It's out of thread but I'd like to inform that Luke Braid is leaving Bordeaux and is coming back to NZ for personal reasons.
Posts made by cgrant
RE: Super Rugby News
A few words on the squads.
The Sharks and the Lions have lost a lot of experienced players. Without Dreyer, Van Rooyen and Mostert, the Lions front five will look far less impressive.
The Australian conference is even weaker is year. Maybe we could see five NZ teams within the eight qualified for the quarters and the semis.
The Highlanders have made the best recruitment IMO, particularly up front.
RE: World XV Team of 2018
If I had to select just one Italian, it would have been Jake Polledri who was outstanding despite playing in a very poor team.
I am happy you did not mention Marx who was very disappointing this year, particularly as with his throws, nor Jonathan Davies who missed the whole 6 Nations Championship and the June tour. Both of them were systematically selected by the NH journalists in their team of the year.
NZ team of the year
Here is a mix of what I consider to be the NZ team of the year which does not mean that these players are the best in their position, but that they were the most influential.
15 - Ben Smith. Though his season had a few up and downs (the intercept try in the first test against France being a down), he is still by a mile the best fullback in the world.
14 - Seta Tamanivalu. Certainly the position where it was the hardest to name a player. I would have been tempted to name Ben Smith again but when I looked back at the Crusaders season, big Seta Tamanivalu was a powerhouse whose departure will leave a big gap.
13 - Jack Goodhue. It was his year and he immediately made a big impact. The find of the year for the All Blacks IMO.
12 - TJ Faiane. He's had a fantastic Mitre 10 Cup and was influential in Auckland's title. I am not sure if he is SR material but he is at home at the regional level.
11 - Rieko Ioane. We did not see the best of him this year, maybe because he had to play at 2nd Five for the Blues, but he is still the best 11 in NZ and probably in the world. Bridge's first cameo for the All Blacks is also worth a mention while Ben Lam's early rounds in the SR were impressive but he really faded during the second part of the season.
10 - Richie Mo'unga. He was one of the main reasons why the Crusaders were so effective this year. He was brilliant with them. The question is : can he do it with the All Blacks as well ?
9 - TJ Perenara. Who else ? Aaron Smith was out of form and TTT did not play enough minutes to figure in a team of the year.
8 - Akira Ioane. He is the player whose omission for the All Blacks was the most discussed. Though his game has a few work-ons, he is the kind of player who looks unstoppable when driving close to the try line.
7 - Ardie Savea. He's growing taller and taller. Great season for the All Blacks and he has signed a new contract with the NZRU, which is a very good thing.
6 - Dalton Papalii. He has been outstanding for the Blues and Auckland. I am not sure if he is a 6 or a 7, but he was one of the revelation of the year.
5 - Sam Whitelock. No comment.
4 - Brodie retallick. No comment.
3 - Angus Ta'avao. From a third choice within the Chiefs squad to the All Blacks is a great achievement. Since then, he was a journeyman at best. His performances for the Chiefs this year were outstanding and just stunning.
2 - Codie Taylor. He has really stepped up again this year. NZ are blessed to have two brilliant hookers in Coles and Taylor. The gap between them and the rest is huge.
1 - Karl Tuinuku'afe. Enough said of his fairy tale. He was a bit disappointing against Ireland but who wasn't ? With more experience, he will frighten his opponents.
RE: 2020 All Blacks Squad
Remember this is a squad for 2020 so he's got plenty of time to become a very good LHP. The other options could be Joe Moody (but a bit too old by 2020 or will be earning money in the NH), Big Karl T, Aidan Ross and Hodgman. Surely a bit too early for Tamati Williams. Who do you see there ?