AB's 2016 in Review

  • 13 from 14 after missing 800+ caps.

    Chuck Bledisloe retained.

    Perfect Rugby Championship.

    A few noobs introduced.

    Continue to fuck with the minds of the northern tinfoil brigade.

    The only black spot(s) being the result in Chi town, and perhaps the performances at Eden Park and Dublin (and to a lesser extent Paris) where we won on defence (which is a good thing).

    Generally a solid B+ for me.

    On review we didn't mess too much with the First XV throughout with the exception of Italy. However injury allowed us some pseudo rotation.

    I think we need to confirm a 3rd hooker.

    Our top 4 props are good. Next in line needs some looking at. Ofa cops a bit of slack but he held up OK. Laulala and Moli bear looking at next year.

    Locks. Top 2 are top 2. Romero has some work to do to stay in front of Barrett. Pat T was a bit of a disappointment on tour. Wanted him to meast it up. Think he suffered from lack of game time. Think he's one of those guys who gets better the more they play. So won't write him off. Bird in the background is worth remembering too.

    Loosies: apologies from me to Matt Todd. I didn't think he was Test class. He is. He's not Sam Cane but he's not bad. Ardie at this stage has his niche in the pine.

    We missed JK at 6 in Chicago. And I don't think either Squire or Dixon are his replacement. As I have said elsewhere I think Luatua is a more like-for-like replacement. Ioane may be a bench option.

    Read was quiet, but hardly a passenger. A long term replacement 8 is needed too. Ioane is not that yet IMO.

    Halfbacks. We're well served. We all know about Smith's form dip. Disappointing. But a month or two off to get his head right will do him a world of good.

    TJ's form has been a huge plus.

    Back up from TKB, Weber and Pulu and there's plenty of depth.

    When you consider Lima Sopoaga is rated the 3rd 10 we're doing good there.

    BB killed it this year. AC still looks really good even if he is not BB.

    As always we need to consider who else is around. Need at least 4 10s one of whom can whitebait. DMac must be in the mix I suppose.

    Midfield. Well after starting the year with this area as a point of major panic, whilst it's not a weapon currently it's not the weakness it could gave been.

    ALB looks the part. Crotty makes whoever he is there with look good. Fekitoa has his moments. Moala runs hard and straight. Reiko (just for @GT12) looked comfortable in his outings. Tamanivalu may be a bit of a work on.

    Given SBW will be around, Barrett Jr will have a full SR campaign, and Charlie Ngatai may be over his head knocks (hopefully - for his sake as much as anything else) we're not thin at 12/13.

    Wings. We had our moments. Savea was up and down. He suffered a lot from reputation lag though. If he didn't score from 35m out and only beat one tackler he was "useless". Some of the criticism was justified some of it wasn't. Naholo had flashes but I'm sure we hoped for a bit more. Given we were forced to play Dagg at 14 says something about the depth and form of our wings.

    Ioane could be additional cover here and if course NMS will hopefully be back. Nanai may be an option too.

    BFA was excellent through the year. Dagg excellent deputy.

    Considering though that Dagg was the best option at wing we need to look for depth in the back 3. As above NMS covers this and Nanai has been in the mix. Proctor may be on the fringes.

    With regard to tactics I think teams have worked out that they can't kick it back to us. So they hold on to the ball more. Hence we've had to defend. And by crikey the defence has been awesome. Teams may have worked out that they need to hold on to the ball, they just need to learn how to hold on to it and do something with it to break that defence.

    In a lot of ways we've slowly been dragged back to the pack from where we were at the start of the season .. or at least the chasing pack has caught us a little.

    I think Aussie at Eden Park looked dangerous and have backed that up (even allowing for Ireland result).

    Not sure of some of our tactics. Plenty of times I'd have liked to work the corners rather than a half pie kick which turned over possession 60m out. We did that too much against Aus at EP, Ireland and France. And they were all good enough to take advantage and mount attacks. Deeper kicks would have put more pressure on.

    Anyway. My 2c.

  • @booboo
    That's it.

    I'm making a list.

  • Excellent review and I agree completely.

    I am surprised we do not kick the ball out more considering how good our lineout D is.

    I think BB work on for summer has to be goalkicking and the distance on his penalties into touch.

    The weakness of South Africa is bad for us.

    The 6 nations sides bar Italy appear to be playing some great rugby and have been a great challenge.

    The Lions squad is going to have some serious depth and they have a genuine chance of beating us.

    I'm really looking forward to SR next year and seeing how all the new ABs perform and seeing SBW and NMS back in action.

  • Should be some pretty good depth at wing next year, with NMS's return and the continued development of some young players (Ioane, Nanai, Lowe). Moala, or another midfielder, could be an option too.

  • Good review and agree with all of it.
    Great season considering how much experience was lost and how much rebuilding needed to be done.

    A few awards i've randomly made up in my head and would like to present to the players.

    Come back kid of the year: Izzy Dagg, had a great year and shows that instead of dropping your bundle and chasing overseas cash after getting dropped you can work hard and get back to the top.

    Newby of the year: ALB. Was barely mentioned in the midfield conversation at the start of the season. All of Crotty, SBW, Moala Fekitoa, Ngatai and Seta were agead of him but he has had the most impact and be seen as first choice now.

    Player of the year: BB. Continued his freakish impact that started off the bench over the last few years. Proved he can do it over 80 mins and control things when needed. His wobbly goal kicking didn't cost us any games but hope he works on that and his punt distance.

    Biggest letdown: DMac, not a nice award to win but after the hype early in the Super season his time in the ABs was a bit of an anticlimax. Im sure he will get another shot at some point though.

    Best team play aspect: tie between the lineout and the defence. Both awesome all year.

    Ok that is all i can think of.
    Roll on super rugby 2017.
    Blues vs Hurricanes final.

    Edit. Thought of another.
    Most improved (similar to the comeback kid but different) : TJP. Didn't even make the first squad of the year and plenty of people weren't fussed. Took his chances well and took the starting role by the end. Great to have him and Smith competing for that spot.

  • All Blacks 80tries scored (5.71per game) 18 against (1.29 per game).....

    Also I think if our midfielders stay injury free next year we won't see fekitoa back in black.... just my 2cents on that.

  • @Magpie_in_aus expect our try average from the EOYt woulda been lower than the other tests, plus our points conceded woulda went up too.

  • Im wondering whether our flatter performances since the end of RC are in fact an indirect result of the player drain from last year. The senior guys this year have had a higher workload due to both the increase in responsibility and the fact that the top side has been used for the majority of games due to injuries/lack of depth.

    The newer guys might also be running a bit low on juice having not taken part in a full international season before.

    Add to that the extended Super rugby seasons for many of the players having to play/travel for finals. I bet there are some guys looking forward to the offseason.

  • I hope and trust they let their hair down last night. A pretty grueling year all things considered

  • Great post, Boo. I thought the introduction and advancement of young uns like ALB and Barrett the S to be a highlight - they both look to be the goods. Really like the way TJP and BB stepped up too. The trophies and test win record were all bonuses for a team in full rebuild.

    I'll reserve judgement on the prospect of SBW being a midfield contender until he shows form and the ability to stay injury free for longer than five minutes. He was lacklustre in a disastrous sevens campaign and don't think he'll waltz back into the 15 side no matter what his fanbois say.

  • He was also one of the best players at the 2015 RWC, so I guess us fanboys might have some justification for pencilling him into the 2017 squad.

  • @pukunui
    Good point. There seemed a definite reluctance to rotate too many guys. I think you're right about it being due to that layer being gone.

    @Mokey @Tim
    SBW is a contender at least. I'm not saying he's a definite but he adds depth and if he plays to previous standard will add some punch. He's definitely in the conversation at this stage.

  • @booboo Hansen was keen to bring SBW straight into the squad after Rio (before his injury) so he must be integral to their plans. Having said that, I'm not sure the AB coaches are completely sure who their best midfield is yet, but as you say, we have some depth and options. Super rugby form might be the decider. The same for the loose forward mix.

  • The only review I want to read is Canes4Life and how he explains why Matt Todd got more test starts than Ardie Savea this year 🙂

  • @booboo If that was your 2c, you'd need a book with chapters for anything more. Very good.

    I'd give the coaches an A-, they achieved a lot in 2016 given all the departures. Don't think they took enough selection risk though. Take last night - did we learn anything by playing Kaino at 6? Would we have learnt something by playing Luatua at 6?

    The main issue in the pack is blindside, Kaino seems like 2017 will be his last season. Not convinced by Dixon, Squire or Luatua as starting blindside. Shields tends to have butter fingers at times, Taufua seems too short and so on. I would like to see the selectors pick Akira Ioane and coach him to have a higher work-rate. It will be nice to have Harris back as bench hooker too.

    The midfield was always going to be somewhat of an issue, and the injuries didn't help. SBW + ALB seems maybe the best option for the Lions.

    Also need some better wing options, NMS should fix that problem. And maybe Rieko Ioane too. Just to have different options to Savea/Naholo who are quite samey.

  • Very bifurcated season. Though a one loss season is pretty hard to beat.

    I thought we were A+ during the Wales tour, Rugby Championship and Bledisloe game. I don't honestly think we could have been much better. We made South Africa and Australia look a lot worse than they were though South Africa are now even worse than they looked. We played some of the best rugby ABs have played in the professional era.

    The NH tour was a C+ for me. We underachieved and let Ireland and France live with us and bar the first 10 minutes of the second Irish test never seemed to find the extra gear excluding Italy. Fatigue definitely a factor but that makes you wonder why we we did not give more players a rest during RC. I thought selections backfired particularly badly in Chicago. If we can pick up where we left off before going on tour you have to feel pretty good.

  • It's clear the players are fairly exhausted by season's end. We never offer it up as excuse for our rare defeats though.

  • I didn't go to Chicago, Dublin or Paris. Sorry fellas, my fault.

  • @ACT-Crusader said in AB's 2016 in Review:

    The only review I want to read is Canes4Life and how he explains why Matt Todd got more test starts than Ardie Savea this year 🙂

    You're a cruel man, has he written it yet? I could do with a laugh.

  • I think a better way of reflecting on how good this season was, is to think about those fellas we lost at the end of 2015 and their 800 caps worth of experience and sheer quality and consistency they bought.

  • The travel is huge for these guys, the six nations NH teams have it much, much easier than we do yet we still perform very well. It bodes well in future for World Cup's I think. I mean in the old days, who would fly to SA for one game, then fly back to NZ for a return match? We were over there for weeks and vice versa. No wonder they are shattered for the NH tour, or at least past their best every year. I know they're professional athletes but that much air travel and time zone change affects everyone.

    I've been very pleased with the AB's efforts this year, the RC was a huge effort and following on from the WC win it's great to cement it with this season, the boys should be very proud.

    It's clear to me though that our game plan needs some adjustment in the face of the type of performances that Ireland and France laid out over the last couple of weeks. If we don't get the ball, or don't keep the ball long enough, we're not going to score as freely in the future. Not concerned it's just a tactical change we'll need to adapt to and try to counter. I'm not sure we're committing enough numbers to the breakdown in situations where we can't win the ball back and opposition is not making mistakes. Need to be quicker to adapt to those situations than doggedly stick to a game plan if it's not working. Not helped of course with Cane injured and a new guy covering.

    I'd give the AB's an A- for the year, only marred by losing to Ireland for the first time is 112 years or whatever it is. Still, if the AB's hadn't relaxed, and had squeaked by would we have seen the massive improvement in defence we saw in the last two games? Probably not.

    How long do we have to wait for Super Rugby?? 😉

  • @LagerLout I think players in the NH play more games, or have more games they could play, but obviously don't have the travel schedule like the SH teams, which you can see why some do head to the NH comps where a 3 hour flight might be a long one...

  • I think I'll hold fire on reviewing 2016 till after I have breakfast with Damien Mackenzie, Joe Moody, Jerome Kaino and Liam Squire again and get their thoughts.

  • some more stats;

    According to the numbers, this year was one of the All Blacks best.

    13 wins from 14. A total of 80 tries with an average of 5.70 per game.

    562 points for and just 221 against for a differential of +341.

    On the way, they broke the record for most consecutive wins by a tier one rugby nation and they gave 11 new players the chance to call themselves All Blacks.

    But while as a team they have stood out, individuals deserve their time in the spotlight.

    Below is the best of the best from the All Blacks 2016 stats.


    WINNER - Israel Dagg (10)

    Dagg came back to the All Blacks setup in 2016 with a vengeance. He missed just two games - the first against Wales in June and Ireland in Chicago.

    In the 12 games he did play, he was the first try scorer for the All Blacks on six occasions and only had four games in which he didn't score.

    Second Place - Beauden Barrett (9)

    Third Place - Ben Smith (8)

    Try Assists

    WINNER - Beauden Barrett (10)

    He doesn't just score them, he creates them.

    It's no secret, the story this year has been the explosion of Beauden Barrett, and the fact he rounds out most of the offensive stat categories shows how potent he's been.

    Second Place - Anton Lienert-Brown (7)

    A big mention for the youngster who burst on the All Blacks scene this year. He frequently found himself getting his arms free in impossible situations to setup some pearlers.

    Third Place - Ben Smith (6)

    Metres Gained

    WINNER - Israel Dagg (880m)

    This might surprise some.

    The fact Ben Smith played more minutes than pretty much any other back in the game would suggest he'd top this category.

    However, 252m in one game - the last test against Wales in June - propelled Dagg to the top of the ladder.

    Second Place - Ben Smith (871m)

    Third Place - Beauden Barrett (805m)

    Clean Breaks

    WINNER - Israel Dagg (23)

    The above comments again stick true. How Dagg was able to out perform those around him despite playing less minutes shows how good of a season he really had.

    Second Place - Ben Smith (22)

    Third Place - Julian Savea (21)

    *Notable Mention - Dane Coles came in a close fourth with 18 clean breaks. Not bad for the hooker.

    Defenders Beaten

    WINNER - Ben Smith (47)

    Finally Smith gets the win!

    While only six defenders ahead of Barrett, the gulf between those two and the rest is impalpable.

    Second Place - Beauden Barrett (41)

    Third Place - Julian Savea (27)


    WINNER - Kieran Read (141)

    Leading from the front. If there's a category you want your captain to lead, it has to be tackles.

    Sam Whitelock has often held the "most tackles" label and perhaps would have done so again this year if it weren't for the tests he missed. Still, a tough act to follow from the skipper.

    Second Place - Sam Whitelock (128)

    Third Place - Dane Coles (118)


    Some have said this was Beauden's year - but credit deserves to fall on the ever-loyal Israel Dagg.

    Dropped from the side for the 2015 World Cup, the 28-year-old has bounced back to prove so many wrong.

    He'd love to play in his preferred position at fullback, but he's done just as well adapting to the demands of being on the wing.

    Meanwhile, Dane Coles seemed to dominate more offensive columns than defensive - beating the midfielders stats more often than not.

    The young forward might need to figure out where his true calling really is.

    • NZ Herald

  • Not a bad year at all. When you look at what was "supposed" to happen this year, we over-achieved. We lost some great players, but won a lot of games, and won some very well.

    I think the Northern Tour has put some perspective on the early part of the year. South Africa are fucking rubbish. Argentina are limited. Australia are, actually, i don't know what to make of the Wallabies.

    By positions i largely agree with you. Props are pretty good, with some prospects coming back from injury next year.
    Hooker is an issue. Coles plays huge minutes. Taylor is still largely untested. We don't have a third.
    Lock is pretty awesome, (a position of strength in world rugby i think). 2 obvious stars. Barrett has been huge on this tour. With Patty T and Romano providing a different type of player.
    Halfback all good, TJP has eased fears there. Needs to be more accurate on the pass, and his box kicking is worse than Smith's. BUT, he is physical, has a great running game, and seems to have cut out the headless chook stuff.
    10 is sweet.
    Midfield. Crotty and ALB went very well this year. Solid defensively, and very smart players. ALB provided a lot of attacking highlights as well. Dreaded 2nd season might undo him though, with tighter analysis of his game (he came from nowhere really). I have hopes for Moala to provide a point of difference. Good SBW would be handy. Ioane looks the part. Work in progress, but further along than i expected.
    Wings. Dagg aye? Fuck who saw that coming? (hands down cantabs, you did not). Revelation. Seems to have wheels as well. Savea was up and down, but i think his last 2 tests were excellent. Naholo would be the one i would cut away if NMS comes back, he just doesn't do anything for me at test level.
    FB. Well, BFA is okay i guess.

    I want to talk about the loosies. I think we have a bit of an issue. I think our best 3 is seen as Read, Cane and JK. Hard, solid, experienced players. BUT, i think we are falling behind a little here. Read and Kaino had some good games this year, but they had some ordinary ones as well. Read especially is our captain, and our #8, he can't afford to have quiet games, he's too important. Kaino had some good tests, but he's starting to look slow. Both can be out-worked as well. It can be covered by our ridiculously mobile locks, but that's not the point. I think we need some pace, and some dynamism in that back row. Dixon doesn't strike me as that player. Sadly, nor does Squire (i thought he might be). Savea isn't big enough or aggressive enough. I like Luatua, but he's not physical enough at the moment. At openside Todd has been better than i thought he would be, but picking him does reduce our physicality somewhat. The French and the Irish especially had rampant runners from the back row that caused us all sorts of issues. I personally think it's something we need to look at.

    From a team perspective, our basics are excellent. Our set piece is a real strength, especially our lineout. Our defense is excellent, especially our ability to reorganise. All our players can use the ball. And our kicking game improved as the year went on. We were also very aggressive at times this year.

    Unfortunately we gave away some dumb yellows because of that (fucking Moody). We are offside far too often, and we give away a heap of silly penalties. Considering we aren't competing in a lot of rucks, we are still giving away a lot of penalties. Our best play is punishing turnover ball, but we don't get a lot of it. I think the doddle that was the RC sort of papered over the fact that we have a couple of fundamental issues in our game plan. It's not exactly costly, because we can still score, and we don't concede many, but we found this tour pretty hard to generate a lot of points.

    The above seems really negative for a team that won nearly every game, and a lot of them by daylight, but i don't think we are as good as we were made to look, and i really want to whitewash the Lions.

    But, good year boys, enjoy the beach and a few brews.

  • @LagerLout said in AB's 2016 in Review:

    How long do we have to wait for Super Rugby?? 😉

    Click or paste this in your browser for the answer:


    (I hope that works)

  • @mariner4life nothing wrong with having flaws, gives us plenty to work on, and I expect Hansen and Co have seen ALOT of work-ons the past 4 weeks or so.

    You could put some of the end of year play down to fatigue, but it shouldn't be an excuse as this is all part of what they do, and I think for the most part we manage our player workloads pretty well.

    As for the loosie thing, I wouldn't mind seeing Cane/Todd running together given Cane plays more like a 6.5....whereas the Aussies run 2 7's and a 6....

    Mentally you'd think this season has mind-fudged our boys similar to a RWC year (after which they don't play again) they knocked off that record run, and you could see in that game that the record on the line meant a lot, and felt the pressure....so to have that high, then come down from there for a wee, jump on another plane and head to the Northern tour, add in all the off-field dramas for NZ Rugby (Smith aside, I don't expect most did so personally) and it has actually been a pretty tough season, physically and mentally.

  • what about everyone else?

    The Saffas are obviously deep in a hole. Hammered by us. Away losses to Aus and Arg. A home loss to Ireland. Now a disastrous tour up North. Shit rugby, terrible results.
    Argentina are game, had a crack at us, but are still painfully limited, and not overly smart.

    Up North, Ireland have had a resurgence. They were playing very basic, aerial kick-and-chase rugby a yer ago, and looked shit. Now they are playing with a heap of power, and their pack is top class. Beat us, beat the Aussies. Still need more polish in the backs. France have played some great rugby in their last two tests, but lost both. Plenty of width, power, and offloads galore. Gave us no end of trouble defensively. Look to have turned a corner? Experience, smarts and polish needed. England continue to rack up wins in an efficient fashion. This weekend's grand final/Wallaby revenge match should be good fun to watch. Wales look to have slipped back, beating the Boks can't hide that. Scotland are improving. Italy have not, beating the boks can't hide that! Based on the last 3 weeks, the 6N could be epic, especially with Lions spots on the line.

    And finally the Wallabies. What the fuck to make of them? 0-3 to England in June. Smacked by us in 3 tests (despite an improved showing in the 3rd). Lost away to South Africa (ouch). Smashed Wales, beat France with a 2nd team, then lost a winnable test to Ireland. Cheika looked to have unlocked a pack to get them parity up front, then went straight back to 2 opensides and Dean Mumm. Timani and their 2 new locks are good additions. Kepu and Sio refound form, Moore got better as the year went on. I guess this weekend will tell a lot, but i am not sure they have actually improved from 12 months ago? And I'm not sure the coach knows his best 23 (sorry, 24) either. Beat England and this tour is a success, and you can wrote the rest of the year off. Lose this weekend and suddenly the RC and 0-4 to England in a year is big black mark.

  • @mariner4life is interesting alright, we killed Aus in 2 tests, they were there or thereabouts in the 3rd, although can you write some off to our nerves with the record on the line, we killed SA, Argies were good for 50 mins then disappointing...Aus will be more competitive next year, SA wont, Argies, who knows, almost becoming French-like in their ability to compete or not.

    Comfortably got past the Welsh.

    Irish got King kong off their back, and ended up a test a piece, certainly seem a team on the up.

    Killed Italy and then meandered past a spirited French outfit...depending whether this was just one of those random one off tests by the French, who knows, but the Irish comms were surprised by how well they went, so maybe it was just one out of the box.

    Hard to gauge how good England are, as they have played teams at different times to us for comparisons, not that you can actually do that anyway.

    Kinda glad we didn't play them, just because it does add to the 'mystique' of playing them because we don't do it very often.

    We were far from our best on tour, and for me Aaron Smith is still key to our performances, a form Smith is what gets this AB side humming, and without him, as good as TJ is, he isn't Smith.

    If we get Smith back to his best, can keep our front line players injury from through the Super season, we will have a pretty deep squad to select from for the Lions.

  • Areas of concern.

    Propping depth and also finding ball running props. Rugby is moving towards props who can do their core roles of scrumaging, tackling as well as being effective ball carriers. Franks and Moody unfortunately don't fit this bill. Losing Faumaina is going to be a big loss as he's our only prop in the 23 that offers good go forward.

    No 8 and No 6. Finding another world class No 8 and a world class No 6 has to be high on the priority list with Read being the only decent 8 that we have and Kaino operating on his last legs. We have plenty of blindsides around but none of them apart from perhaps Akira show signs of being near Kaino's quality. Perhaps given time, Squire could also be that man. For a country that has such a large PI and Maori population, I am surprised that we don't seem to be able to produce that massive ball carrying lossie in the mould of Billy Vunipola, Picamoles etc. The last real big guy that showed promise but never quite delivered was Lauaki.

    I think we are doing ok in pretty much every other position so all in all, it's not such a bad situation to be in. Hopefully we get a great crop of u20s next year that can provide us with a few quality ABs going forward. This current AB team is built around the great u20s sides of 2009-2011 but the step down in quality over the last few years has been noticeable. These things tend to be cyclical however so I wouldn't be surprised if we get a gun team again in the next couple of years.

  • I'm looking forward to watching Akira Ioane and Fifita next year. Both great prospects for physical sixes or eights.

    Props are definitely a concern. Thought that our front row offered little on the EOYT.

  • In the U20s, we'll see Marino Mikaele-Tu'u for his second year. There's a lot to like about this lad; he's a very big, powerful 8. He only got a few games for the Magpies (because they wanted him to play with the U19s), but if he gets a full NPC season next year, we'll be able to see whether he's really as good as he showed during the JWC. Hope the Canes will pick him up next year.

    Edit: added this photo to show he's big
    alt text

  • @Tim

    If Ioane improves his workrate, he looks like an AB on the Dane Coles attitude adjustment plan. Hasn't been picked though, so I think he's a 2018 option and they are trying to get Kaino through one more year!

    My guess is that Fifita is ahead and has some working about being physical. He's certainly a player with huge upside.

  • I think propping depth is only a concern on the tighthead side - and I think it's our biggest concern - though Ofa seems to be making progress and Laulala will hopefully return and improve.

    Loosehead we've got Moody, Crockett, Hames, Paulasi Manu and quite a few others who look quite promising.

    I really like Hames - he really tries to dominate his opponent, where Crockett and Moody to an extent seem more happy just with parity. Won't surprise me to see Hames or Manu go past both in the next 12 months.

  • @Chris-B. Laulala seemed to go alright before being injured. (I think he's tighthead)

    If he comes back as strong and dominate then I think our propping concerns are eliminated

  • @Hooroo said in AB's 2016 in Review:

    @Chris-B. Laulala seemed to go alright before being injured. (I think he's tighthead)

    If he comes back as strong and dominate then I think our propping concerns are eliminated

    Not sure if it's ever been confirmed, but isn't Charlie Faumuina supposedly off to France after the Lions tour?

    If so, we're effectively back to Franks, Laulala, Ofa.....someone quite a long way further back.

    We've been pretty lucky that Owen Franks has been so durable - presumably that will end when he scores a test try? 🙂

  • Is it Atu Moli as well, had heard the ABs had been keeping an eye on him

  • @taniwharugby

    He's still got a few work-ons at scrum time, but improved last year - hopefully he has a massive year for the Chiefs 🙂

  • @Chris-B. said in AB's 2016 in Review:

    I think propping depth is only a concern on the tighthead side - and I think it's our biggest concern - though Ofa seems to be making progress and Laulala will hopefully return and improve.

    Loosehead we've got Moody, Crockett, Hames, Paulasi Manu and quite a few others who look quite promising.

    I really like Hames - he really tries to dominate his opponent, where Crockett and Moody to an extent seem more happy just with parity. Won't surprise me to see Hames or Manu go past both in the next 12 months.

    I assume they'll be looking at Reggie Goodes as well.

  • Third hooker: with Nathan Harris regularly falling apart; Coltman and Parsons only just good enough as injury cover, but not really AB material; and Ash Dixon probably considered too old, my guess is that they'll keep a close eye on Riccitelli this Super Rugby season. I hope the lad gets sufficient game time for the Canes and continues developing well. I was really impressed last season. From short-term injury cover contract and fourth choice at best at the beginning of the 2016 season, to a full contract and 2nd choice now.

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