Highlanders vs Blues



  • Match Highlanders v Blues @ Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
    Referee Paul Williams
    AR1 Mike Fraser
    AR2 James Doleman
    TMO Shane McDermott



  • Highlanders

    1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
    2 Liam Coltman
    3 Tyrel Lomax
    4 Jackson Hemopo
    5 Tom Franklin
    6 Shannon Frizell
    7 James Lentjes
    8 Elliot Dixon
    9 Kayne Hammington
    10 Josh Ioane
    11 Tevita Li
    12 Teihorangi Walden
    13 Patelesio Tomkinson
    14 Matt Faddes
    15 Ben Smith (CC)

    Reserves
    16 Ash Dixon
    17 Ayden Johnstone
    18 Siate Tokolahi
    19 Josh Dickson
    20 Luke Whitelock (CC)
    21 Aaron Smith
    22 Bryn Gatland
    23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen

    Unavailable due to injury: Liam Squire (knee), Marty Banks (foot), Waisake Naholo (knee)

    T.Nabura & R.Buckman out for season

    Only minor changes to the starting team this week for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy match against the Blues.
    
    All Black, Jackson Hemopo, returns at lock to partner Tom Franklin and Patelesio Tomkinson takes the place of Rob Thompson (unavailable for family reasons this week).
    
    However, the return of Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock gives the reserves a very strong look. Smith who injured his ankle in the round six game, ironically against the Blues, was originally scheduled to be out for 4-6 weeks but has missed just two games during his speedy recovery.
    
    “Nuggy and Luke have both worked incredibly hard to make themselves available and their return this week provides the team with a bit of a boost. We are aware of the challenges the Blues will bring on Saturday, all the NZ conference games bring a high degree of intensity” said Head Coach, Aaron Mauger.
    
    The Highlanders have retained the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy since 2012, the trophy is only contestable when the game is being played at the home ground of the previous year’s winner.
    

    https://thehighlanders.co.nz/media-centre/news/964-pulse-energy-highlanders-named-for-gordon-hunter-memorial-trophy-clash



  • Great to see that Aaron Smith has recovered from his injury faster than initially expected, but disappointing that they went for Hammington again instead of Fakatava.



  • @Stargazer said in Highlanders vs Blues:

    Great to see that Aaron Smith has recovered from his injury faster than initially expected, but disappointing that they went for Hammington again instead of Fakatava.

    Aren't there NZRFU protocols for how many games players under19 can play in Super Rugby per season?



  • @Stockcar86 Possibly; would make sense, but haven't actually seen those protocols.



  • Blues
    15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1. Karl Tu’inukuafe

    Reserves: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie

    Not considered because of injury: Blake Gibson (knee), Sonny Bill Williams (knee), Stephen Perofeta (shoulder/pectoral), Jordan Trainor (thigh), Tanielu Tele’a (suspended).


    https://theblues.co.nz/unchanged-blues-focus-on-fitting-reward-for-talisman-parsons/

    Irrepressible hooker James Parsons is set to become just the sixth Blues player to earn 100 caps for his club when they take on the Highlanders in the Investec Super Rugby clash in Dunedin on Saturday.
    
    Parsons, 32, has been named to start in what will be his 100thcap for the club and 98thin Super Rugby, having played against the touring French and British and Irish Lions.
    
    The side has a settled look with the backline unchanged and only one swap in the forwards from the side that narrowly lost to the Chiefs last weekend, with Sione Mafileo and Ofa Tuungafasi exchanging roles in the front row.
    
    Parsons, who began his Super Rugby career against the Highlanders in 2012, will become the joint fastest Blues player to reach the 100 caps, joining fellow prop John Afoa, both earning the mark in eight seasons.
    
    Rated as one of the most professional players in the game, Parsons also gives back off it. He is on the Board of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, a regular contributor on SKY Television and hosts his own weekly rugby show on Radio Sport.
    
    Blues legend and most capped player, Keven Mealamu is glowing in his praise of the player who followed him as the first-choice hooker.
    
    “It is so great to see JP earn his 100thgame for the Blues,” said Mealamu. “He is a professional in every sense, an awesome teammate and a great man as well. This is so well deserved for such a true Blues man.”
    
    Coach Leon MacDonald said while the side wants to produce a fitting performance for Parsons, more importantly they are looking to build on the strong form that saw them come up just short last week and in the opening round clash against the Crusaders.
    
    “We’ve yet to come out on the right side of the leger at Forsyth Barr Stadium although it will provide us with the type of surface we will enjoy. And the team will also want to produce an effort of quality to lift the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy,” said MacDonald.
    
    “We need to continue to raise our performances each and every week, cherish our ball more and ensure we come out on the right side of the physical battle at the breakdown.”
    
    The other change is in the reserves where Leni Apisai comes in on to the bench for just the second time this year.
    
    Blues all-time leading appearances: Keven Mealamu 164, Jerome Kaino 139, Tony Woodcock 137, Ali Williams 102, John Afoa 101, James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina 99
    


  • That blues release is well funny. I think the Landers bench will finish this one, but it will be close



  • @Duluth That speaks volumes about why the Blues have been terrible for so long. Parsons is going to play his hundredth game.



  • Parsons also gives back off it. He is on the Board of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, a regular contributor on SKY Television and hosts his own weekly rugby show on Radio Sport.

    Pretty sure he appears on the Darcy & Goran show, not his 'own show'

    Cant recall who it was from the Highlanders coaching team this week, said Parsons was 'always excellent' ...one of these players that coaches somehow manage to see more about a player than we ever do?

    Great to see Moulds dropped again 🤦 was planning on heading to the Kamo v Otamatea game tomorrow that I assume he will be released for.



  • @taniwharugby There must be more to the Moulds thing that we know about. It's too many coaches in a row with the same selection pattern.



  • @Kirwan yeah I've already alluded to that I think there is something else at play here...but more to the point he had a solid performance sitting on the bench v Sunwolves, got dropped, actually got on the park v Chiefs for 25/30 mins was solid and gets dropped...



  • @taniwharugby its weird, especially when you look at other positions. Nock gets rewarded for good form, Pulu gets dropped for being continually shit. Seems to be a difference there between Parsons and Moulds.

    Same with Collins.



  • @Kirwan how many of these forward coaches have been North Harbour coaches?

    Remember turning up to a Northland vs North Harbour game and watching Parsons out on the field warming up with throws and then running and stepping - with no other players around for about 20mins. So great work ethic but he just doesn’t have impact. Strength is lineout throwing. Weakness is his lack of athleticism around field which really shows in 2nd half. His performance last week was poor and follows a number of games where the lineout has been weak. Hookers of the modern era are ball carrying / ball running players. I think not having a more dynamic player ( anyone else ) in this position significantly impacts the Blues go forward

    In particular there is no excuse for selections and game management by Blues coaches. Regardless of his selection for set piece work in first half, all you have to do is look at walking in the 2nd half to know he should be subbed. Most teams pull hookers and halfbacks with at least 20 mins to go.

    The decision to resign Parsons for 2 years continues years of poor recruitment. One year absolute max - never knew they offered retirement plans.

    Not selecting Moulds on the bench after another good 20 minutes off the bench is just so odd. He should definitely get out the Blues - there is only so much bullshit one should take.



  • @kev the last two were NH coaches sure, but the forwards coach under Kirwan was Glen Moore.

    I don’t think this is a provincial bias thing, Leon, Tana and Kirwan were the head coaches and if they wanted a different player it would have happened.

    If you include the head coaches and the forward coaches we are looking and six coaches that have seen issues with Moulds and not trusted him.

    Personally, if I think if you aren’t going to play him he should have been replaced in the squad. It’s the halfway house approach that is confusing.



  • @Kirwan said in Highlanders vs Blues:

    thats the thing, both Kirwan and Tana said good things about Moulds and his leadership yet neither gave him much time on the park, he is captain of his province too, I know he is a hard worker (training wise) so I have serious doubts it is anything related to his actual play, somewhere somehow he has pissed off the wrong person and is paying for it...



  • @taniwharugby said in Highlanders vs Blues:

    somewhere somehow he has pissed off the wrong person and is paying for it...

    But the coach is in charge of selection

    Three different coaches he pissed off?



  • @Duluth why would coaches say good things about him if he pissed them off?

    Why would they not play him if they think he is good enough?

    Just strikes me as odd, not necessarily on MOulds (just seems I am vociferous on his defence cos he is from Northland, if Apisai wasnt shit I'd be backing his case too) the fact we have that many coaches that rate Parsons so highly...as I said last week, one of the highalnders coaches mentioned Parsons was always excellent, so is that some of the data they see we dont that shows he is a beast or something?

    But even so, still doesnt explain why in this day and age of rugby, when the bench is important, Parsons is played for such huge minutes so often (when whoever is on the bench)



  • @taniwharugby

    Because the coaches (3 in a row) don't rate the 2nd/3rd choice hookers? Despite what they say in the media.
    Why keep picking him in the squad? Well there's no one else and they have experimented with the 3rd hooker spot.

    That seems like the most simple explanation.

    Unless you have heard something else you haven't said on here?



  • @Duluth none of that explains why you drop a hooker who plays well for 25mins for a guy who struggles almost everytime he takes the park...and dont even release him to play club rugby.



  • @taniwharugby said in Highlanders vs Blues:

    none of that explains why you drop a hooker who plays well for 25mins for a guy who struggles almost everytime he takes the park...and dont even release him to play club rugby.

    The not releasing him part is simple. If someone turns an ankle on match day we need the third hooker in Dunedin


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