How are the ABs tracking for the RC?



  • Well, we're losing Big Charlie, TKB, and Cruden, but we should have Coles, Ben Smith, Liam Squire, SBW, Naholo, Crotty, and Rieko Ioane back.

    Who will be the third halfback, third 1st 5, 3rd hooker, and 5th prop?

    Who should kick the goals?

    When does Marty Banks leave?

    Who should be on the bench?

    Will Tuipulotu make it back?



  • @Tim

    Pulu, Drummond or Hall

    Mo'unga

    Harris

    Laulala (though actually, Ofa).

    Beauden

    After Super rugby

    Crockett, Taylor, Laulala, Barrett, Savea, TJP, Sopoaga, (edit) Laumape ALB

    No.



  • @Chris-B. Barrett and Savea might be OK against Australia, but were exposed by the Lions. Prefer more robust alternatives against Boks and Argentina.



  • @Tim

    Third halfback: Weber, depending on health/fitness.
    Third 1st 5: Mo'unga
    3rd hooker: too soon for Aumua unfortunately, so I guess it will be Harris
    5th prop: shouldn't be a specialist LH, so either Laulala or JTA

    goal kicker: depends on whether BB finds a miracle cure; otherwise Jordie if he's in the starting XV. I'd like them to prep Dagg for kicking duties, too.

    Banks will leave straight after SR and wouldn't be included anyway, if he'd stay for Mitre 10 Cup. You don't pick a player just for one-tourney-goalkicking.

    On the bench for which position? All?
    I think the coaches will go for: Taylor, Crockett, Ofa/Laulala, Barrett, Savea, TJP, Sopoaga, ALB (if/when SBW is available again, although I'd prefer ALB to start with Crotty).

    Tuipulotu, what is actually wrong with him? Injured? Mentally at a bad place? He needs to have a good Mitre 10 Cup season before we'll now where he's at, I guess. At the moment, he looks way out of contention (5th lock at best, and only that because Fatialofa is injured).

    Barrett - although he made one costly mistake after he had just come on in test 1 - he wasn't exposed by the Lions at all; you actually need to play more than a few minutes to be exposed.

    I still prefer Todd over Savea, but Todd is more a starter than a bench impact player (he should be in the squad, though; they can't start Cane in each and every game if he's to last until the end of the season). It's one of the difficult positions on the bench, with Squire also not entirely convincing. I guess Savea still has the best papers for that bench spot, because nobody else seems to challenge him properly for that spot.



  • How much rugby is Brad Weber going to realistically have before TRC? I'd say Pulu will be next in line as his game most closely aligns the departing TKB (unless one of the other halfbacks have a terrific playoff series which could force the selectors hands).

    I agree Tuipulotu is a long way off getting back on the test radar. By the time he got dropped he was arguably the Blues 3rd best lock. Has all the talent in the world but needs to tighten up so much of his game (handling, work in tight etc etc). Showing up to training on time might be a start.

    I'd like to see Squire get a shot as the bench loosie to provide some real oomph off the bench. Fifita and Akira are two others that at some point this year should be into a proper test for a look (a romp against Samoa doesnt count) but probably realistically are EOYT prospects.



  • @KiwiMurph said in How are the ABs tracking for the RC?:

    How much rugby is Brad Weber going to realistically have before TRC? I'd say Pulu will be next in line as his game most closely aligns the departing TKB (unless one of the other halfbacks have a terrific playoff series which could force the selectors hands).

    I agree Tuipulotu is a long way off getting back on the test radar. By the time he got dropped he was arguably the Blues 3rd best lock. Has all the talent in the world but needs to tighten up so much of his game (handling, work in tight etc etc). Showing up to training on time might be a start.

    I'd like to see Squire get a shot as the bench loosie to provide some real oomph off the bench. Fifita and Akira are two others that at some point this year should be into a proper test for a look (a romp against Samoa doesnt count) but probably realistically are EOYT prospects.

    Weber probably won't get enough games. He could have 6 Mitre 10 Cup games under his belt by the time they name the travelling squad for South Africa and Argentina, but there's no way he's ready for Bledisloe I and II, or other early RC games in NZ. I guess that means Pulu will be lucky, but if Weber has a good Mitre 10 Cup season, he should IMO be in the EOYT squad. Weber was the 4th halfback before his horrible injury and should get the opportunity to play himself into the squad as the 3rd hb.



  • Third halfback - McKenzie, third 1st 5 - Dagg.

    Pulu, Mounga, Harris, Laulala. Although I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bolter at halfback.

    Barrett should remain kicker. Although not fussed if they want to change.

    Taylor, Crockett, Tu'ungafasi, Barrett, Squire/Savea, Perenara, Sopoaga, Thompson Laumape



  • You're asking the wrong Q. How are our rivals tracking?

    Argentina - lost to England B
    Australia - lost to Scotland
    SA - easily beat a poor France

    It will be a major surprise if NZ doesn't walk this.

    Main area of interest to me is who they choose in the back 3 including do they put NMS in the squad, and I suppose the midfield. I would like ngatai given a look and will they cap Goodhue at some point. Do we persist with a lock reserve or go back to the 6/8 who can cover lock at a pinch.



  • I'll come back to the questions in the OP presently ...

    But I recall after the 2nd Lions test in 2005 that some were stating 07 was a fait de complis.

    How did that work out?

    Just saying there's a LOT of water to flow under that bridge.

    Edit: Should learn to read ... thought it said RWC ...

    Ignore



  • The important positions breakdown

    Halfback
    Smith and TJ. B. Cupboard for third halfback

    1st 5
    B Barrett, Sopoaga and ummmmm.... I'd throw Jordie into the cutter before any of these other cats.

    Midfield
    I'd be playing SBW and Crotty through the whole RC if they can stay fit and on the park. Looked very good in that first test together.

    Laumape a keeper. ALB might want to show some form to shore up his spot. Fekitoa possible but not probable. Goodhue possible, but will only get a look in if multiple injuries.

    Back 3
    Bender, Ioane, Naholo, Dagg, J. Barrett

    Savea, Skudder - no.



  • The thing about the bench lock spot, is that I think he is there in case of an injury to SW and BBBR, as they're both 80 minute players.
    I think they will go with Squire over Barrett (in the short term ie. for the RC), and if there is an injury, JK will cover lock. Patty in full flight would take that spot easily though. He just needs to get his attitude sorted. If Luatua can do it, then I believe Patty can do it too.

    If anything, JB's performance against the Lions makes things interesting. Does that performance give him the 15 jersey looking forward to 2019? He outshone both Dagg and BFA. BFA to 14?



  • @mimic said in How are the ABs tracking for the RC?:

    The thing about the bench lock spot, is that I think he is there in case of an injury to SW and BBBR, as they're both 80 minute players.
    I think they will go with Squire over Barrett (in the short term ie. for the RC), and if there is an injury, JK will cover lock. Patty in full flight would take that spot easily though. He just needs to get his attitude sorted. If Luatua can do it, then I believe Patty can do it too.

    I reckon the days of Kaino covering lock are over.



  • This might not be the thread, but the thought did cross my mind during the first Lions test, I wonder what the plan is with Kaino. How long does he have? When will the transition come (to Akira, Squire)? How will he go out? A Lions test series was probably the last of the accomplishments for him at test level.



  • there was talk soon after the WC , he will play on to the lions , they made it sound like that would be it ,

    Im pretty sure there was talk last year , they might try and get him through to the next WC



  • @ACT-Crusader said in How are the ABs tracking for the RC?:

    @mimic said in How are the ABs tracking for the RC?:

    The thing about the bench lock spot, is that I think he is there in case of an injury to SW and BBBR, as they're both 80 minute players.
    I think they will go with Squire over Barrett (in the short term ie. for the RC), and if there is an injury, JK will cover lock. Patty in full flight would take that spot easily though. He just needs to get his attitude sorted. If Luatua can do it, then I believe Patty can do it too.

    I reckon the days of Kaino covering lock are over.

    Did kaino ever cover lock? I know he played there in Chicago. Saying he covered it though is being very generous...



  • @ACT-Crusader

    Good point about Kaino. My guess is he'll start the RC then start getting moved out?

    So, HB: Bloody hell, it really is bare, isn't it? It'll probably be Pulu, but fuck that's a worry.

    Third 1st five should be Mo'unga. Based on what's around, he looks like the best bet to be looked at, although my balls get a bit tight thinking about him playing the boks. Like @ACT-Crusader I kind of feel like Jordie might be the best to handle that. But, my guess is that they'll take McKenzie. Seriously.

    We've got three hookers, and a fourth in Gimli, so not really a worry there. If Taylor gets his pressure throwing right, we are somewhat OK, even without Coles (but, please come back Dane, soon).

    5th prop. Hmm, right now I'm way tempted to say JTA - who has been tried and failed. But, I thought he looked pretty good against the Lions, and he is the closest I can think of to a ball playing TH. The other option is for Ofa to take Charlie's spot and only focus on TH, in which case I hope Brendon Edwards gets healthy soon. Laulala is very Franks like, so not ideal for the Charlie role, but could be good to have in the squad. They could invest in the future and go with Moli, who possibly has the biggest upside. I seriously can't think of who I'd carry here, but I'll guess Moli as a project.

    If he plays, I think Jordie should kick the goals. But, right now he doesn't quite start for me. Not yet. Doesn't make my bench yet either until he can cover 10, but don't know when he'll ever get the chance. Makes my back five though which is the same as @ACT-Crusader 's.

    One problem we've had is a lack of impact from our subs. Barrett moves bodies, but our bej is a weakness now. I think we need to be more risky with our lock reserve. I don't think we can use Squire, but I'd like to see Fifita given a go. I think he offers more than Barrett. As has been mentioned, most of the time our locks can go 80, so given that, I like him covering 6 and adding some punch for Kaino if required.

    My Bench: Crockett, Taylor, Ofa, Fifita, Savea, TJP, Sopoaga, Laumape



  • I don't think TJP is good coming off the bench - he spends 70 minutes working himself into a frenzy and is about to explode when he finally does make the field.



  • @booboo said in How are the ABs tracking for the RC?:

    I'll come back to the questions in the OP presently ...

    But I recall after the 2nd Lions test in 2005 that some were stating 07 was a fait de complis.

    How did that work out?

    Just saying there's a LOT of water to flow under that bridge.

    Ooops sorry. Read that as RWC NOT RC. Thought that was somwhat premature.

    D'oh



  • @ACT-Crusader

    I think we need to fine tune the starting and bench outside backs. I really don't like an out and out midfielder on the bench and being forced to move BB to the back early on. Really need to have winger/center on the bench. Ideal for that role is Buckman as well as Moala and Ioane with more time in the midfield and a higher workrate.



  • @gt12 Do you know if Michael Alaalatoa has decided on which country he wants to represent? When would he be available for AB selection if available? I have been impressed with his development at the Crusaders.