AB Depth Chart 2020



  • New players, new coaches, new season, new reality. Huge changes this year in every aspect. So, it must be time to look what depth remains from previous AB squads, and who might join them or take their place.

    Worth revisiting at the end of the Super Rugby season ...



  • Loosehead Prop

    Joe Moody - best scrummager in NZ, very good in tight work, not great around the field. Needs a big year, with improved defence and/or some solid ball carrying role added to his game.

    Atu Moli - converted tight head, hasn't been in impressive form, looks better at tight head. Now injured for the season, looked most at risk of dropping out as a LH. Might have made it for covering both sides.

    Karl Tu'inukuafe - impressive form before COVID-19, should've been at the 2019 RWC. Shoe in if fit. He's a big guy though, so is going to have to put in some work at getting off the deck and back into the defensive line under the SRA interpretations.

    Contenders:

    Alex Hodgman (good around the field, scrummaging has improved), Aidan Ross, Ayden Johnstone.



  • Hooker

    A big issue for Foster's team. NZ really only has one international quality hooker, Codie Taylor, and he has probably been over played over the past two seasons, and isn't dominant at test level. Coles has okay as backup, but has been below desired quality for the past two years, and has discipline problems. Showed some signs of life on Sunday, but much of his game was of lesser quality to Parsons. Time to drop him.

    Contenders:

    First thing to note is that all the next level of hookers (Parsons isn't in contention for the ABs) have problems with their throwing. This can be exacerbated by lack of lineout targets (Chiefs, Hurricanes).

    Taukei'aho - has a very good mix of power in the loose and tight roles, and a good work rate. Throwing needs a lot of work.

    Aumua - dynamic player with good speed, brutal ball carrier, can put in some big hits on defence. Has improved his work rate. Skills will continue to develop. Poor lineout thrower.

    Coltman - excellent "jackler", poor thrower, rest of game not international standard.

    Makalio - big guy, pretty powerful, decent thrower. Different type of player than the ABs have used in the past, possible stopgap.



  • @Tim I was critical of Alex Hodgman last year but he was noticeably good last night.



  • @Tim He's getting too old now, but I've never understood why they never picked Ash Dixon. IMO he's better than capped hookers Coltman & Parsons.



  • I am hoping Feek brings in some fresh ideas with his NH experience and isn't just another Cron disciple.



  • Tighthead Prop

    Depth is thin, and the cupboard is looking a bit bare as far as top class players go. Moli should've stayed on this side.

    Nepo Laulala - the incumbent. Underwhelmed at the world cup, quite good this year but nothing special, and has been put under pressure at scrum time. Needs to improve loose play, work rate, and scrummaging. Needs a big year.

    Ofa Tu'ungafasi - Very good around the field, but can give away a silly penalty around the ruck. Underrated scrummager, but can be inconsistent. Could be his year to step up as a starter.

    Angus Ta'avao - Stop gap player selected to play both sides, but isn't able to play loosehead at a competitive level. Okay in the scrum, okay around the field, not really international quality. Returning from long term injury.

    Contenders:

    Tyrel Lomax - okay scrummager with potential to improve a lot, has been drilled by a few looseheads. Good around the field but not outstanding.



  • Possible AB frontrowers against Australia:

    1 Moody
    2 Taylor
    3 Laulala

    16 Aumua
    17 Karl Tu'inukuafe
    18 Tu'ungafasi



  • Laulala didn't even last 40 mins in his first game against the Blues before injuring his knee. He played more minutes than I thought he would on his return on Sat night. He is the best TH scrummager so I would favour a Nepo-Ofa combo on that side.

    Coles is still in the top 2 hookers but is probably better as the impact player now, as long as that impact is positive. 🙂



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Possible AB frontrowers against Australia:

    1 Moody
    2 Taylor
    3 Laulala

    16 Aumua
    17 Karl Tu'inukuafe
    18 Tu'ungafasi

    That actually doesn't look bad.

    As for the general question?
    Locks.



  • @Bovidae Got to disagree on Coles. Apart from a charge down the wing, he doesn't offer much quality now. Also his on field "leadership" is a liability. A has-been.



  • @Tim Aumua's lineout yips are worse than Taukei'aho's. Experience does count and there is time to develop younger hookers in the next 4 years.



  • @Bovidae said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Aumua's lineout yips are worse than Taukei'aho's.

    They could well be. The best way to judge will be to have them both throwing to AB locks and loose forwards. 🙂



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Bovidae Got to disagree on Coles. Apart from a charge down the wing, he doesn't offer much quality now. Also his on field "leadership" is a liability. A has-been.

    agreed, except for his work in Fitzy's channel, i didn't think he offered that much. I have him points over Parsons, but in hindsight that was harsh. He threw okay and scrummaged well though.

    I'm totally cool with your FR selections. I like Ofa T, but really want him to come off the bench.



  • Lock

    Another tough one. There are three names automatically on the sheet, but all have real limitations or concerns.

    Whitelock - One of the best ever for NZ, and pretty much a complete player. Has played a lot over the last three seasons, and form has slid over the last two. May not be an automatic starter any more. Hopefully a break has rejuvenated him. Had a poor World Cup by his standards. ABs need a couple of good years out of him, so needs to have time managed.

    Barrett - An "inbetweener". Will never be physically dominant as a lock, but has a great work rate and pace around the field. Not a starter against a big pack (SA, England, France). Not a six. Overrated by NZ media. Decent but not particularly good lineout target.

    Tuipulotu - A "power" lock. Physically dominant around the park, improved at set piece a lot, work rate improved. Not a good lineout target at top level. Decent at steals. Should start against the big packs.

    Retallick - Potentially the best player in the world. Frequently injured over last two seasons. Not back until next year, and not playing Super Rugby in 2021 either. Don't rely on him as AB saviour ...

    Contenders:

    Dunshea, Strange, Walker-Leawere.



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Lock

    Another tough one. There are three names automatically on the sheet, but all have real limitations or concerns.

    Whitelock - One of the best ever for NZ, and pretty much a complete player. Has played a lot over the last three seasons, and form has slid over the last two. May not be an automatic starter any more. Hopefully a break has rejuvenated him. Had a poor World Cup by his standards. ABs need a couple of good years out of him, so needs to have time managed.

    Barrett - An "inbetweener". Will never be physically dominant as a lock, but has a great work rate and pace around the field. Not a starter against a big pack (SA, England, France). Not a six. Overrated by NZ media. Decent but not particularly good lineout target.

    Tuipulotu - A "power" lock. Physically dominant around the park, improved at set piece a lot, work rate improved. Not a good lineout target at top level. Decent at steals. Should start against the big packs.

    Retallick - Potentially the best player in the world. Frequently injured over last two seasons. Not back until next year, and not playing Super Rugby in 2021 either. Don't rely on him as AB saviour ...

    Contenders:

    Dunshea, Strange, Walker-Leawere.

    huge concern. also tied in to Foster needing to have a bit of a rethink around the way we play test football

    Whitelock may just be cooked. He's not that old, but he's played a lot of test footy. I hope not, because he's a fucking gun, and probably now in the conversation as an "all-time" AB

    Retallick is nearly our most important player. He's the difference maker in our pack. We are so much more average when he is out, or under-cooked. Those days will only be more frequent.

    My thoughts on SB are well known. Decent squadie, but to be great, we need an upgrade.

    Patty T is my big hope, he's the kind of guy that can just bash opposition packs in to surrender. I really hope this year it finally clicks, because it hasn't yet. But he's going to need a Whitelock-type next to him.

    No one really looks "to the manor born"



  • You'd like to think Plumtree has a pretty good handle on Aumua as a prospect with the history together at the Canes.



  • We need to continue down the path of selecting tall locks who still do their core roles. Parkinson has the physical attributes but needs to deliver consistently on the field.



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Loosehead Prop

    Ofa can play two sides?



  • For me the concern is come the next RWC some of our current top players may be past it and I don't see replacements who have the potential to get to the level of these players coming through. Guys like Aaron Smith, Beauden, Retallick, Whitelock, Taylor, Coles and Cane come to mind.



  • Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!



  • @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    2012: Our best ever lock; a try scoring phenom; arguably our best ever halfback; 2 x World Player of the Year; one of our best Pro hookers

    2016: Back up openside; Squadie with a handful of meaningful caps; part of the midfield rotation; squadie; didn't make the World Cup

    I hope 2020 is a bit more inspiring than 2016



  • @Tim Hugely impressed with Tyrel Lomax. He is been busy around the field and has always been a strong scrummager as you saw on the weekend. I see him as one of the leading contenders.



  • @mariner4life said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    2012: Our best ever lock; a try scoring phenom; arguably our best ever halfback; 2 x World Player of the Year; one of our best Pro hookers

    2016: Back up openside; Squadie with a handful of meaningful caps; part of the midfield rotation; squadie; didn't make the World Cup

    Ardie was 6 inches of height away from being a miracle flanker
    ALB could have been the standout if Hansen had settled on a midfield.
    Ioane was injured last year, and timing was just horrific

    You're pretty harsh fella



  • @mariner4life said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    2012: Our best ever lock; a try scoring phenom; arguably our best ever halfback; 2 x World Player of the Year; one of our best Pro hookers

    2016: Back up openside; Squadie with a handful of meaningful caps; part of the midfield rotation; squadie; didn't make the World Cup

    I hope 2020 is a bit more inspiring than 2016

    Aye? We're talking Rieko, right?



  • @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    How is Sam Cane not included in the 2012 group and how is Scott Barrett included in the 2016 gropup?



  • @Nepia said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    How is Sam Cane not included in the 2012 group and how is Scott Barrett included in the 2016 gropup?

    Cos I missed Cane, I thought he was capped earlier, and Scott Barrett first capped in '16. And I think he is a great player, as do the ABs coaches



  • @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Nepia said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    @Machpants said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Post RWC names of note
    2012: Brodie, the bus, Aaron Smith, beaudy, Coles
    2016: Ardie, DMac, ALB, Scott Barrett, Ioane

    So hopefully we'll get another 5 this year too!

    How is Sam Cane not included in the 2012 group and how is Scott Barrett included in the 2016 gropup?

    Cos I missed Cane, I thought he was capped earlier, and Scott Barrett first capped in '16. And I think he is a great player, as do the ABs coaches

    Each to their own.



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Tighthead Prop

    Tyrel Lomax - okay scrummager with potential to improve a lot, has been drilled by a few looseheads. Good around the field but not outstanding.

    Lomax has come on in leaps and bounds. He's the way of the future at tighthead. Paul Cully agrees...

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/119567816/super-rugby-team-of-the-week-tyrel-lomax-is-changing-the-hurricanes



  • @Chris-B he was one of the highlights for the Canes, a real talent



  • Sotutu to lock in a long term spot?
    Aumua to get some focussed throwing training?



  • @Crucial said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Sotutu to lock in a long term spot?

    at 192cm?



  • @Tim said in AB Depth Chart 2020:

    Contenders:
    Dunshea, Strange, Walker-Leawere.

    Who is the best of these?
    Lock is the only position I think we are weak in.



  • @Frank I haven't seen enough to have a strong opinion. What does the fern think?



  • @Frank Depends on the type of lock they're looking for. If they want a big power lock, IWL is definitely the man. If you want a fast runner and better line-out jumper, it may be Quinten Strange. I'm not totally sold on Dunshea (yet).



  • @Stargazer if IWL makes it I will farken scream because we let him walk out the front door



  • @canefan For 2021 and beyond, there are still 4 locks in front of any of the contenders. If they're going to pick a fourth lock, this year, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they go for a lock/loosie instead. Don't shoot the messenger, but that may be Fifita or Frizell.



  • @Stargazer Tom Robinson another possibility in that role.



  • For locks instead of being in the official squad they may bring new contenders in as wider-squad members to learn without them being in the official squad (to bring them into the environment).



  • Think Moody and Coltman have been done a disservice here ball in hand and to a lesser degree in defence.

    Locks, yeah looks light this year but there were about half a dozen excellent performances in the weekend from a bunch of inexperienced fellas. Parkinson needs to bulk up, Dickson is definitely a contender if he carries on like that, those two young chiefs locks could be perfectly ripe in 3 years time.

    The Hodgman myth continues...


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