So the ABs finished the game with the following forwards :
Who could have guessed that at the beginning of the season ?
People in this forum are great fans of Richie Mounga. He's had a mare : missed an easy tackle on Daly who is not the quickest fullback nor the strongest one (this led to England's first try), then could not handle the English rush defence. Let's hope he'll learn from this very disappointing performance.
The Bounga experiment was clearly a failure with BB's kicking from hand being an issue. Would DMac have done better ?
Is it the weakest AB squad since 2004 ?
There is a lot of fringe players who do not seem to be of international calibre. Perry is struggling at SR level, Frizell is the third choice blindside flanker for the Highlanders, TTT, Mo'unga are largely untested, DMac has yet to have a good game at 1st Five, this season, Fifita has been very anonymous, Scott Barrett is lacking the necessary physique for an international lock while JTA has never propped at TH at the upper level. Moreover, L. Whitelock is just here to fill a gap in Read's absence, NMS does not have the pace of an international wing and Harris is a journeyman as is Ofa T. If the RWC was to be played toimorrow, I doubt this team could make the final.
Evans and Hemopo are other names you could throw in the mix.
Be interesting who gets the 6 shirt against Italy.
I would add Seu as well. It's a shame he was injured this year and so missed most of the SR season. I found him outstanding during the last stages of the Mitre 10 Cup.
The "BB can't control a game" is rather ridiculous when the AB win the RC with a bonus point for 4 tries in each game (in fact, they scored an average of 6 tries per game) and with record margins. If you call "control of the game" kicking into the corners in order to apply pressure on the opponents, then BB does not know how to control a game. He just tears the defences to create and score tries which put the AB beyond reach of the opposition. Instead of winning by a 5-10 point margin, the AB, with his "no control", win with an average 25-30 point margin.
I reckon he did not play his usual best last Saturday but that was his sole under par performance of the year. This criticism is beyond me.
Can't even blame an exodus of talent. Only Vito I would class as a definite test class 8/6. Even that was only on his form the last year in NZ after flattering to deceive for much of hist test career.
The 13 jersey should be for Goodhue or Rieko Ioane. I know the latter is considered by many as a left wing but his last performances there in black were disappointing. He seems to have lost his former speed. Moreover, with Clarke and Telea (formerly a left wing with NH and the Blues) in outstanding form, there are exciting options for the 11 jersey. And I did not even mentioned Fainganu'uku nor Alaimalo.
If Ben Smith is the benchmark, then Jordan has plenty of time to develop into that player. There's no need to rush him in at this stage when there are plenty of other options.
That being said, they could start him on the right wing in the same way they did with Israel Dagg (and Ben Smith for that matter).
Jordan is an outstanding young talent but I would like to see more of him under pressure to see how he copes. So far he's had a good run in dominant teams (Tasman, Crusaders).
While playing him on the wing does make sense I am reminded of the Waikato-Tasman game last year when Jordan was badly exposed twice on defence playing on the right wing leading to tries.
He is a far better full back than right wing IMO. He looks lost in defense there.