Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,



  • Or, losing still sucks.
    Hang on, we didn’t lose, we were beaten, soundly.
    So, in reality, getting beaten sucks

    Yes sports fans, we’re getting set to watch a match nobody wants to play in, and nobody really wants to watch. Yup, that dreaded losers playoff for Bronze.
    What makes it potentially worse, is that the Welsh almost have more to play for than the All Blacks. Sixty-seven years of history. A lot of the Welsh players Grandfathers will not even be able to remember beating the All Blacks. The All Blacks on the other hand, will hopefully pull themselves out of the black hole of a thumping, and win one for the old fellas getting their final runs.

    But I’m not here to write a preview, my keyboard is rusty, and I’ve forgotten how. But on their last two efforts, Wales just seem to wait around and try to not lose, as opposed to trying to win. They went within five minutes of not losing to the Boers, and didn’t lose to 14 man French mob in the quarter final.

    I am digressing though, as jetlagged former front rowers are prone to do after being awake for 36 odd hours. Currently with the attention span of a retarded gnat, I’ll just roll out some random thoughts….

    From an English fan about the All Blacks after they spanked the Paddies, “Geez, they’ll be hard to beat”. Which was, word for word what I said to the good wife after watching the Poms spank the Aussies. Unfortunately, my statement was right! Who will be harder to beat come Saturday night I wonder? I think England have more firepower on attack, but will the Boers let them use it?

    I think the Boers should be accused of cheating. They have two complete tight fives in their match day squads. I’m sure that should be cheating, and it must be tough going 80 minutes when with 30 to go you’re all of a sudden battling 5 fresh behemoths weighing a combined 600 kilos. Jeez I’m jealous! Trench warfare at its best, and England are probably the best equipped team in the world to combat that.

    Aaron Wainwright, the Welsh 6 with the neck of steal after that Froggy elbow jolt look to be a direct descendant of George Roper from the 1970s British Comedy George and Mildred. And then the French fullback looked like a JPR Williams clone with those great mutton chops.

    Two disallowed tries in out semi loss to England, the score could have been 33-7, (I know play restarts from halfway after a try etc), but we were soundly beaten weren’t we. No running out of time in this game, after the first 40, we were never winning.

    Let’s not get too downhearted on the All Black loss though, take it as a compliment for extended years of excellence. “What”, you say?

    Well let me tell you a little story. I used to mountain bike a lot back in the day, and coming back from the hills around Whanga, once we hit the road, there would always be a race. My mate Bam would always win. Just fitter and stronger than the rest of us. We’d try different things to beat him, start the sprint as soon as we hit the tar-seal, leave it late, attack through the roundabout and hope you don’t die, you name it, we’d try it.

    Every now and then one of us would have a win, but the next time the tactic wouldn’t work, Bam had it covered, and it would be a race for silver again. We chased Bam for 5 years, I remember beating him once, by the width of a tire, only because I was on a downward pump of the pedal as we hit out finish line, and Bam wasn’t. A bit like the bounce of a ball really, in rugby terms!

    Actually, I think he probably only lost 2 or 3 times in total, but to the point, it reminds me of the All Blacks and the chasing pack. Bam always trying to stay ahead of the chasing pack, and the pack always trying different things to beat him, Bam was like the All Blacks with the target on his back as he was the best, always adapting and learning and keeping ahead.

    The thing is, we all got really fit, and all got really good at mountain biking, and it lifted our skill levels and fitness. This is what the all Blacks have been forcing the rest of the world to do since when, well, almost forever really, but certainly for the last 8 years since 2011!

    The All Blacks have been getting caught and beaten a bit more often over the last couple of years, so time for new things. Hopefully not too much pain before some new tactics are bedded in and we break free from the chasing pack again, and take the lead again. I mean Luigi trained his English team for 4 years to beat the All Blacks, not to win an World Cup, but to beat the All Blacks, that a tip of the cap no matter how you look at it.

    I digress, more random thoughts – Brodie Retallick probably one match short of a gallop, that Italian cancellation probably hurt us more than we think.

    Why put Scott Barrett in the starting XV, then NOT attack the first few English lineout throws….? Hello?

    Complete new broom for All Black coaching staff or not? Vern Cotter still get my vote. If he can, with Joe Schmidt by his side, take the 2004 Bay of Plenty side to a Shield win, then imagine what he could do with a few decent players….

    We need more beef on the paddock, our props need to physically, as well as skills wise and technique wise, outplay their opposites. Atu Moli sized beasts please. On props, where were all the big runs that Owen Franks wasn’t doing, done? Laulala was a Franks clone, no big bursts with ball in hand, steady in the scrum, made tackles. Lost 100 caps experience, gained….??

    OK, more ordered thoughts next time I fire up the ole Commodore 64.



  • @BartMan Great writeup, great to see an old prop firing up the Commodore for a blast from the past.

    I need to go back and watch the game again (probably aftre it's all done and dusted), but the lack of ball carrying was noticeable. We just got smashed over and over again, and read our passing between pods like a book.



  • @BartMan said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    We need more beef on the paddock, our props need to physically, as well as skills wise and technique wise, outplay their opposites. Atu Moli sized beasts please. On props, where were all the big runs that Owen Franks wasn’t doing, done? Laulala was a Franks clone, no big bursts with ball in hand, steady in the scrum, made tackles. Lost 100 caps experience, gained….??

    The coaches kept talking about mobility. I guess they got that from some of the props.

    A guy that would have been useful is Charlie Faumuina. He's a better scrummager than most of the newer players. His workrate is as good as any prop.
    No none comes close to his impact in general play though.

    He's 32 now. He would have been in his propping prime

    I hope NZR did everything in their power to keep him. We invested in the development but didn't fully get the reward.. he left just as he should've been over taking Franks



  • @Duluth The same could be said about Afoa in the 2011-15 cycle. Money talks.



  • @Bovidae

    Yeah Afoa was incredible in the second half of his career

    Money is obviously a huge factor but I wonder if Charlie would have stayed if he was getting more starts?

    The problem with Franks is they never could use him on the bench. He was a starter or nothing. So Faumuina didn't get starts, despite being the better player for that last year of his NZ career



  • @Duluth said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @Bovidae

    Yeah Afoa was incredible in the second half of his career

    Money is obviously a huge factor but I wonder if Charlie would have stayed if he was getting more starts?

    The problem with Franks is they never could use him on the bench. He was a starter or nothing. So Faumuina didn't get starts, despite being the better player for that last year of his NZ career

    This is an excellent point - had we invested in Charlie and started moving Franks out, we might have been in a much better position for this WC. I'll admit that the Lions kind of messed thins up, as players stuck around and the coaches stayed loyal. So, Kaino got kept around then moved on without a clear replacement being groomed - perhaps actually because he stuck around the replacement moved on. Same for Charlie.



  • @gt12 said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    Kaino got kept around then moved on without a clear replacement being groomed

    not for want of trying. Squire and Fifita were given every chance. The problem was we tried to replace arguably our best ever with the same player. That's not easy.



  • @gt12 Kaino got kept around because there was no one close to him, even in his twilight years (arguably the only player close was Messam ... that will be 🎣 for some poster son here, but he was actually bloody good when Kaino was on his break). There was no point moving him on for an inferior player.



  • @mariner4life

    fair point on Squire. The Fifita selection was persisted with too long though.



  • We have to remember that Kaino matured into the role. The eternal hope is you find someone with the same attributes and they do the same.



  • @antipodean said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    We have to remember that Kaino matured into the role. The eternal hope is you find someone with the same attributes and they do the same.

    which i assume the hope with Fifita is/was



  • @nzzp but our ball carriers were taking the ball 2m behind the gainline and getting stopped there...whereas the week before our forwards were taking the ball flat on the gainline, but Eddie was ready for us.



  • @taniwharugby said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @nzzp but our ball carriers were taking the ball 2m behind the gainline and getting stopped there...whereas the week before our forwards were taking the ball flat on the gainline, but Eddie was ready for us.

    Front foot begets front foot...



  • @pakman said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @taniwharugby said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @nzzp but our ball carriers were taking the ball 2m behind the gainline and getting stopped there...whereas the week before our forwards were taking the ball flat on the gainline, but Eddie was ready for us.

    Front foot begets front foot...

    We were deliberately passing deep behind the gainline (as @taniwharugby discussed earlier in the thread, or another thread) so we were never going to get front foot ball.

    Even if we had identified it as way to beat the English defence before the game, during the game we should have adjusted it.



  • @Nepia said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @pakman said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @taniwharugby said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    @nzzp but our ball carriers were taking the ball 2m behind the gainline and getting stopped there...whereas the week before our forwards were taking the ball flat on the gainline, but Eddie was ready for us.

    Front foot begets front foot...

    We were deliberately passing deep behind the gainline (as @taniwharugby discussed earlier in the thread, or another thread) so we were never going to get front foot ball.

    Even if we had identified it as way to beat the English defence before the game, during the game we should have adjusted it.

    I suspect the passing back idea is on basis of theory it then allows multiple options for interpassing to confuse/put doubt into the rush.

    However, I find it hard to accept that we should do that off bad ball. To my mind pick and go or run close in and thereby commit defenders and then do it. Of course that also requires quick and robust clean outs, which without seeing the tape I can only imagine we struggled with.



  • @pakman said in Muddled thoughts of a concussed prop,:

    I suspect the passing back idea is on basis of theory it then allows multiple options for interpassing to confuse/put doubt into the rush.

    odd thing was, it was at odds to how we played vs Ireland and thier rush defence...plus, Eddie had his team all on the same page, and seemingly, on the same page as our team too, they hit us perfectly behind the gainline so often, it was like he had our play book...

    alt text



  • @BartMan @nzzp I always wished I had a C-64. I unfortunately was saddled with a C-16, that beast the pre-dated the Vic20. The one where you chucked in a cassette tape, hit play, went outside to play sport for 20mins, came back in and typed "*16&"load"-run" or some shit, then had another 20mins outside to shoot hoops or kick the footie. When it was finally ready to play you got bored of it in about 12mins because it was so shite.

    No wonder I never developed a love for video games.



  • Muddled. Concussed. Prop.

    Tautology in extremis. Good write up though 😀



  • The playing too wide off the ruck and getting always hit behind the advantage line has already been covered in detail here,but it just seems to me the forwards weren't fully recovered from the previous week and weren't recovered mentally and physically for the onslaught. With the benefit of hindsight,the game was won by halftime against Ireland,perhaps even earlier subs in that game would of kept a bit of energy in the tank for the next bigger challenge. Some of our forwards aren't young bucks and gave a flat performance.

    Eddie had us sussed.


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