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 ?
A few random thoughts :
This is the third shit game from the ABs in 13 months (vs England, 1st and 4th Bled).
No depth at all at tighthead prop since Lomax and Laulala seemed to struggle (4th Bled for Lomax, 2nd Bled for Laulala).
Akira was on fire till he was pulled out. I'd like to see a starting combo of Ioane - Cane - Sotutu with Savea on the bench. This could be devastating.
SB was good till his brainfart. His YC card certainly cost NZ the game.
Vaa'i was good when he came in. Far better than his SRA outings were suggesting.
Weber added pace to the backline when he came in. He should be given more gametime against the Argies.
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.
I am not sold on Bower. He did struggle at scrum time vs the Rebels, which does not augur well. He is not a bad prop but is not of international calibre IMO.
Tonga and Fiji do not represent big threats for the ABs so it could be a good opportunity to test young and promising props such as Aidan Ross and/or Ethan de Groot, who both have the physique to compete at the highest level.
The 2021 squad has been named:
Māori All Blacks Coach Clayton McMillan has named a strong squad ahead of their two-match series against Manu Samoa.
It will be the first time the sides have met since 2008, with matches at Sky Stadium in Wellington (June 26) and an exciting double header alongside the All Blacks and Tonga at Mt Smart in Auckland (July 3).
The squad features two debutants, 21-year-old Waikato and Chiefs prop Ollie Norris along with Otago and Highlanders loose forward Josh Dickson.
McMillan is joined in the coaching group again by Roger Randle and for the first time, Chris Gibbes, from the Hurricanes.
So Pari Pari Parkinson won't be an All Black in July. He's been consistently good this year and I thought his frame and power could have been useful for the AB pack.
The forwards battle should be interesting, to say the least. Less big names in the Highlanders pack but collectively, the latter looks better.
Scrums : even
Lineouts : advantage Highlanders
Rucks : even
Mauls : advantage Highlanders
Driving : advantage Blues
What about really ambitious: 2027 world cup:
- The Groot
- The mighty Williams
- Scott Barrett
- Robinson/ Blackadder
- Sam Cane (may be to old - if so papalii)
- J Barrett (could become a very good 12)
- Likley bolter/young gun. Ratumituvuki- knepkins?
- Jordan (could become cullen good)
- A Ross?
- S Vikena?
- Lord or Darry
- Only other good young guy is Roe
- DMac or Z Sullivan
- Not sure - nani-seturo? narawa? Fihaki?
Replacement hookers always wear the 16 jersey, but this is just a detail of your 2027 team. What you mean is that no youngsters that we don't know yet will emerge during the next few years ! NZ rugby is known for its capacity to dig out new talents every year. It won't change.