If there’s one thing that came out of tonights game for the All Blacks Jordie Barrett is your number 1 fullback moving forward.
Not even a debate
Best posts made by Steven Harris
RE: Blues vs Crusaders
Walked away from Eden Park on Saturday night asking myself one question..have the Blues got the right skipper..?
Being down 3-12 and with a man in the bin,I thought the Blues did extremely well to keep the Saders scoreless during that time.
However the decision not to take 3 points from a very kickable position on the stroke of halftime had many of us in the west stand shaking our heads..On 2 other occasions points on offer were turned down..
You often wonder why the Blues never quite get across the line in this local derby games..much of it you can put down to poor leadership and decision making on field.
Sure you can heap blame on individuals but despite that in many cases poor options when coming to terms of what’s required and understanding game situations is something they need to fix and in a hurry..
I was often told,when your playing a good team,stay in the fight and when it gets down to the wire anything can happen,for that to happen you have to keep accumulating points.
There was a lot to like,talking to a good friend in Christchurch who caught up with Matt Todd earlier today..Todd had told him the Blues were definitely a different beast from previous years ,very tough up front and more structure to their game.but they also knew whom to pressure in the last 15 minutes and get maximum value..interesting coms..
Just from my own point of view,I think the Blues would have Brocken their duck against any other franchise ,but after all we are playing a team that’s got everybody else’s number in NZ.
Just on a man of the match..if Ardie and Sam are considered the best 7s in the country ,Matt Todd must the unluckiest player running around..watched his running lines from the top of the west stand always in the right place at the right time..not far behind the young Ennor ,but I have always known how good this kid was gonna be from his St Kent’s and NZ 20s days.
For the Blues,if Akira can keep this form up,who knows I am sure Hansen will no choice but to have him involved with the Blacks.
Nonu surprised me,did most things right and more ,got gassed by Ennor,but at the end of the day just up against younger faster legs.
Like the look of Tom Robinson,would love to see him used more running off a short pass from a prop channel 1 or 2..
Disappointed with the loss,but will be back for the next home game..loved the banter from the supporters up on the West Stand,never laughed so much at a game.
RE: Crusaders v Blues
As much as I have wanted the Blues to get across the line this evening ..I have got to question how much some really do know about the game of rugby ...the one area where the Crusaders have dominated has been in the high kick stakes..the Blues have been completely overshadowed in this aspect...the much maligned George Bridge has put so much pressure on the receiver from high kicks ...the Blues have failed to negate this area..and their own high kick when it really mattered , unfortunately fell by the wayside ..both Christie and Barrett at crucial times put kicks out on the full...to me the turning point was the charge down of Blacks kick ..and the subsequent short kick off from Mo’unga , the Blues had fallen asleep and you could see the momentum change ,some great individual performances , but big match players come up with big moments ..on that aspect ..The Crusaders Take the chocolates ..it was great to watch a game that I really feel the Blues are now relevant again..you know when a Canterbury crowd goes silent for long periods means you have them under the pump..to blame this evenings official is joke..game management when it really mattered was the difference..
RE: Blues 2018
Interesting listening to Murray Mexted this morning on Radio Sport,touched on both the Blues & Auckland and the issues both have had over the last decade.
I was delighted to hear Mexted speak both frankly about the failure to identify or scout talent,which has been a big bug bear I have had for a least 10 years..
Even the current Auckland Mitre 10 cup is classic,having watched quite a bit of Auckland club rugby,I have been highly impressed with the 3 argentine Costa brothers that play for Eden,I was told by someone on the AK coaching staff,that they were not up to mitre 10 level.
yet Nico comes on for Auckland v Canterbury at halfback and almost changes the game,a position Auckland have struggled at in the last few seasons,and I would imagine all 3 x Brothers would have a great understanding of each other's game..just saying..!
I also question the Blues ability to select a player required for their roster,I see the Blues signed the boy Ruru from Otago,with the greatest respect I reckon Jack Stratton from Canterbury looks a much better prospect,can think right back to the Lions first game against the NZ Babas,he was awesome against quality opposition.
Even the selection of Otere Black bothers me,he was targeted by the Blues a couple of seasons ago and declined,
Personally when the Blues were chasing Beauden Barrett,I would gave gone after Richie Mo'unga,at the time he was the 3rd choice 10 at the crusaders,but having seen him at NZ 20s level,one could see he had the goods.
Even in recent times,best young first five at the NZ under 19s tournament a couple seasons back was Brett Cameron from Canterbury,..will probably be the 3rd choice at the saders in 2018 behind Mo'unga and Hunt.
Another player I would be all over is Jackson Hemapo from Manawatu,the man is a beast,and from the time Stephen Luatua signed with Bristol,they should have been all over it.
I realise in the scheme of things there are agents and money to deal with,but man alive,open your eyes..!
RE: Bledisloe One: Wellington, October 11
Now that the emotion has died down.
I really enjoyed that test and further more had we lost , Would not have bothered me the least .
Thought the Wallabies were tremendous and I have always said, regardless of what we think of the standard of their rugby , it’s only takes a squad of 23 on the day to do the job.
First order of business from an All Blacks piece , and this is what really worries me under Foster you have got to earn the right to go wide, if it means means doing a bit more work up front then so be it.
To be honest when I first saw the All Black team that was named for the test , I was quite underwhelmed ..
I thought it was the perfect opportunity as the Wallabies did to promote a couple of youngsters into the starting XV , Wil Jordon and Caleb Clark come to mind and I would have just left D.Mac on the bench and not played Bridge at all.
Fosters conservative approach concerns me.
Thinking back on super rugby watching many of the NZ contests which were fast paced and highly skilled compared to the Australian comp which at times could be a grind especially when watching the Brumbies with lineout drives and mauls and holding on to the ball for long periods ,but if you really think about it .
Which style is closer to test Rugby ..?.
The Wallabies I thought we’re a lot better than I thought they would be , but on saying that as proven when Rennie took over the Chiefs ironically from Foster he selected a group of players from all over the country and bought them together win a title in his very first year , sure you had Wayne Smith in the background but at the end of the day this was Rennies team .
Really liked the way their forwards went about their work ,Harry Wilson running in the wide channels was superb ,Only 20 years old , Lukhan Salakaia Loto was an absolute beast and his his locking partner Matt Philip has got some work rate and Taniela Tupou being used as a first receiver dragged in at least 3 tacklers was a master stroke in terms of coaching
Add in Nick White who was superb behind the Wallabies pack , Dalgunu on the wing looks a handful and Tom Banks at the back is safe as houses at the back superb under the highball and has a massive punt .
Plenty of pluses for the visitors .it seems as though Rennie has got buy in from this squad which for an outside coach is your first victory.
RE: Ireland vs All Blacks (2018)
Outplayed and out coached by the Irish on the day,no real complaints from me.
Not the end of the world, but I have seen plenty of evidence to suggest signs of staleness within this coaching group.
No question it was a points decision to Joe Schmidt after this mornings match and that what’s worrying me
We have the players,but is this coaching group getting the best of out of this group..?
I have often believed if you have several players at their best in a team of 15 there’s a good chance you go on an win.
That’s been a real concern not just in this mornings game,but also last weeks performance against England ,just the lack of our so called world class players standing up and when you consider the All Black coaches pulled out all the stops by taking away 51 players on this tour to protect many of our big guns..
Was it the right strategy..?,based on what we have seen you would have to say no..
Also our discipline when don’t have the ball has been terrible,some of our senior players the real culprits.
What’s that all about..?
Which leads me on to why all the penalties,when you give up ball with a poor kick game against a team like Ireland who can hold on to the ball no matter where they are on the paddock..you have got to ask questions abou strategy and dare I say it captaincy..
My apologies if I am sounding like Watto,but I would like to think I have outlined my argument with a degree of thought.
RE: All Blacks vs Fiji
Really enjoyed this contest ,seeing another repeat of last week would have done nothing for anyone..
Fiji really bought it physically showing the benefits of many of their forwards especially playing in France and Europe in general but I suspect being stuck in isolation and lack preparation finally told especially in and around breakdown accuracy and discipline..All Blacks looked better when both Whitelock and Coles were on the field ..but in terms of consistency I thought Ethan Blackadder playing in the unfamiliar jersey was very solid ..biggest disappointments to me where Sotutu,Tuipulotu and Frizzell..
RE: Hurricanes 2020
2017 NZ under 20 & NZ Maori Prop Pouri Rakete Stones has signed a 2 year deal with the Hurricanes which he penned last Friday ..
Rakete Stones switched from Tighthead to loosehead and was selected for the NZ Maori in the 2nd test against against Fiji this year..
Rakete Stones is a former NZ Junior powerlifting champion..
He shocked many in the NZ Maori squad when training at the Blues facility in Auckland earlier this year when he squatted 300Kg, Ofa Tu’ungafasi has the record at the Blues of 265Kg..
Rakete Stones is 118Kg 1.82
At 22 ,has a massive future in front of him..
RE: Blues vs Waratahs
The biggest take away from this victory before everyone starts .is the poor field exits,I don’t care who the team your playing is but if you gift any team with this much field POSITION & TERRITORY because of poor tactics when exiting,of course it’s gonna bite..
Plenty of ticker shown tonite,but it does not have to be this hard.
Was great that we held onto the ball for 3 minutes at the end to run the game down.,
Ma Nonu outstanding,
RE: Are Akira Ioane and Jackson Hemopo the answer?
@African-Monkey the good news from insiders , he’s had big change of mind fix, which he needed to change , nobody else , if you had’nt noticed even the Auckland coaches were not starting Akira in the playing XV, he was behind Soututu..when your sitting on the pine watching someone else playing the house down you can either keep feeling sorry for yourself or you can do something about it and that’s what he’s done taken opportunity with injuries to both Robinson and Soututu..the blaming of Hansen is a load of nonsense in my opinion I think your the Lone Ranger on that one.
Hansen’s frustration only echoed what many thought at the time.
Credit to Akira for finding himself and playing at the level we know he can play at..
RE: Chiefs v Crusaders (Suva)
Can’t believe some of the criticism Kieran Read is copping in the social media network..
To me he is still the premier 8 in the country I decided to look back at last nights game this morning .
The first 20 minutes looked like a training a run and for most of that period the Chiefs were tackling shadows
ALB pretty much up summed the Chiefs efforts in first 20 minutes
What changed in the game was, the chiefs after making so many handling errors started holding the ball but even more importantly negated much of the high box kicking that the Crusaders over did.
If the Saders had actually stuck to what they had been doing in the first 20 the chiefs may have leaked more points..
The other tempo shift from the Chiefs was using inside balls which exploited inside channels.
During this period Read was doing an incredible amount of work but the nature of some of the Chiefs long range tries which were quite incredible breaks up against the tightest of structured defences.
That was seen in the first 20 minutes when the chiefs tries to push the ball wide only to be shut down in the mid field.
Now unstructured code is a different kettle of fish..Throw in 3 very poor lineout throws in a row from Funnell along with the negated high kicks ,that means you are without the ball for long periods.
But the beauty of what the chiefs did was finding some real variety in their attack ,unstructured and once they got in front, hunger and desire take over.
Don’t care who you are but when can’t get a hold of the ball you are gonna struggle ,I must admit even with 10 minutes to go I thought the Saders would still pull this game out of the fire, they reverted to the meat and drink lineout drive and maul and try and pull a penalty
Problem for the Funnell he could not find his target..
One thing I will say about the Saders, they may have lost the battle ,but they will still win the war one suspects .
On the chiefs,I absolutely marvel at their ticker ,given the injuries and unavailabilities they have , they pull themselves off the floor like a prize fighter and stay in the fight..
I wish the Blues had half the ticker these guys from down the road have..I heard the best definition of the Blues which I will share with you..
All the other franchises are like the students who arrive at class 5 minutes before class to prep for their day..
The Blues on the other hand are like a student who did not get enough sleep the night before and drags his feet to class 5 minutes late..
RE: Northland Future Taniwha Team
Over the years I have often ventured out to watch Northland Development or Under 19 teams play just to get a handle on what’s coming through in my much beloved union and then to find out over half the team pulled out before the campaign started because travel and work commitments and primarily thinking that a prospective pathway to the top side was well and truly blocked once the contracted Mitre 10 Cup team was named.
Heading along yesterday to Bell Park in Pakuranga to watch the future Taniwha’s take on the Blues under 20s has definitely given supporters like myself a huge boost .
The game ended up 24 all after Northland had lead 24-7 at halftime
The Blues team had Finlay Christie at halfback ,Nerai Fomai at 12 and Taine Plumtree at lock , he moved into the no 6 jersey in the 2nd period , and Jacob Kneepkins entered the game in the 2nd half , it was fair to say he was the most dangerous back on the paddock , he was a threat every time he had the ball in his hands .
Taine Plumtree is an outstanding forward , I am really surprised he was not picked up the canes , looks more of a 6 than a lock ..
The Blues looked much more of a threat when Cory Evans , another former Northland boy from Kaitaia took the field in the 2nd half , this kid has some amazing footwork for a first five , has been out with injury for the last 2 seasons ..2 other Northland boys were running around for the Blues 20s Ryan Nankivell at fullback and Josh Beehre at lock
Northland with Leka Tuangafasi and Kaliopasi Uluilapeka were outstanding at set piece time , ..Uluilapeka who has come from Wellington is a monster with ball hand , proving unstoppable close to the line scoring 2 tries but also constantly getting over the advantage line , from what I was told yesterday, he is a very good listener , has incredible strength , breaking the current Northland Bench press record in his first week in the gym ..
He however is still carrying up 8-10 Kgs which on the plus he still has 3-4 months to address that issue .
It was my first look at Allan Craig who Northland signed last year , has all the core skills if not the size .., looks more of a 6 than a lock but I suspect will be more of James Blackwell type player , not a bad thing as mitre 10 cup profile
His looking partner Terepai King is taller and has put 10kgs since last year , could be a bolter for the Mitre 10 cup team ..
The player that really put his hand up was Isi Manu, younger brother of Pauliasi Manu, came north last year , but was out of condition.
Was very good with ball hand when he slotted into number 8 and more importantly physical on the tackle .
Some boys with Taniwha experience started the game Johnny Cooper,Sam McNamara ,Kalani Going ,Mason Hohaia and Pisi Leilua and Rob Rush but were all pulled at halftime..
The Blues hit back with 2 tries with in 5 minutes of the restart , but this is where I was most pleased , with mostly their Player Union Development contract players on the paddock , they showed a ton heart to get back in the fight but more importantly defend their arses off ..the front row of Fono and Martin who are only young guys with a bit size I must add did very well at set piece and the 2nd half loose forwards ,Sage Hansen,Tom Baker and the 17 year old Zac Shanks who looks special made a lot of tackles and doesn’t mind the contact .
Fritz Rayasi who has made the decision to move up North from Wellington on his own accord looked really good with ball in hand , but will require some conditioning, very big guy
Manny Snooks who is a tall strapping winger is another who I understand the union are investigating heavily in ,is only very young is being likened SBW ..,he certainly has a similar body shape if not the same height .
The Blues I understand are tracking his progress .
Rome Levi who marked Jacob Kneepkins did a really good job under the circumstances forcing him back inside on most occasions, but boy is Kneepkins hard to put down ..
Brody Lam on the wing scored a try , but had few opportunities, Like the look of Kingi Herewini when he came on in the midfield , the boy has got some footwork , dazzling at times , but will have to work on his defence ..
Was really impressed with the halfbacks on show Ilai Arona has a slick pass and a very good high kick game and did well up against Finlay Christie and young Jayden Kemp could be one to watch moving forward .
Great too see Nikau Graham back in the North , this kid has a very powerful left foot and an accurate goal kicking game to match .
In summary , talking to the coaching staff , they were very pleased with what they saw as was I .
I have always said if Northland can define clear pathways for the obvious talent that they generate, anything can happen ..!
And it’s already got players from one of our next door neighbours knocking on the door , looking at more tangible options as opposed to be player that’s in a group of 45 players that have Player Union Development contracts wondering , Will we ever get an opportunity to play for the top side ..?
On another interesting footnote , the NZRFU has sent a directive to Unions that they can only have 15 PUDC’s signed ..needless to say Auckland are not happy , but to me , this where they need to work with their near neighbours and Blues franchise partners ..
RE: RWC: 3rd/4th game All Blacks vs Wales
We are so blessed to have players that give their all whenever they wear the black jersey
Just want to pay tribute to Kieran Read,Ryan Crotty ,Ben Smith and Sonny Bill Williams ..I guess we never really get a line on how good players were until they leave ..
Also to Steve Hansen..wishing this great coach and man all the very best..to all these out going men that have contributed to the game we love so much ,
Nga mihinui ki a koutou Katoa ..!
RE: Blues 2020
Just a few thoughts now that I am home..let’s just put it perspective, it’s preseason hit out nothing more, nothing less, been around this game far too long to realise practise games are just that ..Practice games...
One can only report on what it is..
Firstly I will start with the Blues..things you can’t coach ..
Defence was good, and was paying close attention to the new faces and a couple that I am looking for more expectation ..
Really liked the look of Joe Marchant , really good on his feet and very strong, had good chat to a couple of players about him, add in what I said, and he looks to have a good rugby brain and pace..
Emoni Narawa looks really promising, could be a really addition in that vacant position ..
James Tucker looked a workhorse until Injury saw hi. Leave the field, had a quick word to him at match ends, right knee was a bit swollen , he was going to get assessed..
I was really pleased with Akira Ioane, looked much fitter and was way more involved , really direct from the boot of the scrum..
Papalii was superb, Lambourn surprised and was busy , Goodhue bought some real energy when he came on...
Liked the look of Plummer, made one slashing break and needed a runner off his shoulder on one particular hit up..
Not many scrums in the game, but the Blues looked solid for the first 60 minutes, lineout was solid..
On the Canes, if they get more accuracy on the pass , their backs are more than capable ..Ben Lam looked the best of the Canes backs and when he has Laumape running off him, they make an awesome combo ..Laumape was a handful throughout the game...
Fletcher Smith looked good at times, but I thought JGB looked better , seemed to have a bit more variety to his game and Booth had some great energy off the bench..
In the forwards ,Liam Mitchell was prominent while on,Du Plessiss busy, along with Evans...Flanders added some real punch to the loosies and Rakete Stones put some heat on Renata at scrum time in the 2nd half...
Amua was well looked after, but did break one one occasion showing how good with ball in hand he is...
On the injuries ,
Lambourn will probably need stitches to the head
Jamie Booth had a calf issue , talking to him he should be fine
Only real concerns are James Tucker who’s knee injury looked dodgy..
There was some sort of issue with James Blackwell,..unsure
Canes squad to travel to South Africa should be named shortly..
And gee Patrick Tuipulotu is a very big human being...scary guy especially given I have criticised him over the years..hope the guy for fills his potential now that he is the captain
On a lighter note, tried to convince Zarn Sullivan who was on the Blues bench to transfer up North to the Taniwha, but alas he’s signed with Auckland..
Good afternoon in the Sun..real stuff starts next week
RE: Blues v Chiefs
firstly congratulations to the chiefs that’s a hell of an effort from a team with so many injuries..from a Blues point of view I texted a friend at halftime and said I could only see one winner and it was not the home team.
My reasoning was simple if this game was close it would come down to intellect and the work rate of the chiefs forwards.
Some individuals in the squad need to have a long look themselves
George Moala for all his power with ball in hand should be sponsored by Velcro,nothing has changed in his time wether he’s playing for Auckland or the Blues.
A lack of ability to set up his outsides has been the stand out feature throughout his career and once again it was highlighted for all to see.
I also sense there was a lack of trust in defence from Matt Duffie who came off his wing on more than a couple of occasions.
Patrick Tuipulotu for all his size has a very poor work rate and should have been subbed early in the second half .
I watched him defending a wide blind when the chiefs were running forwards to the right he should have been right to the fore but was nowhere to be seen.
Melani Nanai should never start at Fullback he throws passes out the back door like its confetti,he’s winger in my opinion and does not have an all round game or the smarts to cover the fullback position.
Personally I would have SBW & Reiko Ioane in the midfield and push Nanai out to one wing and look at another option for the other.
Like a couple of others that have posted,some of the decision making is horrible.
I also sense some of the leaders in the Blues outfit need to have big look at themselves in the mirror that includes the coach who I believe waited far too long before making the required changes.
RE: Blues 2021
@taniwharugby last year Akira Ioane,Hokings Soututu,Dalton Papalii,Kurt Eklund ,Tj Faiane and Sam Nock broke a team curfew and ended up at a bar and got into altercation, with some patrons at this particular bar , Nock who was hit from behind received the wrist injury during this melee ..
The really disappointing thing for me is that Nock took the fall for the other players ,not wishing to implicate any of the other players during his disciplinary process with the Blues CEO
His Dad sat in with him as support at the disciplinary hearing and advised him to inform the CEO that other players had also breached protocol.,but refused out of loyalty, only TJ Faiane would come forward and later admit he was out with Nock .
He was also subsequently dropped for a couple of games .
Patrick Tuipulotu announced it at a team meeting that Sam had been suspended 4 x weeks , any other player breaching team work ethic would suffer the same consequences.
You have got to wonder when you are sitting there listening to this and your so called team mates say nothing .
Sam’s head went down and McDonald wanted to get rid of him last year .but a few of the leadership talked him in to keeping Sam on .
RE: Blues v Hurricanes
@tim totally agree about SBW,though he was the Blues best by a long way in a beaten team,small margins at this level,it’s all about doing the little things right
I will start with the good,thought the defence was super aggressive,but did not always get rewarded at the breakdown from Paul Williams especially.
I thought the backline in the main did a very good job defensively keeping the Canes backs in check..given you had Caleb Clark,Orben Ledger and Stephen Perofeta in the backline,all were in last years NZ under 20 team
But like most games,it’s won up front,The Canes set piece lineout was superb,and the scrum had the upper hand throughout
Just a better team at the end of the day.
RE: Unlucky Players not to get a SR Contract
@Machpants Tamati Tua was on the Blues Radar , but is booked in to have surgery this week and will not be returning until the start of the 2021 Mitre 10 Cup..
Northland Skipper Jordon Olsen is a tad unlucky was outstanding during the Mitre 10 Cup campaign, but like Tony Lamborn who has represented the USA, Olsen played international rugby for Canda last year ..
In my opinion , the 2 unluckiest players not to pick up super contracts are Adrian Choat and Lincoln Mclutchie
If Salesi Rayasi was Auckland’s best player , then Choat was the next best ..as for Mclutchie , I am still trying to figure this one out , the man has X Factor , and can open up any defence
RE: RWC: England v New Zealand (SF1)
I know many people will want a Spanish Inquisition wanting to apportion blame on either coaches or players, but you know what ,on this night of all nights, I reckon you just have to pay homage to Eddie Jones and England boys..they pretty much put together an 80 minute performance which had us rattled throughout most of it..let’s hope the boys can get up for this 3rd place game and at least send Read and Hansen out on a winning note..
Full credit to Eddie Jones for his very gracious coms during his interview.
RE: Auckland Rugby 2021
@daffy-jaffy he’s got a bit of mongrel as well, to be honest if Northland are to lose young players I would rather they were lost to Auckland with the view making the Blues moving forward ..I will be up in Whangarei next Saturday for the preseason game between Auckland v Northland , hoping to do a commentary for the live stream , if not I will put together a post report for the fern .
RE: Chiefs v Brumbies (round 4)
To be honest,it’s actually great to see an Australian team turn up on our shores playing with so much passion and intent ,they are pouncing on any chiefs mistake and even dominating up front..very well deserved halftime lead ..it’s easy to start blaming individuals in the home team,but collectively they have been outplayed across the board ..
RE: Mitre 10 Cup 2018
Sorry guys have just done a copy and paste which I put on FB
The Taniwha after a slow start conceded an early try,credit to the Southland forwards who dominated the ball in the first 15 minutes,and managed to get on the outside of Northland and scored a good try in the corner,I thought for the next 20 Northland dominated field position and ball which resulted in a series of drives to which Kara Pryor scored close to the posts and converted.
A superb try by Hyland who took in a cross kick from Debreczeni 40 metres out,showed both power and pace to run in beside the sticks which was converted,came from some great turnover work at breakdown.
Some really good D before halftime was also a feature holding out the stags for multiple phases.
A much better 2nd half and started well several minutes in with Ranger starting it taking a miss directed kick in his own half,some great inter play with Hohaia saw Ranger touch down in the left corner.
Matt Wright touched down several minutes later with a try on the right side after some great carries from Tom Robinson (my player of the day,played the full 80,seemed like he was everywhere and played most of the 80 minutes)
which was unconverted
There were many changes in the 2nd half,and while Southland had most of the ball in the last 15,the defence was impressive only conceding a late try to Stags best player James Wilson
Final score 24-12 Northland
Just a few thoughts,
As previously said,Tom Robinson was enormous,Matt Moulds the skipper always a willing support player
and Jacob Matiu just gets stuck into everything wether carrying or tackling,
Matich always plays well with plenty of energy.
Scrum was very solid in the main,and I thought had dominance in what was an even battle,
Great to see Chris Apoua who was in the Taniwha squad last year getting a run for Southland
In the backs,Blake Hohaia always looked dangerous and made a couple of superb breaks,just needs the support runners on his shoulder a tad quicker,
Good to see Tamati Tua back playing,got better as the game progressed ,
Both Ranger and Hyland were always a constant threat,Ranger always a handful,would have loved to have seen Hyland with a bit more ball,the man is a beast at the minute..
Matt Wright at the back always looking to get involved,
Just finally,really impressed with a couple of the new signings,
Jack Debreczeni looked really good in the 10 jersey,has a good pass,and a big boot,
Also really impressed with Jono Kitto who came of the bench,plenty talk from the halfback and has some nice touches,will be some good competition for all our 3 halfbacks.
If you wanted to be critical,
At least 5 x clear cut scoring chances went begging,
But better we save that for the Cup games.
No points for today’s game,but a good hit out for next weeks starter.
North Harbour at Albany next Thursday,
Credit to Southland for making the Trip up to Auckland today,all the best to you guys as well.
All the best to Taniwha coaching staff and team for this years Mitre 10 Cup .