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Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:27 pm

Some finish by Ben Lam.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:01 pm

Vince Also might have just topped Lam..

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:26 pm

@Bren wrote:Vince Also might have just topped Lam..

I did like Lam's first try because it was a 3 on 1 rather than a 1 on 1, but I'll give the nod to Aso for the acrobatic finish.

Julian Savea must now be the 4th choice Canes winger behind NMS, Lam, and Aso. Which would make him about 8th in the pecking order for the ABs.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by tryasta on Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:48 pm

Is Savea scoreless in Super Rugby 2018?

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:50 am

Yeah, scoreless. It's only been 4 games though so that's not necessarily telling. At Super Rugby level, he's scored 44 tries over 101 appearances (according to Wikipedia, mildly out of date) so based on some dodgy math with binomial distribution there's a 10% chance that he's playing at the same level and just hasn't gotten his chance to score a try.

Though based on simple observation, he's far from his peak. From the Hurricanes games I've seen -- I'll say he offers nothing at the moment aside from his size and strength. And honestly, you need something more than that from your winger.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by tryasta on Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:47 am

It is scaring to see so many outstanding wingers to peak and then fall without apparent explanation:

It happened to rocokoco, to hosea gear, to guilford (although his is a different case), to savea... people like Jeff Wilson or Doug Howlett... those seem to be the exceptions.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:50 pm

If a rugby game happens and Sweet Caroline isn't played on the PA, did that rugby game even happen?

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:12 pm

@Bren wrote:If a rugby game happens and Sweet Caroline isn't played on the PA, did that rugby game even happen?

Not a Kiwi home game that's for sure.
Alaimalo and Lam were both great in the Canes vs Chiefs game. No room for either of them in a starting spot with Ioane/Naholo/Smith but would be great to see them in the squad.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:35 pm

Yeah, those two were great last night.

Halfway through Highlanders-Brumbies, nice to see the Highlanders attacking with a bit more creativity than normal. I think they need a bonus point out of this game, so they need to assert their dominance. 74% possession, 86% territory is absurd to only be leading by 2.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:50 pm

That was a fun game and the YC seemed to give the Highlanders the necessary kick up the arse, as well as the introduction of Seiuli who appears to be a far superior scrummager than D L-B.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:28 pm

@Bren wrote:
@ivelostmysparky wrote:Highlanders should beat the Blues easily although their centres are a bit mediocre with the Barracuda injured.

Yeah, Walden and Thompson are both solid but unspectacular. Good tacklers, they run hard lines, but can't quite set the world ablaze like the Barracuda. I hope Faddes gets a decent run out there -- Faddes is bae after all (DID I USE THAT RIGHT?)

Blues have a pretty good backline with Pulu, Duffie, Williams, Moala, and Ioane in there. Gatland and Collins are the potential weak links. I doubt that their forward pack can get them quality ball against the Highlanders though. I haven't heard of many of those Blues forwards while the Highlanders have the luxury of Liam Coltman and Elliott Dixon on the bench.

There's literally one player left in the Blues backline out of the ones I bolded. What the hell happened Blues?

Mauger is so unimpressed he's resting Aaron Smith. Hammington was pretty good at the end of that Brumbies game so should be fine if he keeps that form going into Friday.

Still surprised that Shannon Frizell starts ahead of Elliot Dixon.

Highlanders: Ben Smith (cc), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Tyrell Lomax, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes.

Blues: 1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons ©️, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Jimmy Tupou, 6. Dalton Papalii, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Bryn Gatland, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Orbyn Leger, 14. Jordan Hyland,15. Stephen Perofeta.

Reserves: 16. Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Mike Tamoaieta/Sione Mafileo, 19. Ben Neenee, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Tumua Manu, 23. Matt Duffie.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Elsteveo on Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:40 pm

@Bren wrote:
@Bren wrote:
@ivelostmysparky wrote:Highlanders should beat the Blues easily although their centres are a bit mediocre with the Barracuda injured.

Yeah, Walden and Thompson are both solid but unspectacular. Good tacklers, they run hard lines, but can't quite set the world ablaze like the Barracuda. I hope Faddes gets a decent run out there -- Faddes is bae after all (DID I USE THAT RIGHT?)

Blues have a pretty good backline with Pulu, Duffie, Williams, Moala, and Ioane in there. Gatland and Collins are the potential weak links. I doubt that their forward pack can get them quality ball against the Highlanders though. I haven't heard of many of those Blues forwards while the Highlanders have the luxury of Liam Coltman and Elliott Dixon on the bench.

There's literally one player left in the Blues backline out of the ones I bolded. What the hell happened Blues?

Mauger is so unimpressed he's resting Aaron Smith. Hammington was pretty good at the end of that Brumbies game so should be fine if he keeps that form going into Friday.

Still surprised that Shannon Frizell starts ahead of Elliot Dixon.

Highlanders: Ben Smith (cc), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Tyrell Lomax, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes.

Blues: 1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons ©️, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Jimmy Tupou, 6. Dalton Papalii, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Bryn Gatland, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Orbyn Leger, 14. Jordan Hyland,15. Stephen Perofeta.

Reserves: 16. Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Mike Tamoaieta/Sione Mafileo, 19. Ben Neenee, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Tumua Manu, 23. Matt Duffie.

Very happy to see Frizell get another start he was immense against the Brumbies.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:28 pm

Fair call! It certainly wouldn't have been fair to drop Frizell after his performance against the Brumbies.

Just seems odd to me to consistently use Dixon in a bench role, he's performed well in the minutes he gets, and I would have thought he would be the #2 Blindside after Squire but oh well. I found Mauger's thoughts on this on the ODT web site..

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said Frizell was impressive when he had come off the bench while Elliot Dixon was more suited to starting the game on the sideline.

"Shannon has performed very well and he has taken his chances off the bench when they have came. He is very physical, as well, and the Brumbies are a physical side.We want to get his presence out there nice and early," Mauger said.

"We just feel Elliot offers a lot in the back end of the game with us. There is no better reflection in the Crusaders match where he came off the bench and was man of the match. He also can cover 6, 7 and 8 and we feel coming off the bench is where he has played his best rugby."

Must say, Highlanders are filthy rich in loose forwards. They have Liam Square, James Lentjes, and Dan Pryor injured but can still field a team that includes Frizell, Dillon Hunt, Luke Whitelock, and Elliott Dixon on the bench. Almost embarrassing.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:01 pm

Meanwhile the Blues have Akira, Kaino (injured like half of the Blues squad), the lesser Pryor brother, and a bunch of kids.

BTW Duffie isn't injured - he is on the bench. Dropped for Hyland it seems but he got a rough deal having to mark Li who has been in hot form.

Anyway I want to see the Barracuda back in action. Anyone know when he is returning?
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:21 pm

I quite rate Duffie so I'm surprised to see him on the bench. I haven't really seen much of the Blues though so not sure what his performance has been like.

The Barracuda was meant to return in April but this ODT Article from today is lacking in info.

The only injured players they have are loose forward Liam Squire (thumb), and midfield backs Richard Buckman (neck) and Thomas Umaga-Jensen.

Squire should be back in three weeks although return dates for Buckman and Umaga-Jensen are less certain.

I wonder if we'll see him before Super Rugby takes a break for the All Blacks-France tests?

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:21 pm

With Read out of the French tests we've got Ioane vs Whitelock battling head to head for the No.8 spot tonight. Who you got?
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:27 am

@Bren wrote:Still surprised that Shannon Frizell starts ahead of Elliot Dixon.

Bloody bugger goes and scores a hat-trick of tries. Good to see the Highlanders get the bonus point win, anything less than that would have been disappointing against such a injury-depleted team.

Blues misery continue, funny though, under this new system it's theoretically possible for the Blues to be the worst team in the NZ conference and still make the playoffs (it was impossible before), they're currently only two competition points behind the 8th placed Bulls! (but have played an extra game)

It would be interesting to see if there is a feasible path for the Blues to make the playoffs without beating any NZ teams.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:35 am

@ivelostmysparky wrote:With Read out of the French tests we've got Ioane vs Whitelock battling head to head for the No.8 spot tonight. Who you got?

My pick between Ioane and Whitelock would probably go down to who else is starting and who can balance it out. Whitelock offers a quiet output of useful work while Ioane offers some powerful running. I don't think either player has laid claim to that jersey and last night didn't see either really stand out for me (though I missed parts of the game).

Is Ardie Savea not in the mix for the no.8 spot though? He's played there for the Hurricanes.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:07 am

So, assuming it's a 33 man squad for this test series. Who are we looking at?

Hookers Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Liam Coltman (Dane Coles injured)

Props Owen Franks (T), Ofa Tu'ungafasi (T/L), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (T), Tim Perry (L), Daniel Lienert-Brown (L) (Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Kane Hames injured)

Locks Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu (or Luke Romano)

Loose Forwards Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire (if healthy), Luke Whitelock, Akira Ioane (Kieran Read injured)

Halfbacks Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Mitchell Drummond (TJ Perenea injured)

First Five-Eighths Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga (Richie Mo'unga injured)

Midfielders Ryan Crotty, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue (Sonny Bill Williams injured)

Outside Backs Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith, Ben Lam, Israel Dagg (Nehe Milner-Skudder injured)

Utility Damian McKenzie

I assume Lima Sopoaga is still available for the French tests but not the Rugby Championship. If Mo'unga was available then I would have picked him for that second 10 spot despite rating Sopoaga above Mo'unga.

Edit: there seems to be 34 players in this squad, I based it on this supposed 33 player squad selected last season which appears to have 34 too. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:32 pm

Mo'unga, TJP, SBW, NMS, Moody, and Squire should all be available by then even if not match fit.

Todd overtook Ardie Savea last year in the pecking order so I think he'll be in. I doubt they'll seriously consider Ardie at 8. Squire/Fifita at 6 and Squire/Ioane/Whitelock at 8.

Patrick Tuipulotu has been part of a poor Blues team so Barrett and Romano will be in ahead of him. Though it might be a good chance to get him away from the Blues environment.

I'm not sold on the idea of Tim Perry or DLB being ABs but we'll need at least one new loosehead due to injuries and retirements. I'm picking Aki Seiuli for a bolter.

Dagg has a lot of work to do if he wants to be in the squad.

You would think the 3rd halfback will be between Weber and Pulu. Although Drummond/Hall or even Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi would be in the mix.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:20 pm

If not Dagg, who do you pick? Lots of options but not sure who stands out.

I went for Weber/Drummond because I believe they're the ones that have got attention from the selectors in the past -- that was pretty much my whole reasoning. If TJP is healthy then I'd imagine they'll select the one closest to their future plans. Current form doesn't matter too much since they likely won't play.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:12 pm

@Bren wrote:If not Dagg, who do you pick? Lots of options but not sure who stands out.

Should mention: Nehe Milner-Skudder, obviously. If he gets match fit and shows form. When is he meant to return? Couldn't find anything specific.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by Bren on Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:07 am

Every single team in the Australian conference lost this week.

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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by ivelostmysparky on Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:27 pm

Drummond was with the BaaBaas so was a selection of convenience more than anything against French XV last season. TTT makes the foundation day squad. As does Duffie and J Savea yet no Lam or Alaimalo. Guess Dagg might get a reprieve too then - although he has about 5 Super games to show his worth.

I read recently that NMS was going to play rugby again in a couple of weeks although it might be club rugby. Either way he'll be back soon.
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Re: Super Rugby 2018: Or Why It's Going To Be The Year Of The Highlanders Bitches

Post by tryasta on Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:34 pm

With Milner-Skudder one has the feeling that every time he comes back from injury the question is : for how long? A bit like Corey Flynn.

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