AB "What could have been" XV



  • Ok, continuing on from the World XV thread and some discussion of Rupeni on another thread i thought a "what could have been" AB xv might be fun. Criteria = guys who had potential to be something special at lower levels but never quite made it or never fulfilled their potential for whatever reason.

    1. ? I don't know. Was Ben Afeaki a LH?

    2. Hika Elliot ? Seemed to have the skills for test rugby but never got much time there for whatever reason.

    3. Ben Tameifuna: Had a few flaws to his game but could have been a good AB if he had sorted those.

    4. James Ryan: retired early to be a lawyer didn't he?

    5. Keith Robinson: seemed to be constantly broken in 2004-2007 when we desperately needed a hard arse lock. BBBT, Whitelock and BBBR coming along after him sort of mean he gets a bit forgotten.

    6. Lauaki: looked awesome in 2005 but never really fulfilled his potential.

    7. Holah is probably the most well know being behind Richie. Maybe also Latimer who could have been a good test player. Todd might ultimately end up in this spot too.

    8. Nasi manu?? I only picked him because he was quality but never got a chance in tests. Hopefully Akira doesn't end up in this spot.

    9. Brendan Leonard maybe? Or Kahn Fotuali'i.
      Both looked good at super level but either never got picked (kahn) or didn't kick on (Leonard)

    10. Nick Evans: stuck behind Carter for most of the time he was in NZ. Would have had a decent AB career if he had stayed given Dan was injured regularly.

    11.Rupeni: could have been huge for the ABs. Instead he got fat in France.

    1. Ngatai: Who else? Could have been a good AB. Injuries and then probably the emergence of ALB and Laumape stopped that.

    2. Toeava: could pick him in lots of positions in this team. That is probably his main issue, he never settled in a spot to be able to claim it. Injuries also screwed him over.

    3. Kahui: picked him here because i can't think of anyone else. Injuries really screwed him out of a long AB career. Was awesome in 2011 though. Maybe NMS will fit in here in time.

    4. Piutau: Could have been on 50 caps by now. But chose to chase the cash.

    Have i missed anyone?



  • What about that centre/winger who had heart problems - played for the Crusaders and Chiefs? Can't believe his name is escaping me.



  • @crazy-horse Robbie Fruean, beast at super level when fit.



  • Aaron Hopa for me at 6. He did everything Collins and Kaino were praised for doing, but before either of them hit the scene. I reckon he would have been a starter at RWC 99.



  • @sapetyvi that's the one.



  • Wasn’t James Ryan forced to retire due to a back or neck injury?

    Whopper was supposed to be the next big thing wasn’t he?
    Rene Ranger if he’d of stuck around.
    Norm Berryman



  • @gunner knee injury



  • @tim said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    @gunner knee injury

    That's interesting I didn't realise it was an injury issue. Or maybe i did but forgot.

    Yes, Fruen is a good one.

    Broadhurst is another that was forced to retire just as he reached test level. His first test wasn't great but he could have improved.

    Pat T is another who looks like he may end up in this category.

    Could also include Luatua i guess.



  • Doesn't really meet the criteria as he was awesome at top level but imagine 'what could have been' if Jonah was able to operate at 100%.

    Isa Nacewa deserves a mention doesn't he?



  • @crucial yeah I thought of Lomu too. Staggering to think he was never 100% and what he might have been like if he was.



  • @crucial said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Doesn't really meet the criteria as he was awesome at top level but imagine 'what could have been' if Jonah was able to operate at 100%.

    Isa Nacewa deserves a mention doesn't he?

    Ah yeah Nacewa was in my original team before i started the thread. Totally forgot to include him though.

    Agree with Lomu.



  • Stretching the criteria a bit but Hayman would have probably gone on to be a centurion AB if he hung around



  • Paul Williams broken leg that healed poorly

    Jason Goldsmith - injury too

    Both looked really promising.



    1. DAVID Halligan
    2. Alwyn Harvey

    More when I think of them



  • @crucial said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Stretching the criteria a bit but Hayman would have probably gone on to be a centurion AB if he hung around

    Especially if he moved to number 8



  • @pukunui said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Have i missed anyone?

    Nacewa?



  • Caucau shouldn’t be on this list.

    He’s a Fijian who played for Fiji.



  • @bovidae said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Aaron Hopa for me at 6. He did everything Collins and Kaino were praised for doing, but before either of them hit the scene. I reckon he would have been a starter at RWC 99.

    I might be recollecting through my Hurricanes/Lions goggles, but I remember Filo Tiatia pressing hard for AB selection in 1999. He just missed out on the RWC squad, then missed a call up when Carlos got hurt before the tourney. I can't remember who the replacement was (I seem to recall it was a back, Auckland?), but we could have used his physicality in the semi vs France



  • Paul Tito. Never made the top due to his ginger hair.



  • Wayne Ormond



  • Jim Coe



    1. Bent

    2. McCartney

    3. Ah You

    4. Hayden Triggs

    5. Ezra Taylor

    6. Nepia Fox-Matamua

    7. Sean Reidy

    8. George Naoupu

    9. Gibson-Park

    10. Joey Carbery

    11. James Lowe

    12. Bundee Aki

    13. Jared Payne

    14. Pita Ahki

    15. Isa Nacewa

    16. Rhys Marshall

    17. Peter Borlase

    18. Nathan White

    19. A. N. Other

    20. Jake Heenan

    21. Isaac Boss

    22. Tyler Bleyendaal

    23. Ben Te’o



  • Biggest one for me what if Martin Johnson hung around another year and completed residency after his stint with King Country?

    Others with a unapologetic Blues focus:

    Gareth Anscombe beat out Sopoaga and Barrett for the 10 jersey in the star studded 2011 U20s squad. Had a couple of MoTM performances in Lam's last season. Cut inexplicably by SJK sight unseen, picked up by the Cheifs but was already signed overseas so used in a bit part role. With different coaching things go better for him IMO.

    Watching Orene Ai'i debut for Auckland against Otago I thought he would at least have a cup of coffee in black.

    Would have genuinely been interested to see Luke McAlister develop had he stayed after 2007. His attack was sublime in 2007 and two years in black wasn't enough. The 2009 come back was under a massive injury cloud.

    There is another universe where Tom Donnelly, like most locks, is a bit healthier and has a stellar 50 test career.

    Glen Osbourne still had a great career but was certainly crowded out much like Holah.



  • @gunner said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Whopper was supposed to be the next big thing wasn’t he?

    He was in that stretch between 2008-11 when the selectors would pick marginal Super Rugby players and talk them up as if they were the next Lomu. They would make you think you were watching another game all these years! Guildford, Bryn Evans, Hoeata, Mackintosh...

    @crucial said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Stretching the criteria a bit but Hayman would have probably gone on to be a centurion AB if he hung around

    His form went to pudding so quickly for Newcastle I can't imagine he would have made it had he stayed especially given how centurion Franks was on the ascendancy. Collins and to a lesser extent So'oialo were of a similar vintage and fell off pretty quickly post 2007.



  • @derm-mccrum good list although surely Tony Marsh fits the same criteria as Payne and was a better player.



  • Expected bigger this of Isitola Maka, Royce Willis, Piutau



  • @rotated Orene's 99 season was something else. I think he was only 19 then and he was shredding teams every week. I'm sure a lot of people thought he'd be an AB one day after that year.

    Carlos coming back probably didn't help his development.



  • Bruce Reihana and Roger Randle cos there were so many other good outside backs in that era.



  • @mn5 said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Bruce Reihana and Roger Randle cos there were so many other good outside backs in that era.

    I thought the thread was about blokes with promise that could have gone further... Not blokes who played to the best of their ability but weren't a patch on those ahead of them..



  • @bones said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    @mn5 said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Bruce Reihana and Roger Randle cos there were so many other good outside backs in that era.

    I thought the thread was about blokes with promise that could have gone further... Not blokes who played to the best of their ability but weren't a patch on those ahead of them..

    You've always gotta shoot down my posts and make me feel bad about myself.

    Surely both of them were better than Caleb Ralph though?



  • @canefan said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    I might be recollecting through my Hurricanes/Lions goggles, but I remember Filo Tiatia pressing hard for AB selection in 1999. He just missed out on the RWC squad, then missed a call up when Carlos got hurt before the tourney. I can't remember who the replacement was (I seem to recall it was a back, Auckland?), but we could have used his physicality in the semi vs France

    Reihana was the replacement player.

    Tiatia was more a no.8, and Randell was the only no.8 named in that squad. The other loosies were Kronfeld, Blowers, Robertson, Mika and Thorne. Anyone else at no.6 vs France would have helped.



  • Benji Marshall....



  • Joeli Vidiri



  • @mikedogz said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    Joeli Vidiri

    Quite a few guys could step Jonah but I'm pretty certain JV was the only one who ran over the top of him when Counties played Wellington. Fuck he was awesome.



  • @mn5 I hear Ralph can climb a rope one handed.



  • Dale Atkins.



  • @bones said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    @mn5 I hear Ralph can climb a rope one handed.

    He's my friend on FB. Can confirm.



  • @rotated Anscombe wasnt already signed up for overseas when he got picked up for the Chiefs. He played 2 years for the Chiefs. They played him at fullback cos they had Cruden at 10. A big part of him playing 10 for the U20s was his old man was the coach.



  • @kiwimurph said in AB "What could have been" XV:

    @rotated Anscombe wasnt already signed up for overseas when he got picked up for the Chiefs. He played 2 years for the Chiefs. They played him at fullback cos they had Cruden at 10. A big part of him playing 10 for the U20s was his old man was the coach.

    Same for Auckland. When Dad wasn’t involved he ended up as fullback, where was good without being great. Very good goal kicker rubbish ten.



  • Someone mentioned Bleyendaal. He won an age group WC at 10 didn't he? Seemed to be touted as the next big thing then disappeared


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