. He is probably up against it though with a large amount of talented loose forwards in the mix.

What will the All Blacks XV look like for the Rugby Championship?

A good effort on your team. I would have Jordie Barrett at fullback and move Will Jordan to the right wing. I think those two linking up in the back field would be lethal. I like Goodhue at 12 and think he is better there than at 13. The loose trio will be hotly contested and this weeks North vs South game, I think that area will be hotly contested. The South will have some tackling machines in Hunt, Frizzel and Christie. The North has some explosive athletes like Savea, Sotutu, Papalii and Akira Ioane

What will the All Blacks XV look like for the Rugby Championship?

I am a fan of Jordie Barrett at 12. Has all the ball and kicking skills as well as a biggish frame. I will say this though he has finally settled on one position and given current form I wouldnt move him.

What will the All Blacks XV look like for the Rugby Championship?

I agree with you on the midfield with ALB and Goodhue. It seems unbalanced and I think only works if Goodhue wears 12. Goodhue is a good distributor, offloaded, attacks quite straight and has a good left foot in general play. One of the problems last year was they used a lot of different combinations and did not settle on one to close to the end of pool play of the World Cup.

What will the All Blacks XV look like for the Rugby Championship?

Hey Geoff
“the best the game can hope for, in all likelihood, is to shore up regional and local outcomes”. This line is so true at the moment not just in rugby but in across all sport especially at the grassroots level. What COVID-19 has shown the sports industry here in NZ (and I am guessing across the World) it is a time to reset and start a fresh and try some fresh approaches particularly in the youth space.
On the rugby field I was really impressed with the try Joey Walton scored. It was really well worked with Moeroa getting gainline from set piece and some good support player from Hooper a couple of phases later. The Tahs would be wishing the season went slightly longer. They are making some good late strides.
On Andy Marinos, I did read today he has conceded that SANZAAR went away from what Super Rugby was meant to be about orginally. A good short sharp high impact competition.

The Wrap: It’s time for rugby’s loose ends to start to come together

Always a controversial rule. I remember the West Indies got into an Under 19 World Cup final with one a few years back.

Without the Mankad there would be anarchy

Brumbies to run away on the Force. They will be far too strong. The Force have really tried in this competition but it is very noticeable that the other teams have had the advantage of playing in a stronger competition over the last couple of season.

The Rebels vs Tahs game is a tough one to pick. I have gone the Rebels to win a close one. As a lot of comments have said coming off the bye will help them. I reckon maybe by 3-5 points.

Super Rugby AU Round 9: Tight, but not tipping panel tight

Tupou has been tearing it up Nicholas. Great to see a big man running so freely. If he keeps this form up he is going to be a global superstar. I remember his school boy days at Sacred Heart and seeing him do some pretty amazing things on attack in a couple of games I saw him play live.

He seems to be developing at this level with his scrummaging and playing 80 minutes.

A couple of things I like from your analysis is the footwork he uses to get into the transition zone of the last forward and first back defender. Also the support play McReight is showing. I am really rating him at the moment.

Thanks for the great article.

Reds feel both the quality and the width on the Gold Coast

Some really good suggestions here mate.

The 12 team format you have suggested is a really good one. It is the right amount of teams and having 11 round robin games means that there is more at stake each game. Personally we borders reopen I think that is a really logical way to go.

Stadiums is a tough one. Here in NZ they seem either too small or too big. I think Waikato Stadium and Forsyth-Barr stadium in Dunedin have it right especially that they are rectangular. Christchurch is getting a new stadium and needs to be indoors with the elements they get down there in the winter. Eden Park is only good when it has a good crowd like we saw during Super Rugby Aotearoa. Best bet for them is to have more Sunday games. That really got some great crowd engagement.

Awesome touch on naming the trophy after Jonah Lomu. The games first global superstar and one of the reasons the game needed to go professional.

Let's add some sizzle to Super Rugby

That is true Paul. Deep point is a protective position and deep third man stops a bad shot getting more than it is worth. Hopefully the cricket season gets going and doesnt have any enforced breaks through COVID-19.

Some old-fashioned thinking is needed for field placings

Really good read. I remember watching a test on TV when New Zealand was in India. Sehwag got off to a flier and Stephen Fleming reacted early on by getting a man in that fly slip position. It did stop the flow of runs.

One fielding position that I cannot handle seeing been used early in a test match or even at the start of new day of a test is deep point. This allows the batsmen and easy chance to get off strike and start building their innings for the day. This may be contrary to your main point of the article but I would rather see them using their skill by square driving or getting the ball past a regulation point fielder. The risk is to concede a boundary early on though.

I also think a number of teams do not get a play in close on the off side as much as they use to a spinner. Having that person there creates a lot of uncertainty for a batsmen.

Some old-fashioned thinking is needed for field placings