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[Article] The NZ Cup contenders: Div 2 teams

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[Article] The NZ Cup contenders: Div 2 teams

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:48 pm

In preparation for an announcement of an exciting Cup prediction competition, here is the rundown for the teams to watch across the 4 Division II leagues. The Top 20 ranked NZ teams get a write up. Division One teams will analysed by Bren shortly. Top Division Two teams can often go far in the Cup due to them being able to get wins on wnwim against some league opponents, something which Division One teams can't rely on.

[split].

Foxton Foxes
Managed by SleeperZ
League: II.1
NZ rank: 8th
Cup performance last season: R10 (Semi Finals)
League performance last season: 2nd in II.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 251,110
If you are looking for an outside bet, you could do worse than picking the best that Foxton has to offer. Last season they were only an agonizing 2 points away from proceeding to the final losing 35-33 to Hercufleas United in the Semi Finals. Their best player is Number 8 Mansfield Minchin who has been capped for the All Blacks 5 times, yet was overlooked at U20 level. He is known for being a bad-boy and last season in the League was penalised 29 times and only won 9 turnovers.

Norse Viking's
Managed by aius
League: II.4
NZ rank: 9th
Cup performance last season: R8
League performance last season: 1st in II.4
Average 1st XV CSR: 284,523
The Norse Vikings are certainly a good team with them winning II.4 the last 2 seasons but falling just short on the promotion qualifier to the top flight both times. Last Cup season saw them get upset 31-30 upset by the unfancied Gunslingers. A normal wasn't quite good enough to get past the Gunslingers LTNT intensity. Their best player is ex Dutch NT lock John Croghan. The 207cm lock played 198 times for the Dutch NT and U20 teams and has a wealth of experience to draw upon. His lineout stats for the league are truly remarkable winning 3.46 lineouts a match, stealing 1.56 and losing only 0.34 per match. Best to avoid lineouts against the Vikings I think.

Okaiawa
Managed by Brentton
League: II.1
NZ rank: 11th
Cup performance last season: R5
League performance last season: 8th in I.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 242,941
Okaiawa couldn't handle Division One last season and saw them finish last. Last season's Cup was an unhappy one too as they crashed out early in R5 to Carnage 24-19. Both teams played normal intensity but Okaiawa just couldn't overcome the home advantage enjoyed by Carnage. A player to watch is fullback Andras Everard. The homegrown player came out of their academy played 28 times for the NZ U20s and is now 26yo. The team is captained by centre Bogdan Tychkin who has played 138 games for the Russian NT and I'm sure he will be looking to lead by example.

T-Hawks
Managed by SJTrugby
League: II.3
NZ rank: 12th
Cup performance last season: R8
League performance last season: 7th in I.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 244,117
The T-Hawks have been promoted to Division One twice, but were relegated back to Division Two straight away on both occasions. Last season they were so close to avoiding auto relegation and just 1 more win would have seen them finish a respectable 5th. They exited the Cup last time around due to playing wnwim while their opponents the Napier Cavaliers hit the LTNT button and sneaked home 35-28. The Hawks best player is inside centre Luke Bellmaine. He played 39 times for USA U20 team and has made on average 69m per League game and 0.83 linebreaks so his opponents should look to keep him quiet.

Fellas
Managed by Elsteveo
League: II.2
NZ rank: 13th
Cup performance last season: R7
League performance last season: 2nd in II.2
Average 1st XV CSR: 228,521
Fellas managed to finish 2nd after winning the semi final away from home, but were well beaten in the final 60-9 by Monkey Nuts. In the Cup they were knocked out by Excelsior in R7 27-11 with their LTNT proving to be not good enough. The main man for the Fellas is the big fella himself All Black Nasoni Whakapapa who is 205cm tall and weighs 126kg. This beast has played over 100 times for the All Blacks and U20s. He has battled with a discipline problem over his league career (seems to be a theme among the teams I'm looking at) and has conceded 500 penalties while only winning 200 turnovers. Last season he did well however by only giving away 3 penalties and winning 7 turnovers - perhaps his experience is finally high enough to overcome his rebellious spirit.

Monkey Nuts
Managed by cheekymonkey
League: II.2
NZ rank: 14th
Cup performance last season: R8
League performance last season: 1st in II.2
Average 1st XV CSR: 258,186
Monkey Nuts may have won league II.2 last season but they were comfortably beaten in the promotion-relegation qualifier 40-26 to Div 1 team FRuity Oenological Gastronomes. They also did well in the Cup making it to R8 before a LTNT proved fruitless going down 24-18 to the Purple Pumpkins who dismissed them with a normal intensity effort. Someone to look out for in the Monkey Nuts is 100 Cap Hong Kong blindside flanker Fai Bennett. He is a balanced player at the breakdown giving away 0.37 penalties per game and winning 0.38 turnovers. Bennett is also known for being a punishing defender and a strong ball carrier.

WuhC
Managed by gregmidds
League: II.1
NZ rank: 15th
Cup performance last season: R8
League performance last season: 3rd in II.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 259,243
In last season's league WuhC finished 3rd after losing in the semi finals to Foxton Foxes and beating Rhymes with Orange in the bronze match. In the Cup they were eliminated in R8 by none other but the Foxton Foxes. It should have been an even battle with both teams playing normal intensity and near identical CSR, but WuhC was down on energy and paid for it with a limp 28-13 loss. One of WuhC's best players is a young lock by the name of Eoghan "Gooseman" Ruddick. The 22yo played 14 times for the NZ U20s but is known for being a bit of a penalty magnet. On average he gives away 1.08 penalties per match and wins 0.35 turnovers. But he is improving and last season it was a 3:2 ratio (9-6) - I'm sure his manager hopes he will get closer to a 1:1 with time, and perhaps even more turnovers than penalties. His core duty of lineouts is excellent only losing 1 last season while stealing 15. This one white boy who can jump.

Rhymes with Orange
Managed by EC
League: II.1
NZ rank: 16th
Cup performance last season: R7
League performance last season: 4th in II.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 231,789
Rhymes with Orange They finished 4th after the round robin and remained 4th after the playoffs due to being on the receiving end of 2 thrashings. They took a dive in R7 against the Foxton Foxes as their B-team were thumped 111-0. Someone who catches the high in the Orange setup is prop Chris Burke. The 195cm 133kg prop is certainly a big boy and represented the NZ U20s 29 times. Burke has exceptional handling as evidenced by him zero handling errors last season and only one forward pass from his 113 ball carries, and he has a nose for the try line too bagging 4 tries. He is just so hard to stop close to the line and is the cornerstone of the scrum playing at tighthead.

Ulysses Riders
Managed by Brian_Taylor
League: II.4
NZ rank: 17th
Cup performance last season: R8
League performance last season: 2 in II.4
Average 1st XV CSR: 245,224
Ulysses Riders finished 2nd in the league standings and remained 2nd after the playoffs after they were outclassed 37-14 by the Norse Vikings. They did well to make it to R8 in the Cup where their B-team were beaten 95-0 by the Millennium Falcons who went on to win the Cup. The best player of the riders is Chilean National Team player Imperio Espinosa who has won 35 caps at the tender age of only 24. He moves his team around the paddock from the flyhalf position with good tactical kicking, and is a Deadeye Dick with 80% of kicks at goal successful. Perhaps the most remarkable stat of Espinosa is at the lineout with him securing 5, conceding 5 and stealing 0. Why the 185cm 82kg kicker was ever involved in a single lineout is a mystery.

Los Lobo
Managed by Tharbridge
League: II.3
NZ rank: 18th
Cup performance last season: R7
League performance last season: 6th in II.3
Average 1st XV CSR: 236,544
Last season Los Lobo finished a disappointing 6th via a 3-way tie on 32 points for 5th to 7th places - and the 4th place team got 33 points. Crazy stuff that 1 point separated 4th to 7th spot; finals playoffs and automatic relegation respectively. They made it to R7 in the Cup before flopping against the Falcons to lose 118-3. The player that you just cannot miss when looking at the Los Lobo squad is Vance "Twinkle toes" Newman. The 178cm 130kg 22yo front rower played an amazing 58 times for the NZ U20s and is close to an All Black call up. Newman was always destined for greatness when he was promoted from Los Lobos academy with a CSR of 49732 as soon as he turned 17.

Elbanditos
Managed by fiscal
League: II.4
NZ rank: 19th
Cup performance last season: R5
League performance last season: 3rd in II.2
Average 1st XV CSR: 219,109
Elbanditos finished 3rd in the league after losing the semi final 60-41 to the Ulysses Riders but winning the bronze match 33-21. The Cup was a disappointment losing in R5 against the unheralded Division 3 team Sumo's Revenge. A LTNT from Sumo proved to be too strong and they advanced 32-19 at the expense of Elbanditos and their normal intensity. Their best player is winger Christopher "Turnstyle" Turnball. He has 28 caps for the All Blacks and is known for his pace and agility. This is reflected with him making over 50m per game and nearly 1 linebreak each game. Perhaps something Turnball could work on is his try scoring. Five tries last season and four before that is not great for an All Black wing playing against Division Two teams.

Innocent Dingo's
Managed by Innocent Dingo
League: II.1
NZ rank: 20th
Cup performance last season: R7
League performance last season: 5th in II.1
Average 1st XV CSR: 230,966
In last season's league they finished 5th, just a measly 3 points adrift of 4th place and the playoffs. In the Cup they lost to the T-Hawks and were eliminated 39-20. Not even their LTNT against a wnwim could save them. A player to watch for the Dingos is NZ U20 rep Liam Korp. He is not one of the best players in the squad yet but looks to have a bright future out on the wing. His stats are very decent for 20yo. He scores every 2 games, and on average he makes 40 metres, 0.8 linebreaks, and 0.5 try assists per game.


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ivelostmysparky
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Re: [Article] The NZ Cup contenders: Div 2 teams

Post by Activist on Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:05 pm

This is one heck of an article bro it must have taken an age! I enjoyed it.

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Re: [Article] The NZ Cup contenders: Div 2 teams

Post by ivelostmysparky on Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:49 pm

Thanks. Didn't take that long - only about an hour even with trawling through last season's Cup and Leagues. I type fast and am good at talking out my hole silent
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