NZers playing in Europe : which ones would you welcome back ?



  • All of them, of course. But which ones more than the others ?

    Daniel Carter : he would marshalled the Blues backline with the control it is cruelly missing.
    Or Nick Evans : his tactical kicking and control would be a precious gift to the Blues.
    Colin Slade : Richard Mo'unga is OK but Slade is a better goal kicker. He has greater experience too. Could be shifted to the Landers too an injury cover for Sopoaga and B. Smith if needed.
    John Afoa : he would struggle to take Charlie Faumuina's jersey but he would be useful to anchor the Chiefs scrum.
    Jason Eaton : he is having a great season in the Top 14 for La Rochelle. As the Canes stock of locks is rather depleted, he could be a welcome addition.
    Luke Braid : With Gibson out for seven weeks, he could fill the vacancy with ease.
    Conrad Smith : The Canes haven't found his replacement yet.
    Ma'a Nonu : Laumape is developping well so I would bring him back to the Blues.
    Charles Piutau : anywhere in the Blues backline.



  • Koula Tukino ? even in his late 30s there's still time for him to be the devastating hard running 6/8 that would give the ABs some great go forward/x factor.



  • We definitely have a gap at 8 if Reado gets injured so I hope Hayman returns soon.



  • We definitely have a gap at 8 if Reado gets injured so I hope Hayman returns soon.

    If I'd read that a microsecond earlier my screen would be covered in fresh brewed IPA......outstanding.



  • Jeremy thrush and Ben franks I'm sure would be a good addition to the blues
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  • None of them. They each provide opportunities for younger, AB hungrier players to have a crack.



  • Blues backline - Carter, Nonu, Smith, Piatau, Halai, Evans
     
    Hell, at 10 alone for the Blues - Carter, Evans, Gopeth (don't laugh he's been superb), Taylor, Ben Botica (does he count? Was he ever in NZ?)



  • In seriousness I'm with MR - none of them. They are all either retired from the ABs after giving their best years, or not good enough to be regular ABs (and I don't care how "superb" they look playing in the NH now).
    We have more then enough FABs coming through the ranks.
    Edit - after reading your post more carefully I see you are talking about Super sides. Some of them would be good in a mentoring role for younger players, though as MR says they would also be taking up spots in those sides and blocking younger players from regular game time. So not fussed either way, it's not like the NZ teams are struggling at the moment.



  • I could count the number of players who've gone off to Europe, come back and played well on one hand, so while I'd like to see a few players come back just because I'm a fan of them (DC, Nonu and Conrad especially), I can't say I'm too fussed either.



  • Blues backline - Carter, Nonu, Smith, Piatau, Halai, Evans
     
    Hell, at 10 alone for the Blues - Carter, Evans, Gopeth (don't laugh he's been superb), Taylor, Ben Botica (does he count? Was he ever in NZ?)

    Botica went to Westlake, played for NZ Secondary Schools, and represented North Harbour in the NPC.



  • Bundee Aki would be worth having back. Better than the current Canes midfielders or would be a good partner for Ngatai.



  • Carter, Slade, Taylor, Scott Hamilton.



  • NPC would have em all back in a heart beat, in fact, we could probably have the Heartland teams as strong as current NPC teams...as to the next levels up, am sure a few would step up



  • In seriousness I'm with MR - none of them. They are all either retired from the ABs after giving their best years, or not good enough to be regular ABs (and I don't care how "superb" they look playing in the NH now).
    We have more then enough FABs coming through the ranks.
    Edit - after reading your post more carefully I see you are talking about Super sides. Some of them would be good in a mentoring role for younger players, though as MR says they would also be taking up spots in those sides and blocking younger players from regular game time. So not fussed either way, it's not like the NZ teams are struggling at the moment.

    Funnily enough, I was just about to update my post.  I'd actually welcome all of them back.  But I wouldn't say I'd want or ask them.



  • Would welcome them all back. As noted it would make the Super and NPC/Mitre10/ITMC thingame that much stronger.
    Whilst as MR suggests some younger players may be blocked for bit they'd just have to battle that much harder to knock off the old bulls.



  • None of them. They each provide opportunities for younger, AB hungrier players to have a crack.

    Yes, maybe. But I'd prefer Colin Slade to Ben Volavola in the Crusaders squad, or John Afoa to Yamashita ...



  • Really just the ones that went really early. It's hard to tell sometimes with raw talent and when and if they can put it together. There was a point where guys like Naholo, Fekitoa, Coles, Sopaga would have all been waived off without a thought that they would ever make the ABs let alone contribute.
    In 2007 when Nonu was being courted by Wests Tigers general consensus would be he would be no great loss. A fringe AB with raw talent but too ill disciplined and would not fit the mould of an AB midfielder. Ditto Smith who was rangey third string centre who looked to be a perennial dirty dirty...
    Without that midfield the past 8 years is very, very different.
    Simply put losing any guys with exceptional talent (even if they have some pretty major flaws) I back with the coaching talent we have in the NZ system to be able to polish them up to test standard more often than not.
    Aki, Halai, Piatau, Taylor for me. Fritz Lee was there a few years ago but too old now. As others have said any tenured AB is too burnt out to be of much use coming back including DC.



  • Colin Slade.  Not for the ABs.  But he'd help the Blues no end.  Bundee Aki.  Ditto but for the Canes.  Charles Piutau - although once again we seem to have enough back 3 talent, not sure if he'd get a starting spot, especially once NMS is back.
     
    The last time I really missed overseas players was post 2007 when Hayman & Evans disappeared.  I think the NZRFU has done a fantastic job of retaining the players that matter.  And the new pay deal will help even more.  I mean it's a good sign when the likes of Tuipolotou go straight for 4 year deals.



  • Unsure about how they're playing now but Sona Taumalolo and, to a lesser extent, Ben Tameifuna would have been good to have at the Chiefs due to the propping injuries. Sona's getting on but he could have a swansong with the Chiefs.
     
    Could have got another season out of Craig Clarke and Aled De Malmanche at the time. Lelia Masaga was fun to watch at Super level but happy with the current options.
     
    Only players overseas that I would want back are Charles Piutau and Tim Nanai-Williams.
     
    Slightly off topic but other players I wish stuck around longer: Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sione Lauaki, Sam Tuitupou, Rua Tipoki....I know they were on the decline when they left but I loved watching them.
     
    Won't begrudge a player for heading to a greener paddock and I'm amazed how we seem to replace these guys.



  • Players come and go in what is a global market. No point wondering what if now.
    In saying that, there are a few players that I thought left "too early":
    Luke McAlister, Angus MacDonald, Charles Piutau, Andrew Blowers, Carl Hayman.



  • Which Paterson was it on the cusp, James?



  • Which Paterson was it on the cusp, James?

    the taller one



  • Michael Paterson. Was a very good 6.
     
    One and done for England.
    It doesn't half look cynical considering he was also eligible for Wales.
    Did England cap him just to reduce Wales' player pool?



  • None of them. They each provide opportunities for younger, AB hungrier players to have a crack.

    If we still had the ITM Cup, I would want all of them back. They would all be needed for depth. As it is, we only have 5 teams and we need to give our younger players a pathway. If Jimmy Gopperth, Luke McAlister and Nick Evans had all stayed in New Zealand then how would have Cruden, Sopoaga and Barrett got a chance? I'm sure they would have eventually but it would have been more difficult and maybe one of those 3 would already be overseas. Losing players overseas who are good but never going to be All Blacks isn't a bad thing as long as we have enough experience.



  • Unsure about how they're playing now but Sona Taumalolo and, to a lesser extent, Ben Tameifuna would have been good to have at the Chiefs due to the propping injuries. Sona's getting on but he could have a swansong with the Chiefs.
     
    Could have got another season out of Craig Clarke and Aled De Malmanche at the time. Lelia Masaga was fun to watch at Super level but happy with the current options.
     
    Only players overseas that I would want back are Charles Piutau and Tim Nanai-Williams.
     
    Slightly off topic but other players I wish stuck around longer: Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sione Lauaki, Sam Tuitupou, Rua Tipoki....I know they were on the decline when they left but I loved watching them.
     
    Won't begrudge a player for heading to a greener paddock and I'm amazed how we seem to replace these guys.

    Rua Tipoki was bad news.



  • If we still had the ITM Cup,

    Explain.



  • If we still had the ITM Cup, I would want all of them back. They would all be needed for depth. As it is, we only have 5 teams and we need to give our younger players a pathway. If Jimmy Gopperth, Luke McAlister and Nick Evans had all stayed in New Zealand then how would have Cruden, Sopoaga and Barrett got a chance? I'm sure they would have eventually but it would have been more difficult and maybe one of those 3 would already be overseas. Losing players overseas who are good but never going to be All Blacks isn't a bad thing as long as we have enough experience.

    I doubt it would be any different, Cruden would have jumped Gopperth in no time, Lucky would have been at 12 and we'd be talking about how Ma'a was carving up in the North but wasn't actually that good, Sopoaga would still be with the Highlanders and Barrett would taken Cruden's spot when he went to the Chiefs, meanwhile Evans would have been mentoring the Blues super sub Ihaia West.
     
    But Ben T would be the one I'd welcome back, especially for the Chiefs, for the Magpies if the coach could get over himself, and for the ABs as the whining about how fat he is would be classic - Savea would slim down too as there'd be less food on the breakfast buffet.



  • No love for Tommy the Tank Waldrom? Top try scorer in the English premiership last year and leading scorer this year - Toot Toot.
     
    John Hardie has been going very well up here - he stands a very good chance of playing in New Zealand next year would you believe?
    Nasi Manu has been crocked almost all season so we haven't seen too much of him at Edinburgh, Burleigh has been playing out of position at 10 because we thought it would be great to embark on a season without a fly half - we wouldn't want to make it too easy.



  • No love for Tommy the Tank Waldrom? Top try scorer in the English premiership last year and leading scorer this year - Toot Toot.
     
    John Hardie has been going very well up here - he stands a very good chance of playing in New Zealand next year would you believe?
    Nasi Manu has been crocked almost all season so we haven't seen too much of him at Edinburgh, Burleigh has been playing out of position at 10 because we thought it would be great to embark on a season without a fly half - we wouldn't want to make it too easy.

    I would believe that - Hardie is a quality player and would not have let anyone down in black, he just happened to be behind about 5 other guys at the time. I always rated him very highly.


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