How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?



  • Regular updates on our injured players...and who do people see as the AB 23 for the first test

    UPDATED 28/5/17
    How are we going with injuries?
    Beaudy - Headaches/Concussion? (From travel)
    Ardie - Concussion (From game vs Bulls)
    Scotty Barrett - Knee & Ankle - "couple of weeks", Back vs Highlanders?
    Squire - annnnd, out for 4-6 weeks (busted thumb)
    Coles - dicky calves 50/50 for 'Canes v Stormers, now with added Concussion, return TBC
    Kaino - out for 4-6 weeks (6 weeks means back for the Samoa test)
    Read - out for 6 weeks, fractured thumb (back in time for Samoa test)
    Crotty, Todd, Franks - Rested v Rebels
    Dagg - Played vs Rebels
    Ben Smith - Played vs Waratahs
    Cruden - played vs Blues
    SBW - concussion, return TBC
    Lima Sopoaga - back vs Waratahs
    NMS - Available for game vs Force
    Naholo - back and scoring tries

    For mine the first test team is mostly straight-forward.
    Franks, Coles, Moody
    Whitelock, Retallick (of course)
    Kaino, Read, Cane (no-one's form demands they replace any of these 3)
    A.Smith, B.Barrett (I would be ok with TJ getting first dibs due to likely physicallity)
    Crotty, ALB (the incumbents... I'd love to have Laumape outside BB - hes on fire and would have an x-factor about him, but can't see it actually happening)
    Savea, B.Smith, Dagg (if not injured) - (wing is probably the only position in the starting XV up for grabs - maybe one of the props)
    Reserves:
    Faumuina, Crockett (I know there was someone I'd forgotten with my original post)
    C.Taylor
    Romano or S.Barrett (I think Tuipolutu isn't showing enough)
    Probably A.Savea
    TJ
    Cruden
    SBW most likely. Although I wouldn't be shocked to see Jordie Barrett here, especially if SBW makes starting lineup



  • Crockett will be the reserve LH prop.

    The biggest question mark to me is do they use Squire in the reserves or a specialist lock? They might go with a lock to avoid potential lineout problems as seen in Chicago (if one of Whitelock or BBBR went off).



  • Very few Qs.

    1. Squire va Savea on the bench.
    2. AS vs TJP for the start
    3. Does SBW start?
    4. If NMS fit, one of Dagg or Savea or possibly Naholo misses out, who?
    5. Has Jordie replaced DMac as the 10/15 super-sub squad option?


  • One of the big pointers is JB being removed from the U20s. The ABs obviously covering themselves for the possibility that one or more of Dagg, Naholo, NMS aren't available or that further injuries occur.
    DMac's potential use at the moment is off the bench in the role BB used to have but can't see him getting that gig in this series except possibly if we are 2-0

    EDIT: Can't see JB being 10/15 cover off the bench at all. Can see him starting at 15 due to injuries though or as a bench option should SBW not produce.



  • I think if Dagg isnt fit it gets interesting as the Lions will kick & kick well, so for me Dagg is nailed on to start in 14, but if he's not fit it opens way up. NMS is the most consistent attacker, Naholo the most dangerous, but Dmac & Jordie have a much better catch / kick and both can goal kick.

    Most likley would be Jordie & Dmac nowhere near the team till the 3rd if we are 2-0 up (and even then probably not), but if the Lions somehow get to the first test fully fit & do us (its the only chance of a win I think they have) with Beauden kicking 3 from 8 it makes a goal kicking wing a possability.



  • Hooker is probably our biggest worry. I really hope that Coles is fully fit.

    Our scrum may be an issue. It was terrible on the EOYT, but players should be in better condition now, and we have our best locks back. Tackling and penalties were a big issue with Moody and Franks too.

    Midfield ball carrying is potentially a big issue - a critical factor if forwards are not providing good ball. Only SBW and Moala are competent in that regard at test level. Neither are in good form at the moment.

    BB is on fire though, and our halfbacks are playing well.



  • My biggest fear is that Moody or Fekitoa receive a high-tackle red-card.

    Before this season I wouldn't have worried about Lutatua though, so who knows ...



  • @Tim said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    Midfield ball carrying is potentially a big issue - a critical factor if forwards are not providing good ball.

    That would be an attraction of Nahalo for me, he does a huge amount of work running through midfield. I think SBW will start of the bench test 1 & then start from there on so that solves it. Its just the ensuing 25 knock-ons that become an issue



  • @Tim said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    My biggest fear is that Moody or Fekitoa receive a high-tackle red-card.

    A red card with anything more than 10mins remaining on the clock will determine a game. Hopefully, neither side commits an act that warrants a card. Hopefully, no ref hands one out for acts that don't.

    @Billy-Tell said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    Very few Qs.

    1. Squire va Savea on the bench.

    I think that depends on the form of those around the locks/ backrow. Do you want a like for like replacement for a specific player, or the ability to shuffle guys around to keep the best mix?

    1. AS vs TJP for the start

    On current form, TJP (just).

    1. Does SBW start?

    Not on current form.

    1. If NMS fit, one of Dagg or Savea or possibly Naholo misses out, who?

    Naholo.

    1. Has Jordie replaced DMac as the 10/15 super-sub squad option?

    I don't think the Lions will suit the strengths of BMac's game.



  • @antipodean said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    @Tim said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    My biggest fear is that Moody or Fekitoa receive a high-tackle red-card.

    A red card with anything more than 10mins remaining on the clock will determine a game. Hopefully, neither side commits an act that warrants a card. Hopefully, no ref hands one out for acts that don't.

    @Billy-Tell said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    Very few Qs.

    1. Squire va Savea on the bench.

    I think that depends on the form of those around the locks/ backrow. Do you want a like for like replacement for a specific player, or the ability to shuffle guys around to keep the best mix?

    1. AS vs TJP for the start

    On current form, TJP (just).

    1. Does SBW start?

    Not on current form.

    1. If NMS fit, one of Dagg or Savea or possibly Naholo misses out, who?

    Naholo.

    1. Has Jordie replaced DMac as the 10/15 super-sub squad option?

    I don't think the Lions will suit the strengths of BMac's game.

    He did keep Dan Carter out of some schoolboy team though!



  • Jordie Barrett intrigues me just because adding new blood in June is something we have done every year and I would want to see that continue. Even in RWC years and the past Lions tour we've added new blood and played them in big games if their form and pedigree warrants it. I feel his does.

    Complacency is my biggest concern if we roll out the same unit without any changes. As a team they performed well last year on the scoreboard but hardly any individuals own their jerseys and some that have seem prime for the next big thing to take their number (Kaino, Dagg, Savea at times, midfield, Read).

    Hansen's comment on Joride Barrett with Devlin regarding his kicking makes me think he has his name on the spreadsheet. I hope he makes it.



  • @Billy-Tell said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    Very few Qs.

    1. Squire va Savea on the bench.

    I don't think it's a choice between these 2 at all. Savea would have to be on the bench, as he is the ultimate impact sub, but the forward mix could now change. Previously Savea was looked at as a replacement 7 only but he has shown enough ability to be an option as a backup no.8 if required. That means your other forward reserve could be a specialist lock (Paddy T/Romano), a lock/6 (S Barrett) or a 6/8 (Squire). Both Kaino and Cane have played at no.8 too.

    To me, it comes down to whether Hansen and co want to use Read or Kaino as their 3rd lock in the match-day 23. I'd suggest not. You'd also want some cover at openside and a reserve bench without Savea would mean Read covers that role.



  • I don't think the older guys will have any issues with motivation on this series. I have heard they tend to get a bit complacent when facing teams they don't rate, but i doubt a Lions tour fits in to that.

    The bench forward options are interesting, there is some real impact there. Squire's impact off the bench against the Blues was very impressive. Savea is an all-action guy to have hanging around. I love what Charlie F and PT bring to the tight stuff when they come on. Someone is going to miss out (unless Ardie is covering the midfield...)

    Across the board the ABs seem to be aiming up. Right wing is really the only spot on the table i reckon, and that's because all 3 of the guys that have been used there are currently out. Dagg would be a certainty if he can get a few games under his belt. The fact Naholo can't complete a test without getting hurt has to tell against him at some point surely.

    As other have noted, it would be great if a 2nd hooker could establish himself.



  • @Billy-Tell said in How are the AB's tracking heading into the BIL series?:

    Very few Qs.

    1. Has Jordie replaced DMac as the 10/15 super-sub squad option?

    I don't think DMac has ever been in contention to sub at 10 has he? In both tests he's played in we've had a specialist first five on the bench.

    I don't think I've ever seen Jordie playing 10 and DMac, as I noted on another thread, has probably started no more than five first class games there. I'd be pretty surprised if either of them are in the first five frame.

    Gollum's point about "what if we lose the first test with Beaudy having a goalkicking nightmare?" is one that occurred to me. In that case, it's possible they might try to shoehorn DMac or Jordie into the team at fullback or wing, but I think more likely that BB goes to the bench and Cruden or Sopoaga takes the helm.

    Overall, I'm a bit inclined to think that - at best - one of DMac or Jordie makes the squad and quite possibly neither - unless both Dagg and NMS are unavailable.

    Last year they named a 32 man squad for the three Wales tests, so I'd imagine it will be pretty close to that again. Fitness permitting, I reckon the 1st test match-day team will look pretty close to:

    Moody, Coles, Franks, Retallick, Whitelock, Kaino, Cane, Read, Smith, Barrett, Savea, Crotty, SBW, Dagg, Smith
    Crockett, Taylor, Faumuina, Romano, Savea, Perenara, Cruden, Lienert-Brown

    I reckon the starting eight is set in stone and the only real question mark in the reserve forwards is Romano - who might be edged out by another lock or Squire.

    In the backs there's more question marks - Smith/Perenara is a tough call. I'd go with Smith even though I think TJ is actually the incumbent.

    Midfield - lots of options. I'm inclined to think they'll go with Crotty and, given there's still plenty of time for SBW to find his feet and I expect him to (and I can't see him being left out of the squad), I'd like to see him used at centre. But it could be SBW/ALB or Crotty/ALB or even Crotty/Fekitoa.

    Right wing - both Dagg and NMS are injured. Seems unlikely NMS will have enough games to force his way in, so I'm inclined to think if fit it will be Israel.

    Anyway, that's 23 selections and then you slot in at least nine (maybe 10 or 11) more. These will include IMO Squire, Kerr-Barlow, Sopoaga, Fekitoa, another hooker, another lock, probably two props, another loose forward and another outside back.



  • I'm a Chiefs and Waikato boy, but I thought Damian McKenzie looked very nervous when he played for the ABs. That might not matter to a lock, say, who can just get on with his core duties, but a nervous fullback is a major problem. The last time I recall seeing anyone look more nervous was Adrian Cashmore, and he never cracked it as a result.

    I can't see him getting selected at all.

    Jordy Barrett plays for likely the best team in the competition. He's had a charmed run recently, and I would want to see him play quite a lot more. It's not like Beauden was an instant success.



  • I would have thought if Jordie was selected , it might just as much , if not more about getting him into the system with an eye to the future , than for what he could bring now , but I could be wrong with that



  • @Chris-B I'd be tempted to play Crotty at 13 and SBW if he improves at 12.

    That way the wings would actually get the ball, and I'd be much happier on defence.

    Don't trust Fekitoa at all, and ALB is great on attack but not on D.



  • @Kirwan That's a possibility too - though I like Crotty at second five more than centre.

    What I really like about my plan is that SBW/Crotty looks a fair bit like Nonu/Smith - whereas Crotty/SBW is a different look and might give the Lions' analysts more to think about. Though this may be a bullshit theory... 🙂



  • Seems most agree with my opening post... clearly the AB's ain't too hard to pick at present.

    Beauden Barrett starts in this team regardless of whether he loses the first test based on goal-kicking... he'll be at full back in the 2nd test if the selector think its an issue, theres waaaaay too much upside to him starting now.
    Hes playing better Super Rugby on cheat mode - looks to be a bazillion times better than last year

    Cruden will come off the bench, they won't risk J.Barrett or DMac as 10 cover in a million years vs BIL.
    Which brings me to J.Barrett, I could see him as midfield/wing/15 cover from the bench, basically he offers more that DMac - size, more positions, understanding with BB, although gut says SBW gets bench for Test 1.0

    I like DMac, hes awesome at Super rugby, I just can't see him becoming a regular AB with Beaudy there for the next 2 RWC's and Ben Smith into J.Barrett over that time frame. (I would like to see a JB/ALB combo one day - wowwee - love to see what Laumape and ALB looks like as well)

    If Dagg doesn't make it back to full form and fitness, this is when I think selection gets interesting. Ben Smith is a nailed on starter, but I can see the selectors moving him to 14 to accomodate J.Barrett at the back (then goal-kicking is no longer an issue)
    I can't see them going for two power wings in Naholo and J.Savea

    How good is it that most AB's are also playing well at the moment, and NZ Super Rugby is hitting some what of a purple patch.



  • Could Charlie Ngatai come in? (highly unlikely...)

    Naholo and Squires back for the Highlanders over the weekend