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Chivas

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Well they are performing better than the Highlanders, who have clearly crashed without Bender and co. Not entirely unexpected from the Highlanders though as Ben Smith was clearly far more than a Fullback to this side and the fans.
He is in my view a greater loss to Otago than Richie McCaw was to the Crusaders and AB’s. I think his experience, calmness, brilliance and consistency in and around the AB’s will likewise be felt… Did I say I am a fan of Ben Smith 😊 I don’t mind the Highlanders stuttering and falling to the bottom of the table, but they have always had a few homegrown players that captured the imagination of fans beyond their borders.
Even as a died in the wool Waikato supporter I miss seeing him going through his pre-game rituals and taking the park.

Super Rugby on hold: Early-season report card

True that Eddie, but somethings are more important… like supporting your team!

The Wrap: Rugby shuts down… am I ever going to see your face again?

Traitor 😊
And you are right, you should know better. Your team is as fickle and inconsistent as mine. I have come to the conclusion after feeling the pain of both sides on numerous occasions, that it is better to wear the embarrassment of supporting them and getting toasted than publicly denouncing them and they get it together.
I was feeling good with everyone tipping the chiefs and was led into a false sense of security. And that is how the season ends for now. Good win to the Canes by the way.

The Wrap: Rugby shuts down… am I ever going to see your face again?

Digger 😱 , I am glad I don’t have you protecting my back. You seem to be perfectly comfortable being a two faced traitor, a sell out and a fraud. Anyway, would expect no less from an ex-hooker. Do your friends know that you bet against your team? Have you no shame? At least when RT bet against the Blues in the Blues Stormers game he admitted to feeling like a low down sell out… Where is your contrition?

The Wrap: Rugby shuts down… am I ever going to see your face again?

I totally get what you are saying, but I think you are being purposely obtuse about Fionn’s point.
I like you am not sure whether they are supremely talented as they haven’t matured yet into complete players and consequently they are still too all over the place. But Fionns point about have some great raw talented individuals from which they should and will develop under the tight management and with the right attitude is reasonable.
Ultimately as you imply that will only be understood of how they develop over the next few seasons and that doesn’t account for the fact that other teams also have some great youngsters coming through too, so the road to consistency in winning games is neither an easy one or one that opposition teams will give you a free ride.

Lots to like about the Reds as they set themselves for Super streak

Thugby. Agree. The Sharks made them look like boys. One moment that stood out for me was when Paisami got held and then the ball stripped from him as easily as taking it from a 10 year old girl.

But as this is a relatively young team, those things will improve from season to season, but is also the reason I think they are a couple of seasons off being in a position to contend for the title.

Lots to like about the Reds as they set themselves for Super streak

But Fionn, that is the reason to watch them… they are developing. Do you only take an interest in your kids when they are all grown up… mate it’s the journey. Of course the journey is full of missteps.. but as long as the projectory is in the right direction… winning consistently isn’t everything.
Best games I have been to is travelling to Auckland, playing for the log, the terrace and the hoardings, red, yellow and black… the colour and the noise as we stuff them in front of their fans. We end a run that has gone on for at least a year.
Disappointment, we defend it against the Bay of Plenty then lose it to Wellington. Our shield reign lasted 3 miserable weeks.
Some years later, again Auckland has the shield. Again we turn up in numbers and again we crash the party after Auckland has set the record for the longest shield reign. This time we hang onto it, but consistency is not good enough to be in contention for winning the NPC. Friends from Canterbury are saying at the end of the year “who won the NPC”. I say “Who gives a fk, who has the log”.
Seeing Aaron Hoppa lay Jeff Wilson out while he is held by the legs as Wilson comes in like a missile to smash him over the top. Aaron Hoppa, striving down the field, smashing his way and fending with elbows through multiple players, on his way to the line. We lost the game.
Dwayne Monkley, John Mitchell, Arthur Stone, Paddy Dabou nailing opposition ball runners multiple times in a game. Regardless of winning or losing we are leaving them bruised.
Paul Koteka just for his shape and stature and being a good prop.
Richard Loe for being one of the best looseness props ever. Disappointment Richard Loe for eye gouging. Happy with him hitting Carozza late.. I too was frustrated that he scored that try even if it was fair. I never like the opposition. Might support them when playing against someone else, but against us… yeah it’s war.
Brent Anderson wrapping up an Otago forward in a bear hug and the Waikato pack driving behind shoving the Otago pack form our 22 to almost theirs and half the Otago forwards hanging off the ground desperately trying to drag it down.
Fionn this for me is what is about. Sometimes losing the game but winning the fight is enough to walk away with some level of satisfaction. Believe me growing up in the Waikato and supporting them has been a trial in humility, but nah fk it mooloo ole ole ole.

Lots to like about the Reds as they set themselves for Super streak

I imagine he would have his mentors and access to some of the great rugby minds in Robbie Deans, Wayne Smith, Graeme Henry, Steve Hansen, having played under them for large periods.
It is an interesting point you raise KCOL, one I think that largely goes uncommented on. As smart and clever as any individual is; a strong network makes a world of difference.
There is no way Thorn would be able to coach at this level and come on as quickly as he has without both playing and having access to some of the best rugby minds in the world. This is how he has been able to be fast tracked into such a high profile coaching position and why imho he should be persevered with. He has already made some good inroads and it looks to me the Reds are on an upward projectory and that he is working to a plan.
Fans may disagree with his dropping of their favourite players, but what people miss is he didn’t make this decision in a bubble. There were definitely others that would have been consulted with and known before the cuts were made… meaning that he didn’t only have support, he had buy in from people, with an interest in seeing both him and the club succeed, as he tries to establish a club that prides itself on its values and culture.
Yet this is not clearly understood to many as people judge him on how he communicates in the media and then extrapolate to suggest he has poor communication skills. Just hating on him because it is simple and means you don’t have to understand all the nuances is what many people find frustrating about the current consumer era we live in. And then these people get to spread their ignorance and get liked for it via social media… and so we find ourselves in a world where Trump is president of the a United States.
If all people are focussed on is winning, they really are missing a lot. I have been a Waikato and Chiefs supporter since the mid to late 70s when I started going and watching the mooloo men at Rugby park. I have seen losing streaks that make you despair, seen inconsistency that wants you make you want to stick sharp pencils in your eyes… but we hang tough because we can’t support anyone else.
This is who we are born and bred Waikato. I see the Waikato river, where we have rafted, water skied, floated down, swum in, raced go karts on the side off. We know the rolling hills and all the streams and lakes. We know the culture. We went to school their, we got into fights and trouble their, met our first loves they’re etc. We are proud and defiant of where we come from and who we are.
This is no different for those from QLD, NSW, Canberra, Melbourne, the Western Force… which is why dropping a team like the Force hurts a lot.. I understand that. I understand the angst fans feel when their team fails.
But if some folks actually took a breath I honk they would see that Brad Thorn is not a rubbish coach. He has a plan and it seems to be getting done. Of any player lost Samu Kerevi and James Slipper have been sorely missed. But the coach can’t be blamed for their departure. They made decisions which led to their departure.
Personally I see enough that as a fan I wouldn’t be struggling with following the Reds even if they aren’t threatening the top of the leader board currently or winning games they should or could have. It is so early in the season and they are not out of contention yet. I am rooting for my team right up until the final game they play in the season.
The fifteen guys on the field is who I am hollering for and throwing comments about and sometimes the ref 😊. The coach on the day he is just another fan and supporter on the day.
Players skills are their problem. How players prepare and turn up is their problem. High performance teams are effective and with the resources and coach they have… with the right culture and values, the Reds can go on and develop a legacy which lasts longer than a season or two. But to achieve this requires a lot more work and effort behind the scenes than many people appreciate… including making hard decisions around dropping players.
Anyway those are my thoughts for what it matters 😊

Lots to like about the Reds as they set themselves for Super streak

Sounds like you already have your mind made up then.
And Lano that is really the issue isn’t it. It is not based on any degree of objectivity, but rather a large degree of who people align themselves with and how they feel about themselves if they support this person or that.
It seems to be a rather common theme among a particular group of fans. Everyone has reasons for liking or disliking a player, but the reasons that are hardest to dispute are subjective ones… like his hair is too long, he gets rag dolled and doesn’t match the toughened hard head that I better relate to, he plays for the Tahs, Cheka likes him, he is too short…

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

PT. Pretty sure if you attend a final training session or listen to coaches pre game, you would revise your opinion. Coaches I know and players in the leadership group from club level upwards don’t have this attitude. These sorts of notions are generally made and passed around by armchair psychologists… not those involved.
I have been balled out by several fearsome and high profile coaches as have most players by a coach who suspects a lapse in concentration… Believe me top coaches attempt to have the team they field in peak mental state whenever there are competition points at stake regardless of the ability of the other team. Senior coaches play for keeps and don’t hold back much in my experience when you aren’t mentally switched on 100%.
It doesn’t take many slips to find yourself outside final contention, let alone losing games because you weren’t mentally switched on…
I cannot think of a single coach who would be mentally saving his players. I have neither heard it, nor experienced it.
Agreed that resting players, rotating players etc. are all things which get done with varying degrees of success, but saying let’s play a conservative style of game to save yourselves mentally… yeah that is rubbish and one I am quite happy to disagree with you on if that is what you believe.
Creating competition, making players hungry and fighting to get on the field, developing alternate and contingent strategies, recovering from injury or resting a player because said player is not in the right head space are all valid, but going into a game mentally not up to it… that is not respecting the jersey, your team mates, the game or the fans. I can’t think of a senior coach that doesn’t think and communicate those sentiments, certainly none of the ones I have played under or seen in operation.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

Agree PT, as a Cheifs fan, would love it to play out the way you suggest, but nobody rights off the Crusaders this early in the season even down a few players.

Surely having now lost both Read and McCaw they must slow them down. But as a team as much as I hate to admit it, they are incredibly formidable.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

Agree PT. Reds haven’t proven anything. One win out of six and sitting at the bottom is indication of that. So of course they are not an established side with the legacy of the Crusaders, nor on paper would they be expected to win.
The fact they pushed the Crusaders at home and had they got a couple of things right they may have won, suggests they have some genuine potential. That is all. Who is suggesting they are SR finalists or contenders to take out the title… hence the need to keep them grounded. A winning attitude starts with belief, not with self doubt and telling yourself all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t.
I and most other fans I believe think they are still a couple of seasons off making a grand final and that means a few more faces, a bit more maturity and experience, but they certainly have enough to shake a few teams up along the way. And imho that is enough in my view to keep their fans interested and being happy that on a different night, the win could have been theirs, without being brought down to earth by those suggesting the Crusaders weren’t really playing up to their best.
I believe on the night, both teams were. The Reds made a few more unforced errors which ultimately cost them. But equally if they had both fielded full strength teams then you would have to lean even further the Crusaders way.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

The fact that the Crusaders may not have employed the best game plan or been up to scratch… same can be said of the Reds.

But you seem to be suggesting the Crusaders are mentally only playing as hard as they need to to get the win… don’t buy it.

The best team on the day won. Could have been the Reds and if it were they would have been. I personally thought the Reds left more points on the table than the Crusaders which is why people feel this is one that got away from the Reds.

Your comment implies the Crusaders are such a great side they only played to the level they needed to and hence weren’t putting in their best effort. Can they step up another gear. Sure as no doubt can the Reds if they make it into the finals and have a lot more games and wins under their belt.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

I don’t buy this grind out approach, not playing mentally to their best, only bring it out when it is needed, saving themselves for the end of the season? I doubt you would find many coaches or players buys into that sort of strategy either.
They need to save themselves mentally for the big games? A load of rubbish. A team that goes in like that gets beaten and ends up being a losing team. The Crusaders are not that.
A grinding win is conservative rugby like the Bok employ a lot of the time merely because it is low risk and makes the other team play and potentially make errors. Depends on field position, style of play of opposition, what skills and strategies you are working to develop as a team.
But mentally saving themselves. Rubbish.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

Fionn. It is not cut and dried. Cane and McCaw are arguably stronger over the ball than Hooper. But even these two get blown off when second and third opposition players hit the ruck.
Marx, Duplesis, Latu and Pocock are exceptionally strong with low centres of gravity. They are like limpits on the ball and hard to remove even if you can get numbers to the ball, once they have their hands on it.
Others like Dane Coles play a much wider game and are most effective there.
Never quite sure what the term rag doll has t do with effectiveness. IF I get swung around by the jersey in the tackle or I am dropped on a dime, makes no difference. Hooper on fire does a lot of effective work around the breakdown and in many instances is in and around it.
Late in Chieka’s tenure I thought he had Hooper playing much too wide and effectively nullifying his strengths. He is possibly one of the most damaging openside runners in the game along with Ardie Savea and they operate best a couple wide of the ruck.
I have seen all sorts of styles of openside. According to Aussie fans a seven should be one style. NZ hasn’t played a pure ruck monkey like Paul Henderson from Southland for decades. A opensider with Hoopers skills would be an asset to any team. He can genuinely break games open, be an effective link, be close in support and defence when the breakdown happens where there has been a half break due to his speed.
I think Hooper comes in for an unneccesary amount of flak from people who either don’t understand the dynamics of the game and hence have next to no appreciation of what skills he actually brings or those who have some personal issues be they partisan or otherwise.
I don’t personally like his victim mentality on the field as captain, but I do think he is a world class 7 and is a certainty for the Wallabies regardless of who the coach is.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

Assume you haven’t played loose forward or coached Matt.

Waratahs' experience counting for not very much at all

Totally. Many friends and family in and around sharing. While youngsters can shear lambs, you don’t want to them shearing full on until they are in their 20’s, preferably around 23-25 for exactly that reason. While shearers don’t have coaches, they still have mentors and advisers around them who advise them and is why most shearing gangs don’t have 19, 20 year olds.

While rugby is not the same high intensity over pro-longed periods day in day out, which is what does the damage, professional rugby at this level is very high intensity with very little rest and recovery time. So while a young bodies recovers faster than an older one, they are also much softer and more prone to damage.

With the amount of rugby and intense training sessions for professionals these days, even with the improvement in sports medicine, I think this is a real issue.

That is not to say some people as mentioned aren’t early developers, so one shoe doesn’t fit all, but it is without doubt something which needs to be considered by those coaching and managing teams. There are always the hits and bumps that would break the body regardless like when Michael Jones got cleaned up, but I definitely think U20’s forwards need to be managed carefully. Liam Gill was surprisingly robust as is Hooper, but I don’t think that is the norm for forwards chucked in to compete against large physical teams.

Maybe with Petiaia, maybe bad luck, but now he has been injured multiple times I would think sports doctors and team management would be looking at whether or not they need to manage his workload a little differently.

The Australian surprise packets after the first month

Oh and the reason I left Slipper out of that is because, even though I understand the rules and why they need to be adhered to, the thing that is likable about Slipper is that he has always the way he has presented himself as team first type person and even when dragged into controversy, he has maintained a neutral and honest demeanor.

But enough said here, that is merely my view on where things are.

The Wrap: Super Rugby teams struggle at home. Why is it so?

Not just the three amigos MaxP.

Just watching the Reds game, Tupou going for the line when it was clear he was going to be short rather than recycling it, Speight doing a Beale and not even attempting to challenge for a ball in the air; instead only running up to where the ball is coming down and then milling about with the only one sharks player coming and jumping to contest it.

There really needs to be some responsibility by players to address their deficencies.

The Australian surprise packets after the first month

Think that goes for most forwards StillMissIt. The ones that get there a bit sooner are reasonably scarce and tend to be physically early developers. In addition players who get there a bit younger tend to have speed and athleticism as primary assets.

The Australian surprise packets after the first month

Agree totally TWAS, but every player that does something good tends to get overblown by the fans and media.
I think McReight will take a couple of seasons before he is able to make an impact consistently at this level, but at 19 he has plenty of time, which is what makes him an interesting prospect to follow.

The Australian surprise packets after the first month

Ok so now you do want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Who said anything about players being broken? As far as the ABs and Canterbury go.. do you think either team would have put up with Quade or Hunt. Their policy on dickheads and drugs is pretty clear. Nor am I laying it ALL at the players feet. Anyway you seem intent on missing or twisting what I am saying to turn discussion into point scoring, so rather than continue trying to explain. I’ll leave it there.

The Wrap: Super Rugby teams struggle at home. Why is it so?

Seriously CS, try engaging another brain cell. He has scored sfa since his incident and he’s played league in France since being booted to the kerb. But no that wasn’t a distraction at all.

The Wrap: Super Rugby teams struggle at home. Why is it so?

OK, that is fine, then you are back to having no real continuity. As much as you and some QLD fans may hate the fact that Thorn let some players go, I think that was a big part in re-building and establishing the Reds core values which seem to have got lost or confused over the last decade.

Many sides have let star players go because they don’t fit the culture or they are over-shadowing the team with off field stuff and that includes players and/or coaches. The best teams do not centralise around individual players. Folau was a distraction to the Tahs and Wallabies for the same reason.

Some Australian fans seem to think that sort of thing deserves a pass and continuous passes should be given for poor behaviour if the player is good enough, but really its not ok and its divisive.

Easy to dump it all at the coaches door, but really its a no win situation and the longer you hang onto broken parts the longer the time before you get to move on and build something.

Now if the coach needs to be let go as the next step in the rebuilding process, because they are no longer what is needed, so be it. He has started the ball rolling in the right direction. All the fans have someone to blame and hate and the next guy can have a clear run at it without distraction.

The Reds as a club can rebuild into something which is founded on core values like team and respect; where the story is not about drugs, players mouthing off in the media, coaches and administrators playing politics. So much attention for all the wrong reasons. The Reds of old I always thought were a step above that.

Whoever is to blame is irrelevant. It has just simply been unhealthy.

Now that is in the past, if a new coach is needed, ok. I think there has been solid progress in areas, they have a strong core team of players, bought through and developed. If they can keep growing not lose any more players and pick up a couple more along the way including a kicker… that would be great.

In the mean-time, if some of the current crop of players could take responsibility for their own games, that would be awesome.

The Wrap: Super Rugby teams struggle at home. Why is it so?

And Fionn, you think three years is bad… we had Foster for 7 years at the Chiefs and 2 years before that for Waikato and in all that time he took the team nowhere. I can’t believe he got promoted to coach of the Chiefs.

If anybody can make a bad situation worse, Foster demonstrated getting could. Now he is an AB coach, which is why AB fans are now nervous. I just hop If he really is as crap as he was when he left the Chiefs his replacement turns up soon and pray to god in the meantime he has learnt something in his years as assistant coach working alongside Hansen and Smith to keep some continuity and hence we might lose a few games but not enough to slide down the hill into say 3rd in the World.

So yeah Thorn May be a bit green, but as I asked before who do you have waiting in the wings, who can pick up what he has built and take it to the next level.

The Wrap: Super Rugby teams struggle at home. Why is it so?

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