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.
Josh Dickson ? He has added a lot of kgs to his frame. Everybody was expecting great things from PPP but Dickson is the best Highlanders lock, and probably one of the best in NZ so far.
Well, his performance against the Crusaders has been very disappointing.
Only 3 rounds of SR so far, so it is hard to determine what will be the AB team for the June - July series. But these players could be bolters : Taukeiaho, IWL, Boshier, Sotutu (or MMT or both) and Havili. I might be wrong but I don't see Will Jordan nor Leicester Fainganuuku making the squad. Too early for them I fear and because there are already a lot of options for the back three.
- Mo'unga is irreplaceable. He goes down long term the Crusaders are poked. Havili was ok last week, but he isn't a championship winning 10, and we can all see Cameron is not up to it yet.
The Crusaders have only lost three times during Razor's tenure when Mo'unga has played.
To the Canes and to the B&I Lions in 2017.
And to the Chiefs in the Fiji heat last year.
The Crusaders are one thing, the All Blacks another one. RM has yet to show that he is a world class 1st 5/8. He has been playing beyond expectations for the ABs so far.