The Roar
The Roar

Mitch Evans

Roar Guru

Joined July 2014

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Formerly, I am a mediocre rugby backrower and more mediocre water polo centre-forward. Writing is a hobby and rugby is my passion. Mention Berrick Barnes' perfect banana kick and you have my undivided attention.

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Thanks for the comment, Carlin. The Blues do seem to be the big improvers, but they were such a way off last year that I’m still undecided if they have the cattle to match it with the rest of their conference for a full season.

Chiefs really do have some great depth their and I think it could be how they use their backrow and which players remain healthy in their backrow and midfield back sections that shape how they go this season.

I’ve got big hopes for both Jordan and Ennor this season, two very talented guys that could add even more spark to a classy Saders team. Whether they can push out the incumbents though to get some gametime remains to be seen. It may end up being the forced resting from the All Blacks that is the greatest benefit in unearthing these talents.

Unpacking Super Rugby: New Zealand conference

Yes, I should have included the likes of Josh Ioane, Sio Tomkinson and a few others who are still with the squad and very sound players. Still a chance for a lot of those fringe guys to crack the matchday team and although I’m an Aussie fan, the NZ conference definitely provides the most intrigue given the depth of squads and the possibilities surrounding selection.

Unpacking Super Rugby: New Zealand conference

That’s true definitely for the short term. The Blues look to have signed experienced players to help them in the immediate future as well as some development players whereas most of the other teams have pulled in youngsters that they’re hoping to develop over time, perhaps with the exception of a few Canes signings.

Unpacking Super Rugby: New Zealand conference

I hope Black has an injury free season. There’s been a bit of talk of using Perofeta at 15 if Black makes it back to full strength, so I’d like to see that.

I agree on Ruru too. Pulu offers a dagerous running game, but can be selfish with ball in hand. If they’re looking to really ignite the backline, which has always been a threat on paper, then Ruru and maybe Nock could see more game time.

Unpacking Super Rugby: New Zealand conference

That’s a great point and with Hawera out of sorts most of the time and Kuenzle being so young and under developed, they need the steady head of Lilo to guide them. Apparently Wright is being looked at as a first-five too, but given this squad, what would you like your 10-12 to be?

Unpacking Super Rugby: The Australian conference

Hi Nick,
Deegan played alright against Brisbane City and directed play fairly well. He can kick and defend, but isn’t that much of a superstar that I’d be racing him in to the squad. Couldn’t hurt to give him some exposure and see if he rises to the challenge though, right?

How do you solve a problem without a solution?

Great point, Brett. The right players exist in the Super comp, we just haven’t identified who is going to get the most development. Hooper and Pocock are rightly the first two penciled into the back row slots in the Wallabies squad, but time has been put into so many players on a minimal level without completely developing many genuine options.
Leroy Houston, Adam Korczyk, Richard Hardwick, Caleb Timu, Liam Wright come to mind as players who have been thrust into squads as a quick fix for the back row without consistent selection or persistence in the squad. Hanigan and Tui to a lesser extent have this issue as Cheika probably saw both of them as being behind Jack Dempsey when healthy and all of them could potentially be behind Naisarani when he’s eligible, but given the time frames around the World Cup I’d have rathered the focus and work put into 2-4 of those names as opposed to giving everyone a little experience and assuming one weekend in a squad makes them prepared for a test match.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

Great point. I really do question the merit of some of the other coaches. Obviously defence comes into question a fair bit and Grey hasn’t made many supporters from his work, but even Larkham and Raiwalui don’t seem the most qualified coaches for the job (great players of course in their day).

How do you solve a problem without a solution?

The idea of the article is that Cheika is “starting to finalise” the squad he’d want to take. I don’t think the squad should be finalised two years out anymore than you do.

A battle of possible and probable to settle pressing rugby questions

Nice predictions, Brett. I have to say that I agree with most, but perhaps have slightly more faith in the Sharks and Blues and slightly less faith in the Chiefs, Jaguares and Reds (which isn’t ideal as a supporter of them).

The conference system again will cause lots of confusion for fans and uproar for certain teams who feel hard done by the format, but I’m looking forward to the season and still firmly feel that any of about 6-8 teams could win it if things go their way, which excites me as a fan of the competition first and foremost.

Good luck to your team

My bold on-paper February predictions

Big fan of that team, Colm. I like that mix of players. I’d probably opt to start Best over George and maybe Richie Gray over Wyn Jones, but other than that, that’d be my starting team too.

What should the Lions squad look like?

Nice article, Brett. The impending Six Nations, 10’s tournament, Fantasy Rugby Season and then Super Rugby season starting all within the next 3 weeks has me very excited.

In terms of the content, I agree that Con Foley is being sorely overlooked. I thought the Force could’ve used a man of his skill-set in their squad; maybe next year.

Hopes are never higher than the first week of February

Yes as Paul mentioned he can only play the one, probably 12. Given he’s new to the team as well, a 10-12 combo of Jooste-Godwin could excel, but doesn’t have the experience or skill of Lealiifano-Toomua yet.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

He’s a fantastic player, RT. I hope he gets picked up somewhere soon.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential forwards

We’re in the same boat, mate. I thought 2016 was going to be his year, so now that we’ve seen it my expectations have been replaced with hope that he can deliver on his early forecasted potential.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

I agree with you in his potential, but in a comment above I mentioned how I rate the mentioned halfbacks as better than him and that he’s in the wider squad, behind Phipps and Lucas, at the Tahs. I hope he gets his chance, but the fact he’s been brought up so much means that I didn’t need to mention him for him to get some love, which is good.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

If Beale were back he would be, but he’all still be with the Wasps in England I believe

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

I did mention Irae Simone and Jake Gordon would have got a mention, as intended, if it weren’t for the fact that I rate Powell, Stirzaker, Meehan and Louwrens above him and that Phipps and Lucas are still seen as above him at the Tahs (based on his position in wider training squad). I rate them both big time and hope that they get the chances they deserve to impress for the Tahs and then push for higher honours.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

Jooste has a lot of promise, but just as much pressure having to fill in at 10 in a team that will be without their starting 10 and 12 of this year and without Tomane, their most dangerous back in terms of try scoring (in my opinion).

Morahan wowed me in the French game and then did very little against the French Barbarians. If he can play at his best and regularly inject himself into the game much the same way as Haylett-Petty and Naivalu do then we are in for a treat.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

Exactly, it’s not a position of strength which is why we need our younger players like Debrezceni, Jooste, Deegan, Hegarty and McIntrye to step up and contest those positions.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

I don’t have many either, but there is always room to build depth and to challenge the incumbents and I think that’s particularly necessary at 9, 10 and 12

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

I think it’d be interesting to see a Godwin/Hodge combo trialled against less intense opposition, because I see Hodge as a bit of a 13 in that regard, but would prefer Kerevi/Kuridrani as the combo if all options are healthy. Potentially a Kerevi/Hodge option too.

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

Agreed with you there, Rebel. The Aussie Super teams should be receiving a bit of a mix up in rankings based on the 2016 season. Tahs will need to gel to improve, the Reds and Rebels have both bolstered their forward packs and the Brumbies and Force have lost a few key backs. Very keen to see how they stack up – they all have a good shot at impressing

Wallabies 2017: Casting an eye over the potential backs

I didn’t praise Kuridrani’s defense in the 13 channel, I praised his defence, which was good whenever asked to make a tackle. Speight, on at least three occasions, went to make a tackle only to fall over around their feet and had to rely on someone else, usually Kuridrani, to help make the tackle with/for him. When I rewatch the game I will try to come back with exact times, but I think by having another look you’ll see what I mean.

Who impressed and who regressed against France

I thought he did a whole lot of work too, I just don’t think the work he did was overly effective in many areas other than defence and lineouts. This aspect was exaggerated int he absence of Coleman, Arnold and Timani, but regardless, I still think he should be partnering Arnold in the starting team this week

Who impressed and who regressed against France