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Mal

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Joined September 2019

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Hi everybody,

Thanks for all your comments and thoughts on the article, the team, and the match.

So, the team has been announced, and its pretty close to what everyone would have expected.

Some quick comments though on the surprises from my perspective.

First, I’m not Steve Hansen. He is vastly, significantly more informed on the players and strategy and tactics and the opposition than any of us. He is in the best position to put the best team on the field. That said, from my vantage point, two things surprise me.

Surprise #1 – The inclusion of Jack Goodhue, and in particular, in the starting 15. He is a great player and must be really showing top form in the past two weeks of training. My concern though is that this has led to ALB now starting at second five. I think ALB is far better suited to Centre where he has more space. He too is a great player, but if it means there is a shuffle in the backline to enable SBW to come on is that a good idea? Are we assuming he will only play part of the game (that’s a pity)? And is Jack Goodhue ready for a full 80 minutes at this point? The other related surprise is that there is no Ryan Crotty in the match 23.

Surprise #2 – I didn’t see Matt Todd in the match 23. The logic for my selection (Shannon Frizell) was versatility. I’m assuming Retallick will not play the full 80 minutes, in which case Scooter would come on in a planned substitution. But what if something happens to Read, Cane or Savea – i.e., injury. If this happens, I have to assume that Todd would come on and play open or blindside flanker. So I will also assume he would play openside and Cane would play the blind. Or, through the training runs, its clear that he can be a great fit with the approach now being used with the back three. In Steve Hansen we trust, however!

One final comment – Codie Taylor starting ahead of Dane Coles. They are for the most part fairly interchangeable. I had Coles starting in my line-up for his initial aggression in the early stages of the game against what will be a fired-up Irish forward pack (and hoping he wouldn’t give away penalties!). My concern is that he comes on later in the game with the same mental approach and then gives away critical penalties.

But all in all, this is for sure, a super strong All Black team. And, I think, with Ireland as the opposition, a perfect start for the knockout phase.

The All Blacks' quarter-final line-up will balance stability and flair

Hi everybody,

Thanks Carlin, and thanks to you all for your comments and thoughts on the article, the team, and the match.

So, the team has been announced, and its pretty close to what everyone would have expected.

Some quick comments though on the surprises from my perspective.

First, I’m not Steve Hansen. He is vastly, significantly more informed on the players and strategy and tactics and the opposition than any of us. He is in the best position to put the best team on the field. That said, from my vantage point, two things surprise me.

Surprise #1 – The inclusion of Jack Goodhue, and in particular, in the starting 15. He is a great player and must be really showing top form in the past two weeks of training. My concern though is that this has led to ALB now starting at second five. I think ALB is far better suited to Centre where he has more space. He too is a great player, but if it means there is a shuffle in the backline to enable SBW to come on is that a good idea? Are we assuming he will only play part of the game (that’s a pity)? And is Jack Goodhue ready for a full 80 minutes at this point? The other related surprise is that there is no Ryan Crotty in the match 23.

Surprise #2 – I didn’t see Matt Todd in the match 23. The logic for my selection (Shannon Frizell) was versatility. I’m assuming Retallick will not play the full 80 minutes, in which case Scooter would come on in a planned substitution. But what if something happens to Read, Cane or Savea – i.e., injury. If this happens, I have to assume that Todd would come on and play open or blindside flanker. So I will also assume he would play openside and Cane would play the blind. Or, through the training runs, its clear that he can be a great fit with the approach now being used with the back three. In Steve Hansen we trust, however!

One final comment – Codie Taylor starting ahead of Dane Coles. They are for the most part fairly interchangeable. I had Coles starting in my line-up for his initial aggression in the early stages of the game against what will be a fired-up Irish forward pack (and hoping he wouldn’t give away penalties!). My concern is that he comes on later in the game with the same mental approach and then gives away critical penalties.

But all in all, this is for sure, a super strong All Black team. And, I think, with Ireland as the opposition, a perfect start for the knockout phase.

The All Blacks' quarter-final line-up will balance stability and flair

That’s exactly it. The ABs have shown they can play at physical and mental pace for sustained periods. But it will suit them too at times to slow things down, and by so doing, avoid unnecessary passes or trying to do things simply ‘too fancy’. That’s the Balance in all of this. The ABs know they can ramp up and sustain the pace if necessary, and in the knockout phase that will be gold. Equally, they need to be patient with the slower game, then seize the opportunities when they come. Which they will, especially later in a game.

All Blacks march forward to get the right balance of pace and control

Agree — Yes my gut feeling is that the AB coaches wanted the players to push themselves in the absorbing humidity, which it really was – even just sitting there. The players knew they had the game in the bag but pushed it nonetheless. A knowledge investment, if you like, for dealing with the conditions in the knockout phase, which could prove to be vital. With Brad Weber the coaches have 3 great options at half-back and it may well be that the 2 in the starting 23 of respective knockout games will depend on who the opposition is. As for the other teams, I would see England as the biggest threat right now.

All Blacks march forward to get the right balance of pace and control