Another thing. Chay Fihaki looked really good last night, which is great. But it annoys the living fuck out of me that Canterbury retain Fihaki, an Auckland kid out of Sacred Heart, and allow local lad Sam Gilbert to go to Otago. Both were in NZ U20 last year, and sure, Gilbert is a 15-cum-10 who can cover wing as he did last year for Canterbury, while Fihaki is a wing-cum-centre, but they're near enough postionally that it looks like Canterbury (and the Crusaders) made a choice and the local kid lost.
@stargazer I must be well over triple figures for the Wellington game by now. I am seriously considering buying another HB jersey to ensure I have enough left to last the entire club season down here as I'm sure some sort of sabotage/theft will occur to my sole jersey left given it is worn most Saturdays!
I thought the most interesting selection in this game was Grace at 8. I wonder if that's a decree from above (Razor and/or the All Black selectors)? There's definitely an opportunity there for the Crusaders as we have better cover on the blindside in Blackadder and Sanders (Roots also) and really fuck all behind Douglas at 8. Given the MOTM award went to a debutant on the blindside, maybe he'll stay there for the season.
There were patches in this game that we probably looked the best we’ve been this season. But credit to Welly for applying scoreboard pressure.
Our tight forwards struggling with the pace and our loosies aren’t really impacting at the collisions.
Backs are ho-hum. We don’t have any real imagination out there with someone to create with little space. We are relying on good ball to make impact. We’ve at least had game breakers in previous seasons.
All bang on. In the loose forwards it all looks good on paper when you can pick Whitelock, Douglas, Prinsep, Harmon and Christie but in reality there are issues. Harmon has guts in droves but he's small, his back up is yet to show anything at this level, Prinsep is no more than a workmanlike journeyman, Douglas isn't having the same impact he's had for the Crusaders and Whitelock is also struggling to assert himself. What we really need in that trio is someone like an Ethan Blackadder to throw himself into the collision and blow over rucks. Is Cullen Grace worth a crack on the blindside?
I think the second row is fine with Dunshea back. We're not getting much around the field from our props though which is odd given we can select from a bunch of Super rugby players there too.
Enari has been good aside from a propensity to put up ineffective box kicks, and we have Drummond to come back in and share duties as well.
Cameron looks like a guy who pulled out one really good season as a relatively unknown quantity, and his midget stature is really starting to hurt him. He's reluctant to challenge the line, probably because he gets tossed around too easily, and it's a pop gun punt he's packing so we struggle to exert field position pressure or clear well.
Midfield I've covered. Ennor at 13, Bateman 12 should give us more punch and having Bateman ourside him can only help the dwarf running the cutter. Poihipi offers grunt off the bench.
There's pace out wide in McKay, Gilbert and Punivai but the latter needs to back himself more in half gaps, and the former needs to run it up harder from the back. Really lacking depth here though. If only we'd hung onto Alaimalo and/or Will Jordan.
yep agree with all of that pretty much how we look in 2019
I had a re-watch yesterday. Pari Pari Parkinson was the best player on the field. Great first half at the lineout and with ball in hand, excellent second half in defense. This guy is more powerful than his lean frame might let it think. Good games from Aumua, Havili, Strange and Makalio as well. Jordan was a bit disappointing but the game did not go his way.
Canterbury had less individual brilliance (with the notable exceptions of Drummond and Bridge) but their collective play in the second half was just awsome.
Just finished watching. That wasn't too bad in the end. I'll echo what others have said about our young guys, as long as we keep them we should do pretty well going forward (maybe the Canes could help out by signing them to keep them in the region - would rather have had Renton come on for us than against us).
Damn McClutchie has a touch of the Cruden about him, follow him around enough and he'll put you in gaps.
Yellow Card had another decent run and actually held the ball in two hands on lots of occasions.
With Buckley on the wing I don't know why Lowe wasn't used in the midfield.
@number-10 I heard he got the pip with the HBRU (and how they treated him) when he was injured and has pretty much given the game away.
Canterbury mullered NH in a scrum pushing them back 5m at a rate of knots, but front rows didn't pop. Liava'a miraculously managed to extract the ball from the back and ran it from the base of his backwheeling scrum. Drummond tackled him with a text book tackle and slid down to his ankles. But Liava'a remained on his feet and bunny hopped for about 5m with Drummoned wrapped around his ankles.
@shark there’s plenty of locks around. Will Tucker was NZ20s this year. Antonio Shalfoon is a great prospect at Lincoln. Was injured all year , but killing it now for Canterbury maoris. Don’t know if their FABs though.
Good, albeit scrappy win to get our season going. Phew. They have some holes, but Wellington are a good NPC side and with the cattle missing from 2017, we just needed to get this W no matter how. Away to BOP this week which will be interesting.
If Ennor is out, there will be a massive vacancy in this side which we just can't fill adequately with the erosion to our depth since last year. Man for man we should still clean them up, but that'd be what Taranaki fans thought too. At least our guys don't have to travel to that dump Rotorua.
@chris-b Part of the reason for the dropping of Rokocoko and Sivivatu was their vulnerability under the high ball, which was the main SA tactic in 2009-2011. That was more relevant to Rok than Sivi and led to the emergence of Jane, Dagg and then Kahui being selected as a winger at the RWC.
His omission can't have been due to any off-field problems either, given the story about Zac in Aust immediately before the RWC. So I can only assume it was because Sivivatu had signalled he was going to France later that year and coin flip didn't go in his favour.
But wasn’t there some off field issues nonetheless that may have been a contributing factor?
Sopoaga will be having nightmares about Mo'unga. Breathing right down his neck for that backup 10 spot at the moment.
Not suggesting he should be an AB, and probably doesn't have enough "x-factor" but a more hardworking loose forward than Luke Whitelock is hard to find.
Correct whitelock has really impressed me and I personally think with kaino nearing the end whitelock and ioane are the next best 2
I hope he doesn't go overseas just yet. But him and Brad Shields must be attractive targets for overseas clubs. I'm not sure what else Whitelock could do TBH, other than find a bit of x-factor. I thought he was a bit of a donkey when he made that ABs wider training squad a few years back, but his last couple of seasons have been very good.