AB 1st 15



  • So I havent watched a huge amount of NH rugby to know which former ABs or AB eligible players are playing, so I'm probably not best served, but will no doubt spark some peoples interest.

    Looking at the team this year and last, there is that glaring hole at 6, plus tears elsewhere patched together.

    1 - Moody - his RWC form showed he still has it
    2 - Taylor or Coles - not sure any off shore players would go in front
    3 - Laulala - maybe Faumunia cold force his way in?
    4/5 - BBBR & SW - ignoring avilability of them for next year for the purpose of this
    6 - Blindside - Luatua? Vito? Frizzel, Squire, Ardie
    7 - Cane or Ardie
    8 - Ardie or someone else?
    9 Aaron Smith, when on song, his pass is peerless and the rest of his game steps up too, TJP, Webber
    10 - BB, RM, dont think we need to go back to Ioane, Cruden or Sopoaga
    11 - Bridge or Reiko
    12 - ALB, Laumape...?
    13 - Goodhue, ALB...?
    14 - Reece, Jordie?
    15 - BB, Jordie?

    Cupboard certainly bare in some places, but by the same token, despite the continued exodus, are there players putting thier hands up consistently enough to be considered IF we were selecting from all over.



  • 6 Jacobson?
    15/22 DMac?



  • The basics and talent is still there to beat most teams in the world comfortably. Every now and then though we need to identify the extra strong challenges and have the game to hold them off.
    Biggest immediate challenge will obviously be to combat SA twice and England once this year.
    The age old question is whether we have a point of difference playing style that works against them or we take them on in a similar game.
    I am concerned about our back three. I still think that BB is a better 15 than 10 but Mounga is no more than just 'good'. Centres can be sorted OK. A non Foster regime will probably look at Laumape again to provide a bigger threat in close. England's tactic of letting us go wide and stacking those channels will be no good with a really hard runner in the middle of the park. That leaves Goodhue and ALB to chop and change or one to be the regular bencher.
    11, 14 and 15 though? Neither Reece or Bridge excite me in the same way as past wingers have. I don't rate JB on the wing as I get the feeling he always thinks he should be playing elsewhere. The big loss is Ben Smith. We don't have an organising 15 at the moment and I don't see DMac taking that role (even though he spent most of the game against Italy telling JB where to stand 😉 )



  • @Crucial said in AB 1st 15:

    The big loss is Ben Smith. We don't have an organising 15 at the moment and I don't see DMac taking that role

    Is that just perception as he's seen as a flair player? Are his organisational skills at the back underrated?

    I'm just thinking of a case like Piri, until Henry specifically mentioned that he had an actual rugby brain I'd assume most just saw him as a slightly chunky (early career) running halfback.



  • @Nepia said in AB 1st 15:

    @Crucial said in AB 1st 15:

    The big loss is Ben Smith. We don't have an organising 15 at the moment and I don't see DMac taking that role

    Is that just perception as he's seen as a flair player? Are his organisational skills at the back underrated?

    I'm just thinking of a case like Piri, until Henry specifically mentioned that he had an actual rugby brain I'd assume most just saw him as a slightly chunky (early career) running halfback.

    As I said, he did a fair bit of organising in the Italy test. He was like a traffic controller. But he needed to be as JB had to be kept in position.
    But, and this is similar with BB, if they are doing the organising they aren't free to pop up and cause havoc. This was also Mitchell's gripe with Cullen.



  • @taniwharugby If age is a criterium to exclude players like Ben Smith and Crotty, then I'd also exclude Faumuina and Vito, who are both turning 33 (December and March, respectively).

    The problem with doing this whole exercise - again - before Super Rugby is that we don't know how some of the rookies will go. I, for example, have high expectations of someone like Danny Toala, but we don't know whether he'll actually get a chance to play enough at the Canes to show whether he can meet those expectations. I think he's going to be heaps better than someone like Laumape. Also, I'd bring in David Havili for Jordie in a heart beat; nobody will be surprised by that.

    So if this is about former and current ABs only, it's way too limited in my opinion. I'd like to see some Super Rugby first.



  • @Stargazer you know when I was thinking about this, Crotty/ALB was my mid-field and the main reason I put BB at 10 was to put BFA at 15, yet didnt in the opening post...

    Was more that I dont think we will plug holes significantly better if we selected from outside.



  • @taniwharugby said in AB 1st 15:

    Was more that I dont think we will plug holes significantly better if we selected from outside.

    I totally agree with that.



  • @taniwharugby said in AB 1st 15:

    @Stargazer you know when I was thinking about this, Crotty/ALB was my mid-field and the main reason I put BB at 10 was to put BFA at 15, yet didnt in the opening post...

    Was more that I dont think we will plug holes significantly better if we selected from outside.

    Agreed, there’s been plenty of talk about his SA could be dramatically stronger by picking players who are contracted outside SA. For us, there are really only a few positions: Blindside and this year, lock. You could make an argument though that in both cases we had the opportunity to keep the ‘natural’ replacements but missed them through poor selecting and contracting. There is no way we should abandon the ‘playing in NZ’ criteria.

    I’m hoping Alaimalo has a massive year and really focuses on being a Folau-like (as in playing, not preaching) wing. He keeps saying he wants to be a FB but he’s much better on the wing. He could be a massive weapon if it comes together. In fact, with the younger Nahoko boy, I the Chiefs have two of the most dangerous players in the NZ conference.



  • @gt12 said in AB 1st 15:

    In fact, with the younger Nahoko boy, I the Chiefs have two of the most dangerous players in the NZ conference.

    I'm still on the fence regarding Kini Naholo. He's been hyped up in the media for all the tries he scored for Hastings Boys 1st XV, but most of the credit for all those tries should have gone to Toala, Fakatava, and especially McClutchie. Kini was an excellent finisher for Hastings and used many opponents as a speed bump, and he had some defending qualities as well, but he didn't create too much of his own opportunities.

    Unfortunately, injuries have kept him out of the game for Taranaki, so we haven't had too many opportunities too watch him play since his school days and don't know how he has developed since then. Maybe he has improved a lot. I can't wait to watch him play, but - of course - we don't know yet how much game time he'll get in 2020 SR.



  • @Stargazer

    Good point, I should have added a ‘may’ to that statement. I’m really excited about Super rugby this year, I’m just hoping we can also turn up some tough tall forwards - they are getting rarer and rarer.



  • @gt12 said in AB 1st 15:

    @Stargazer

    Good point, I should have added a ‘may’ to that statement. I’m really excited about Super rugby this year, I’m just hoping we can also turn up some tough tall forwards - they are getting rarer and rarer.

    Stevenson is a good player who is underrated ... a back three of Alaimalo (lets face it if he' stayed in Chch he'd probably have played for the ABs three years ago), Stevenson and DMac is as exciting as any out there.



  • @Nepia

    It is! However, Stevenson is also pretty rocks and diamonds at times.

    I like his boot though, it really helps to have him there.



  • @gt12 said in AB 1st 15:

    @Nepia

    It is! However, Stevenson is also pretty rocks and diamonds at times.

    I like his boot though, it really helps to have him there.

    I think he's unfairly maligned and is more diamonds than rocks. He probably suits 15 better than wing but that's not a likely scenario.



  • @Nepia

    I thought he’d move actually as I know we have three guys who want to play 15. I like him though, he’s been great for us at times - I just don’t quite see him being an AB with the same potential as Alaimalo - he’s very James Lowe-y, which isn’t a bad thing at all.



  • Will Jordan - and that is a statement, not a question.



  • @Nepia said in AB 1st 15:

    Stevenson is a good player who is underrated ... a back three of Alaimalo (lets face it if he' stayed in Chch he'd probably have played for the ABs three years ago), Stevenson and DMac is as exciting as any out there.

    When Stevenson was finally selected at the end of this season the back three looked threatening again. Wainui is a decent defender but lacks top-end speed for a winger.

    @gt12 I also prefer Alaimalo on the wing. I can understand why he has been picked at fullback (strong in the air, a decent boot) but my main criticism of him is that he doesn't always back himself to beat defenders, even when running it from deep.



  • @Chris-B said in AB 1st 15:

    Will Jordan - and that is a statement, not a question.

    That's a known unknown though, bet you'd get shit odds on him becoming an AB this year.



  • @gt12 If we were picking a team for an EOYT today, I'd pick him. Even if it was as a playing apprentice.

    He's already good enough and too much upside to ignore.



  • @Chris-B said in AB 1st 15:

    @gt12 If we were picking a team for an EOYT today, I'd pick him. Even if it was as a playing apprentice.

    He's already good enough and too much upside to ignore.

    Is he good enough like JB was good enough?

    Just being cautious ....



  • @Chris-B As a fullback? In the Waikato-Tasman game Jordan got badly exposed on defence (twice) on the right wing.



  • @Nepia Assuming that he will only debut at earliest in June of next year - he'll already be two years older than Jordie when he made his debut.

    Arguably if Will hadn't got hurt during he Super season, Sevu Reece wouldn't have got enough opportunities to press his case and could easily have been Jordan and Ennor in the mid year ABs.

    Any later for Will and we're starting to waste his speed.



  • @Bovidae Wing or fullback.

    I think that was the Tasman defensive system got exposed by Waikato - rushing up and in.



  • @Bovidae

    Agreed, for whatever reason he didn’t beat many men playing from 15 but looked like a new player when on the wing.

    He’s an ideal type for an AB wing - fast, tall, can beat a man, is good in the air, has a boot, and isn’t named Jordie Barrett.



  • @taniwharugby
    If you were watching La Rochelle, you would see that Vito is past it. I hope for him and his team this is just a problem of fitness.
    12. I can't wait to see what Nankivell could do. He has developed very quickly this year and could be a bolter for the ABs.



  • @cgrant said in AB 1st 15:

    @taniwharugby
    If you were watching La Rochelle, you would see that Vito is past it. I hope for him and his team this is just a problem of fitness.
    12. I can't wait to see what Nankivell could do. He has developed very quickly this year and could be a bolter for the ABs.

    You really dislike the current midfield eh? 😁



  • Yes, I think Goodhue and ALB are too similar, ALB being faster though. The ABs need more penetration in midfield in order to nullify their opponents' rush defence.



  • @cgrant said in AB 1st 15:

    Yes, I think Goodhue and ALB are too similar, ALB being faster though. The ABs need more penetration in midfield in order to nullify their opponents' rush defence.

    It is time for Laumape to put up or shut up in this regard. And time for a new coach to give him a chance to prove he can be our next battering ram


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