Nonu



  • Probably don't really need a new thread for this but I need to announce my Man love for him.
    He is the complete second five now and he has had a extended time at the peak.
    I used to be a bit of a hater earlier in his career but now he has matured to having the Smarts of Conrad Smith, the skill of Dan Carter and the power of a bloody powerful thing.
    Epitomized when he set up that try on the weekend. Looked to straighten after going across field and then held on for that extra split second before offloading. He wouldn't have set that up 6+ years ago.
    So so much vision and is easily my favorite back at the moment.



  • Agree. I wondered when he was subbed so early on that there was an element of 'saving him for the final' going on or if it is more a case of giving him the mandate to go full tit for 60 minutes and drain the tank before bringing on SBW. 
     
    You'd have to think that the 10/12 avenue for Australia will be a part of the plans this week. If Australia try the same rush defence that they did against Argentina then running Nonu or Savea straight at the shoulders with backup for an offload could reap linebreaks.



  • Agree. I wondered when he was subbed so early on that there was an element of 'saving him for the final' going on or if it is more a case of giving him the mandate to go full tit for 60 minutes and drain the tank before bringing on SBW. 
     
    You'd have to think that the 10/12 avenue for Australia will be a part of the plans this week. If Australia try the same rush defence that they did against Argentina then running Nonu or Savea straight at the shoulders with backup for an offload could reap linebreaks.

    We missed Nonu hugely in the Sydney test. SBW was terrible, albeit he was apparently injured early on. Nonu is key against Aus for getting us over the gainline.



  • It's pretty easy to pidgeon hole him as a hard runner with limited subtlety but that's doing him a massive disservice particularly in his later years.
    Having seen him running up some of Wellys nastiest hills and looking like he's about to keel over at any moment I can assure the fern he must work his arse off to get in the shape that he does and the work he has done on his skills in the last few years is clearly evident.



  • Yeah Nonu is one of a kind - who quite easily can get overlooked with the focus on Carter and McCaw. Nonu is right up there as the best All Black number 12 of all time.
     
    The transformation and growth from 2007 missing the RWC squad to the player he is today is quite something - I'm not sure I can pinpoint another player who has developed their skills during their career and grown as a player as much as Nonu has. It is almost hard to believe it is the same player.



  • one thing about him this year is he's certainly looking in good nick body wise - looks trim as fark. got a little more edge around him.
     
    Certainly not on the decline like you'd say Conrad is



  • If you ever doubt how much the jersey means to the guy well watch this (probably all seen it before)....shows how much he's matured imo.
     



  • one thing about him this year is he's certainly looking in good nick body wise - looks trim as fark. got a little more edge around him.
    Certainly not on the decline like you'd say Conrad is

    Yeah agree. I think it was the year he played for the Blues or Landers he looked a little chunky and his quick acceleration that he has always relied on was down.
    He's in great nick now.
    In the lead up to the France game, I said him and Dan were the keys. If they play well we win big. Both had stand out games.
    I think it will be the same against OZ.
    On him being subbed, I just thought it was about providing something different. Against France Snakey went off and against Boks it was Rock. There definitely was no "saving him" thoughts I'd suggest. The game was in the balance.



  • Saw Nonu play live for first time this year. I was blown away. The guy is a BEAST. He's a ridiculous combination of size, strength, agility and skill. His passing is arguably the best in the game.
    The best 12 I've ever seen.



  • Serious question: Will he go down in AB folklore as a better player than his hero Tana Umaga?
    Tana obviously had the captaincy in his favour but as a player the argument can be made than Ma'a edges him.



  • Tana was a wing/13...
     
    Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, BOOM!
     
    Says it all really! Legend!



  • Agree with all the above comments. I remember when he first came onto the scene, complete with eyeliner and everything.
    He was quite one dimenstional back then, crash and bash and not much else from recollection.
    I remember when he started kicking the ball and we were all like "hey what gives? Nonu can kick?". It wasnt all good to begin with, but it got better and better. 
    And then he honed his ability to straighten, draw players and create space for those outside him.
    I never would have thought he would become the player he is today, so dramatic has his transformation been.
    Big boots to fill.



  • Serious question: Will he go down in AB folklore as a better player than his hero Tana Umaga?
    Tana obviously had the captaincy in his favour but as a player the argument can be made than Ma'a edges him.In my book yes.
    Captaincy aside, onfield influence is a push. Nonu edges him in terms of wider skill set, one (hopefully soon to be two) RWC winners medals and his durability. Tana dropped off badly and would have been dropped if he didn't quit imho. You could argue Nonu has never played better than right now



  • Tana was a wing/13...
     
    Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, BOOM!
     
    Says it all really! Legend!

    You'll go a long way to find analysis that's more insightful and erudite than that.....



  • Serious question: Will he go down in AB folklore as a better player than his hero Tana Umaga?
    Tana obviously had the captaincy in his favour but as a player the argument can be made than Ma'a edges him.

    I think Tana retired about two years too early which may have hindered his greatness credentials (I didn't notice a marked drop off in form from Tana, not at test level at least). It is worth noting though that they did a book of 100 greatest ABs when Tana was still playing and I think he made the top 25.
     
    Ma'a has definitely secured his place in history though. Although, after watching some 2003 RWC highlights I do wonder if his late development as a 'rounded' player was due to coaching styles etc than Nonu himself. On a number of occasions in the highlights of his few minutes on the field he'd make a break and then throw a good pass. Maybe it was always there but he spent too much time as a battering ram wing and centre which didn't allow full use of his skills.
     
    Ma'a and SBW are funny together at the end of that AB/Adidas doco.



  • You'll go a long way to find analysis that's more insightful and erudite than that.....

    here, check these out and let the big kids talk



  • Smoney Bill Who?



  • Smoney Bill Who?He's Subbie Bill Williams to you 😉



  • If you had have told me when Mauger and McAlister announced they were leaving during the RWC that their replacement was already a fixture in NZ rugby, would play 100 tests and would be better than both of them combined I would have had no idea who it was. Certainly wouldn't have guessed Nonu.



  • here, check these out and let the big kids talk
    How many ABs you seen running round Whangarei lately ?
    Those chin ups have really paid off though bro



  • Serious question: Will he go down in AB folklore as a better player than his hero Tana Umaga?
    Tana obviously had the captaincy in his favour but as a player the argument can be made than Ma'a edges him.

    In folklore Tana probably goes down as the greater character due to the captaincy, the O'Driscoll incident and aftermath, Grand Slam and the cheerleader effect with Cullen and Lomu.
     
    Tana has always been the toughest All Black to evaluate for me. It's always tough to find players historically or currently with a similar resume.
     
    I don't ever think Tana was the best outside back in the team, nor was he the conclusively the best player in the world in his position. Nonu was both at times. For me Nonu was the better player by a decent margin. The fact he not only kept SBW out of the team, but he was never genuinely threatened for the position speaks volumes to his ability.



  • Tana did genuinely excel in two positions which is a string to the bow.....



  • Tana did genuinely excel in two positions which is a string to the bow.....

    Did he? I thought he was an okay centre/2nd 5, but nothing like what he showed as a winger. Despite being in there with Lomu and Cullen, he was IMO in his own right a world class winger.



  • Tana the better defender



  • Tana did genuinely excel in two positions which is a string to the bow.....And as captain he had a crucial role in helping the new GH cartel gain widespread acceptance IIRC



  • He was up there as a centre but memory might be blurred and perhaps taking his mana, leadership etc too much into account.



  • As a centre can you genuinely say he was a head above his contemporaries like Mortlock, O'Driscoll & Fleck? You wouldn't fault anyone for having that quartet in any particular order.



  • As a centre can you genuinely say he was a head above his contemporaries like Mortlock, O'Driscoll & Fleck? You wouldn't fault anyone for having that quarter in any particular order.

    I guess Nonu stands alone at 12 although cases can be made for Giteau, Roberts and Fofana and young fellas like Henshaw and De Allende look the goods for the future too.



  • In folklore Tana probably goes down as the greater character due to the captaincy, the O'Driscoll incident and aftermath, Grand Slam and the cheerleader effect with Cullen and Lomu.
     
    Tana has always been the toughest All Black to evaluate for me. It's always tough to find players historically or currently with a similar resume.
     
    I don't ever think Tana was the best outside back in the team, nor was he the conclusively the best player in the world in his position. Nonu was both at times. For me Nonu was the better player by a decent margin. The fact he not only kept SBW out of the team, but he was never genuinely threatened for the position speaks volumes to his ability.

    I think he was the form outside back through most of 1999. I guess that means best. But when you consider that Cullen, Wilson and Lomu were contenders for best outside back in the world during that era then the fact that Tana was up there speaks volumes to his abilities.
     
    I think Tana's value as a 13 is underestimated. He turned what was a poor area for the ABs after Bunce's departure to one of strength. I think he's underrated as a centre in part because of Smith's longevity in the role.

    As a centre can you genuinely say he was a head above his contemporaries like Mortlock, O'Driscoll & Fleck? You wouldn't fault anyone for having that quarter in any particular order.

    Above Fleck, easily comparable with Mortlock and at times better than BoD. But as you note, that's a strong list so it's no shame not to be top of it. 
     
    At any rate, I love Nonu, he's awesome, and how lucky was it for him that McAlister and Mauger buggered off when they did - either one of those two stay and he might have had a 20 test AB career.



  • Tana the better defender

    No way. Nonu is a fucking ace defender - his workrate on defence is phenomenal these days. Tana better at turnovers, but Nonu's accuracy and ability to read the play combined with his determination to keep knocking bodies easily puts him above most.



  • No way. Nonu is a fucking ace defender - his workrate on defence is phenomenal these days. Tana better at turnovers, but Nonu's accuracy and ability to read the play combined with his determination to keep knocking bodies easily puts him above most.
    Nah, too many times he has been caught on bad reads for mine. Smith's organisation vital to Nonu's defense. Don't get me wrong, I love nonu and can be convinced to vote for him in the better player award - but not better defender.



  • Nah, too many times he has been caught on bad reads for mine. Smith's organisation vital to Nonu's defense. Don't get me wrong, I love nonu and can be convinced to vote for him in the better player award - but not better defender.

    Ahhh....you're from Wainui huh? 🙂



  • I cant believe what a great player Nonu has become , 
     
    I can remember not wanting him near the black jersey , and now he is one of my all time favourite players , 
     
    If i was picking my all time best AB team in my time watching , he is playing 12 .



  • No way. Nonu is a fucking ace defender - his workrate on defence is phenomenal these days. Tana better at turnovers, but Nonu's accuracy and ability to read the play combined with his determination to keep knocking bodies easily puts him above most.

    Over their entire careers Umaga shades Nonu for me.  Nonu's biggest weakness has always been coming out of the defensive line too early and often missing his man.  He doesn't do this much anymore (experience) and has become an excellent defender.  The defensive responsibilities of a 12 vs 13 are quite different so it's hard to make a direct comparison.
     
    I wrote this before reading Voodoo's post.



  • I thought Tana was more of a warrior in defense , and i tend to agree defending at 13 is a bit more complex , but Nonu is fine , some issues earlier in his career with reads when he played mostly  13 , but solid as a rock now , 
     
    As  attacking midfield players , i think nonu is far more intimidating to the opposition



  • Easily the best ASB 12 I've seen. Complete package, passes beautifully, kicks well, strong, fast.
     
    I don't have any issue "hating" on him early on. He was poor 2003-2007. Big & fast but terrible decision makling, bad handling, lacked accuracy, couldn't distribute. Not rating him then isn't "hating" him, its looking at a player & accurately judging they need to do better. Which he did. People often talk about coming round to liking a player. I haven't come round to liking Nonu, he matured into the best 12 in NZ history. To imply he was always outstanding people just missed it ignores the enoromous amount of work the guy did to get there. Far too many players - especially big fast ones - never develop, they think they are the finished product. Nonu clearly worked like a madman (esp. post 2007) to get where he is.
     
    Re Umaga. As others have said, there's a lot "non rugby" stuff there when analysising him. He is outstanding on camera, hugely likable, has the whole warm fluffy 1st Samoan captain thing going on, was seen as the guy steadying the ship at a tricky time (bit like Piri in 2011, only for longer) it forms a bit of a halo.
     
    Agree he was a better wing than a centre, just got unlucky with his timing. Very, very good centre but his long flat distributing to either side was missing, great short passing game, but he lacked the ability to consistently throw flat skips the way Nonu does. Also he lost a lot of pace late on, towards the end he was easier to defend against as he only really had the step inside as the burn on the outside option was gone. Nonu has retained the outside pace. As did O'Driscoll. And thats priceless in a centre.
     
    On Nonus defence. He misses a lot of inside shoulder tackles. As Wayne Smith noted a while back, that's not neccesarily bad. It looks bad on a stats sheet, but from a team point of view its actually a positive.



  • nonu is a shitloads better midfielder than tana ever was. tana was a great footy player, but not a great midfielder - more a guy you need on the field, somewhere.
    on his defence, nonu does miss tackles, but they are almost never costly. they are typically tackles where he gets up quick, closes the outside attacking option down, and generally clips a guy slowing him down but falling off on his outside so he is a sitting duck for the cover. a missed tackle statistically, but a prevented attacking opportunity.
     
    a complete player. it's got to be fucking depressing for all the smaller, supposedly skillful / vision / distributing '2nd 10' type 12s when this massive brick shithouse does all the things you're meant to be good at better than you, while still being able to pick you up by your ankles and shake the lunch money out of your pockets.



  • Can't seem to quote you or use any emoticons Bones, but there would have been a smiley at the end of this...the answer is Palmy, dunno if that's better or worse than Wainui!!!



  • nonu is a shitloads better midfielder than tana ever was. tana was a great footy player, but not a great midfielder - more a guy you need on the field, somewhere.
    on his defence, nonu does miss tackles, but they are almost never costly. they are typically tackles where he gets up quick, closes the outside attacking option down, and generally clips a guy slowing him down but falling off on his outside so he is a sitting duck for the cover. a missed tackle statistically, but a prevented attacking opportunity.
     
    a complete player. it's got to be fucking depressing for all the smaller, supposedly skillful / vision / distributing '2nd 10' type 12s when this massive brick shithouse does all the things you're meant to be good at better than you, while still being able to pick you up by your ankles and shake the lunch money out of your pockets.

    Absolute gold, sums it up perfectly



  • That 2004 test vs the Boks in Saffaland when Marius Joubert scored a hatrick running through, around and over Tana sort of exposed Tana's defensive frailties as a centre.
    I always felt far more comfortable when Snakey came in and shored up the defence at centre. Not a slight on Tana as an overall footy player and his mana, but I liked him on the wing better.


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