Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?



  • So, this is the team we put out against Argentina in the first match of the 2015 RWC. I'm pretty certain it was the best we had available.

    T. D. Woodcock
    D. S. Coles
    O. T. Franks
    B. A. Retallick
    S. L. Whitelock
    J. Kaino
    R. H. McCaw (C)
    K. J. Read
    A. L. Smith
    D. W. Carter
    S. J. Savea
    M. A Nonu
    C. G. Smith
    N. R. Milner-Skudder
    B. R. Smith

    RESERVES
    K. F. Mealamu
    W. W. V. Crockett
    C. Faumuina
    V. V. J. Vito
    S. J. Cane
    T. T. R. Perenara (Edit: as per below, T. N. J. Kerr-Barlow was on the bench for the play-off games)
    B. J. Barrett
    S. W. Williams

    ....and here, based on what we picked for Saturday's game, is what the coaches probably think is out best team (though it's still something of a work in progress):

    J. P. T. Moody
    C. J. D. Taylor
    O. T. Franks
    B. A. Retallick
    S. L. Whitelock
    L. I. J. Squire
    S. J. Cane
    K. J. Read (C)
    A. L. Smith
    B. J. Barrett
    R. E. Ioane
    S. W. Williams
    E. J. Goodhue
    B. R. Smith
    D. S. McKenzie

    RESERVES
    D. S. Coles
    G. K. Tu'inukuafe
    N. E. Laulala
    S. K. Barrett
    A. S. Savea
    T. T. R. Perenara
    R. F. Mo'unga
    R. S. Crotty

    Based on the form those guys at the top were in during that RWC and the form the current guys are currently showing...where are we better? Where are we worse? And if the two teams played each other, which would win?



  • @chris-b said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    So, this is the team we put out against Argentina in the first match of the 2015 RWC. I'm pretty certain it was the best we had available.

    T. D. Woodcock
    D. S. Coles
    O. T. Franks
    B. A. Retallick
    S. L. Whitelock
    J. Kaino
    R. H. McCaw (C)
    K. J. Read
    A. L. Smith
    D. W. Carter
    S. J. Savea
    M. A Nonu
    C. G. Smith
    N. R. Milner-Skudder
    B. R. Smith

    RESERVES
    K. F. Mealamu
    W. W. V. Crockett
    C. Faumuina
    V. V. J. Vito
    S. J. Cane
    T. T. R. Perenara
    B. J. Barrett
    S. W. Williams

    ....and here, based on what we picked for Saturday's game, is what the coaches probably think is out best team (though it's still something of a work in progress):

    J. P. T. Moody
    C. J. D. Taylor
    O. T. Franks
    B. A. Retallick
    S. L. Whitelock
    L. I. J. Squire
    S. J. Cane
    K. J. Read (C)
    A. L. Smith
    B. J. Barrett
    R. E. Ioane
    S. W. Williams
    E. J. Goodhue
    B. R. Smith
    D. S. McKenzie

    RESERVES
    D. S. Coles
    G. K. Tu'inukuafe
    N. E. Laulala
    S. K. Barrett
    A. S. Savea
    T. T. R. Perenara
    R. F. Mo'unga
    R. S. Crotty

    Based on the form those guys at the top were in during that RWC and the form the current guys are currently showing...where are we better? Where are we worse? And if the two teams played each other, which would win?

    I really hope SBW has played himself into form by 2019, if not we'll wait until 2023 to see how he's tracking



  • Personally, i think only Whitelock and Retallic are better now than the 2015 equivalent.



  • @mariner4life

    Yeah, I've said on here many times that I think the 2015 team was much better than the current team, and from looking at that, it's fucking insane how good that team was. For us, questions about the front row (TH), six, HB, midfield, wing/FB and even then I feel like our many of our first choices aren't as good as 2015 (7, 8, 9, 10, 15). Probably the only positions I'm sure we are better are 4 and 11, thanks to BBBR development and Ioane.



  • @gt12 said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @mariner4life

    Yeah, I've said on here many times that I think the 2015 team was much better than the current team, and from looking at that, it's fucking insane how good that team was. For us, questions about the front row (TH), six, HB, midfield, wing/FB and even then I feel like our many of our first choices aren't as good as 2015 (7, 8, 9, 10, 15). Probably the only positions I'm sure we are better are 4 and 11, thanks to BBBR development and Ioane.

    Is Ioane considerably better than Savea was at his best though ?



  • @mn5

    Was Savea at his best in 2015?

    He had one cracker against France, but was quiet after that. NMS was the form wing, and I'm sure we discussed whether Savea should have held his place?

    I'd suggest that Ioane would have killed it at that tournament if their places were swapped.



  • @gt12 said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @mn5

    Was Savea at his best in 2015?

    He had one cracker against France, but was quiet after that. NMS was the form wing, and I'm sure we discussed whether Savea should have held his place?

    I'd suggest that Ioane would have killed it at that tournament if their places were swapped.

    True. I'm probably thinking 2012-2014 when he was pretty unstoppable. His peak period was pretty standard for an AB wing now I think about it.



  • @gt12 Yep, Savea was average in 2015 and had one good game against a crappy French outfit.



  • If you are comparing the teams and not individual players against themselves, then the reserves props now (Tu'inukuafe and Laulala) are stronger in their core roles (scrums) than Crockett and Faumuina were, but obviously not as mobile around the field. Otherwise the 2015 pack is much stronger. But I'd take 2018/19 Coles over 2015 Mealamu.

    Again, the 2015 backs are better. For the sake of accuracy, TKB was the reserve halfback in the knockout games.

    How many centurions will be in the likely starting XV next year compared to 2015?



  • The hilarious thing is that a heap of Ferners were freaking out and hyperventilating about the 2015 team up until the French game. Even guys like BFA and Carter were copping it. NMS was shit as well apparently. Looking back that is arguably the best ever AB RWC team.

    Given the unsettled midfield (which even settled couldn't hold a candle to Nonu-Konrad), AS2015 being better than the 2019 version, DC being better than BB, the absence of God and of course the unbelievable 2015 bench, I can't see how 2019 can be considered better overall. But the 2019 vintage should still be good enough to win. They won't be in another league like the 2015 mob though.



  • Was the 2015 team more settled? Possibly. Pack was sorted. Only 14 was contentious, that's biggest difference.
    2019 is still a very good team who can win wc but issue is combination I think. Who are our best midfield and back three?? We have great players but who will win WC for us?
    I am not sure at this stage. Maybe crotty and goodhue with ALB off bench. Back three changes for me weekly, but for me Barrett, Ben and Reiko (although they never will)



  • 2019 is a huge step down in the loose forwards.

    To be expected though, the 2015 players were the best of the professional era.



  • Is there much point comparing the current team to that all time great 2015 team?
    Next year they will be up against completely different teams in a completely different context.

    I think the main issues we have been facing the last 2 years are still there.
    6 is still a question mark. Squire looks to be in the lead but he is so often injured and has yet to prove he can play at the level required against the best teams.

    Midfield is still pretty unclear with lots of options but we don't appear any closer to having a settled first choice combo. Mainly due to frequent injuries.

    The back three combination is also an unknown. Dmac was meant to be the secret weapon super sub but appears to have been promoted to starting 15.

    My main concern is that we seem to lack a bit of "rugby brain" when it comes to tactics when things aren't quite working. We look great when thing work and we blow teams away but things aren't coming off we seem to persist with high risk, low percentage plays like cross kicking and offloading in contact.

    It may be a case of keeping the powder dry but we haven't seen a really tight game plan since it worked so well against the Lions in the first test.



  • I'm guessing that we need to prepare for Sam Cane being unavailable?



  • @98blueandgold said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    Was the 2015 team more settled? Possibly. Pack was sorted. Only 14 was contentious, that's biggest difference.
    2019 is still a very good team who can win wc but issue is combination I think. Who are our best midfield and back three?? We have great players but who will win WC for us?
    I am not sure at this stage. Maybe crotty and goodhue with ALB off bench. Back three changes for me weekly, but for me Barrett, Ben and Reiko (although they never will)

    I dunno, I think it's easy to look back on 2015 with rose-tinted glasses when thinking about how "settled" they were. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following of areas where we had real selection doubts:

    • Loosehead prop, where Joe Moody replaced Tony Woodock during the RWC itself.
    • Lock, where we took only 3 locks to the tournament and, effectively, had Kaino as Whitelock's and Retallick's backup.
    • First-five, where Dan Carter (who ended up as the best player in the world that year) was lucky to get selected after 2 years on injury and / or poor form and had to rely on Cruden being injured out of the entire year (and we'd also had, at various times, Carter, Slade, Barrett and Sopoaga playing in the no. 10 jersey).
    • Back three, where we had an out of sort Savea on one wing, with two newbies in Milner-Skudder and Naholo in the mix too (with guys like Jane and Dagg having filled the right wing spot for the previous three years, but then failing to make the tournament).


  • @junior I wouldn't say Carter was lucky to be selected for the RWC. By the time the actual RWC squad was selected it was after the ABs had demolished the Wallabies at Eden Park and Carter produced a performance that was clear that he was back.



  • Question

    If we win the World Cup next year, does that diminish the careers of those guys we would consider all time greats?

    If we were able to lose all of those amazing players in one hit, with barely a hiccup, go on to 4 more years of winning everything, and then retain the Cup, does that kind of validate the "they only look great playing in a great team" crowd?



  • sorry

    Discuss



  • @tim said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    I'm guessing that we need to prepare for Sam Cane being unavailable?

    We are nearly there in the Forwards, but as Tim said we need to be prepared for Sam Cane not being available. Lots of cover at 7 though. I'd love to see Akira Ioane brought in for a couple of tests. He is fantastic ball-carrier who could have a significant impact at the RWC.

    Half Back is my biggest worry. England, Ireland and South Africa have much better players in that key position. Both Aaron Smith and TJP struggled on Saturday. TTT isn't ready yet.

    A couple of changes are needed in the backs. SBW is yesterday's man. He no longer has the pace to break the line. Crotty or Laemape are better options at 12. George Bridge should come into the squad and could start on the Right Wing, allowing BFA to go back to Full Back.



  • @mariner4life said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    Question

    If we win the World Cup next year, does that diminish the careers of those guys we would consider all time greats?

    If we were able to lose all of those amazing players in one hit, with barely a hiccup, go on to 4 more years of winning everything, and then retain the Cup, does that kind of validate the "they only look great playing in a great team" crowd?

    I"ll bite.

    Nope.

    For further discussion, wait until I have had another wine or two 🙂

    Seriously, though, that team was full of players who were dominant at the top level for a decade or more. Their legacy is not tarnished. I reckon we're less than 50% likely to win the next cup; it's insanely hard, and there will be tough, tight games on the way. Not confident -- hopeful ,but not confident



  • This has a little bit of a 2007 feel about it. We're about the best team in the world with fantastic depth in most positions. But we've had some signs of cracks and in our a few key positions we don't actually know who our best option is with lots of guys looking good but not consistent enough to lock down the position.



  • If Nonu looks half decent in next years SR is there any chance of a recall or does his age automatically put him out of contention despite being a cut above when at his best?



  • @african-monkey I really can't see that happening, but shit, Goodhue with an in form Nonu is a tasty sounding midfield.



  • @kiwimurph said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @junior I wouldn't say Carter was lucky to be selected for the RWC. By the time the actual RWC squad was selected it was after the ABs had demolished the Wallabies at Eden Park and Carter produced a performance that was clear that he was back.

    "Lucky" is probably not the best word to use, but it might be fair to say that, had Cruden not been injured, it's not entirely clear that Carter goes on to have the role he eventually did.



  • I think there's a chance that the loose forward trio at the RWC will be Read, Cane and Papali'i. None of the blindsides post Kaino have impressed and if Dalton can have a good Super campaign at blindside, it would be worth a shot to play him in the RC and see how he goes. We usually go in with a bolter at most RWCs, it could be him this time.



  • Akira Ioane off the bench as an impact 6 or 8.
    Won't fuckin' happen though.



  • @akan004 nah Akira is the bolter.



  • Whilst I can’t see too much change in personal moving forward you never know when someone will have an outstanding season and push their claims or if there’s a lack of form from an incumbent or injury.
    players I will be watching a little bit closer during super rugby are.

    Paripari Parkinson
    Dalton Papalii
    Akira Ioane
    George Bridge
    Billy Proctor
    Wil Jordon
    Brad Weber

    I believe if Akira has a massive super campaign,he has to be in the frame,also George Bridge comes into the same equation..
    Brad Weber is probably ranked outside the group,but still has an opportunity if injuries arrive, I put Dalton in this area.
    Just threw out a couple of other names out there..I really rate Parkinson to me he’s the closest to a Whitelock or Retallick moving forward,but maybe post World Cup he comes into the picture.



  • @bones A starting 6 or a bench cover for 8/6?



  • @akan004 said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @bones A starting 6 or a bench cover for 8/6?

    Bench cover for 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 11, 14.

    As well as head coach, team doctor and general miracle worker, Head physio, head trainer, director of psychology, etc. He'll be stationed below Blake Gibson.



  • How are we tracking?

    Pretty darn good I’d say.

    We’ve lost what 3 or 4 games in the last 4 years?
    Not always playing great rugby, but still winning. Winning ugly I think they call it. Nothing wrong with that, it builds character.
    I tend to think the coaches are really experimenting with different game plans, all the while keeping something tucked up their sleeves for next year.



  • Our main question marks look to be 6, 12 and depth at 8 and lock.

    Wing is a bit of an issue.

    Still time for a bolter or two. I reckon lock is the most likely spot for one.



  • Laulala to start but I'd prefer Tu'ungafasi on the bench rather than him if Franks is still the Hansen's favorite THP.



  • We have a a combative, physical forward pack who will not be dominated and stable scrum & lineout. With those things you are on the shortlist to win the World Cup.

    Unfortunately, comparing the two teams in the first post we no longer have (in order of importance); historically good defence, reliable goal kicking, confidence in the decision making of our 9, confidence in the decision making of our 10 and a stable midfield. Those things make me doubt the ability of this team to grind out a win like the 2011 Final or 2015 semi-final when things are tight.

    The lack of concern (at least publicly) for some of those issues is alarming. The Lions series was an unpalatable result (if Chicago wasn't already) and should have been a major turning point for the side like the '93 Lions test loss, '07 World Cup loss or even '09 season where the coaching staff rung the alarm bells before the EOYT. Instead it seems to be business as usual for the side.

    Hansen (and I guess Fox) are the only two in the whole set up who know what a RWC loss tastes like. Read, Whitelock, SBW and B.Smith have an idea how things were before the hoodoo was lifted. IMO there is a very real chance we make the same mistake we did in '99 where all warning signs were ignored from '98 and things were 'business as usual' after we mopped France etc. Many (including myself) made the mistake of thinking enough of the infrastructure remained from the 95-7 teams to assume '98 was an anomaly - but it wasn't.

    That said, things can change, the '95 and '03 RWC sides were unfathomable 1 year out and those were both good sides. So by no means are we doomed, I just worry the coaching staff have a rosy view of their ability to hit the switch when required.



  • @rotated We have shown our ability to win ugly two times this year against quality committed opposition (SA in Pretoria, and England). As you say we are in the mix, I think we have the quality required to win the cup, and superior depth to any other country. Having said all that, as we observed over the 24 years from 1987 to 2011, it is a difficult competition to win and should not be taken for granted. We fans have been spoiled of late, but should be under no illusions that an AB win will be easy in knock out rugby, one off game and we are on the plane home. Shag knows what he is doing though, and I think the squad is building very well.



  • Big point missing in the posts above is that most of the symptoms described occur at periods in matches where we are trying different things. We are trying to build up a variety of playing systems and the ability to switch them up during matches.
    I think recent games have shown evidence of that where, on the surface, it can look like we changed attitude or focus when, in reality, we made quite big changes like pod systems, width of first phase etc etc.
    I think we made two major change ups in the England game which stopped them scoring for the last hour of the game. We went back to a 13/1/2 defensive system (after the 14/1 version resulted in a manipulated try) and we changed the midfield pods/drives.
    What this means for RWC is that opposition teams will need a variety of analysed attacks and be able to assess which ones to use. England didn't have enough tricks and once they ran out of them the scoreboard got stuck. We have also developed, since 2015, an ability to change up before we need to ie move from plan B to C before the opposition implemented plans against B.
    In some games (Lions Tour) we got this wrong and picked the wrong change but that was lesson learning.
    McCaw was a huge key to the last RWCs because of his ability and leadership through admiration. Read is learning to be the leader we need through on field tactical changes and is hugely important.



  • @canefan said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @rotated We have shown our ability to win ugly two times this year against quality committed opposition (SA in Pretoria, and England).

    I didn't take that away from the last test. Yes they won and it was ugly, but the final 20 minutes did not inspire any confidence that it was a controlled landing. The TJP chargedown and then subsequent effortless march up the field by England are a massive concern.

    They have shown an undeniable resilience and self-belief this season which was a missing piece of the puzzle when the side got punched in the mouth anytime between '99-'03. It makes a huge difference when something inevitably goes against them in three play-off games.

    @canefan said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    @rotated it is a difficult competition to win and should not be taken for granted.

    We underestimate how difficult to win, but overestimate how hard it is to make the final if the cookie crumbles nicely. The key is to not trip over yourself on the way there and this side looks like they are capable of that.



  • Big surprise this year is Hansen sticking with SBW when week in, week out, he's the worst performing player in the Black Jersey.



  • @sparky said in Rugby World Cup 2019 - How are we tracking?:

    Big surprise this year is Hansen sticking with SBW when week in, week out, he's the worst performing player in the Black Jersey.

    They've stuck with Crotty as well and he came right.



  • Firstly, I think we travel better than most other teams. Japan are not good enough that home advantage will get them further than the quarter-finals at best (would require a victory over either Scotland or Ireland in pool play as a minimum). So it will basically be a RWC on genuinely neutral territory, with Ireland probably likely to have the best travelling contingent. The grounds should be fast and dry if I'm not mistaken, no complaints there.

    I think our pack is set in stone, with the exception of 6. We have to hope that Whitelock, and especially Retallick, remain fit. Read too. But we have a lot of decent propping options on both sides of the scrum, and decent hookers, although we can do better than Harris for the 3rd choice.

    In the backs, if things continue as they are, I'm not ruling out TJP as the starting 9 with TTT on the bench. Smith has been pretty average all season. I don't think the selectors are going to do the "Richie 10/BB 15" thing, so it'll be Beauden at 10. You can lock in Rieko at 11, and BFA at either 14 or 15. We see whether the selectors persist with McKenzie at 15, but the back three is still not entirely settled.

    It's somewhat concerning to see that we still can't settle on a midfield. I think you can lock Goodhue into 13, and then hope Crotty and ALB stay fit. Laumape will be there or thereabouts, and despite his age, you can't entirely rule out Nonu. SBW needs a massive Super Rugby season, otherwise I would just leave him out altogether.

    I think this will be the closest RWC ever. Sides like SA & Argentina will freely choose their European stars, France is likely to be better than at present, and the Lions sides will all be there or thereabouts.

    I think the fans who should be the most worried are the Aussies - it's hard to think of any overseas players who could come back and significantly improve their team. They will always be a chance, but they are probably the only main player who seem to be actively regressing.

    I think we will have as good a chance as any other team, but I don't buy any stonewall favourites talk.


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