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All Blacks Backline vs Wales

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All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:49 pm

OK, I've been mainly watching the Highlanders games so far this year so I may be way off in my assessments of some players, but...

Assuming Moody/Coles/Franks/Retallick/Whitelock/Kaino/Cane/Read/Smith have the first nine spots. Then who to pick for 10-15?

10. Cruden seems to be the form 10 right now but he's not doing the goalkicking right now so we'll need to bring someone else to do that. Sopoaga has been excellent for the Highlanders and is a better kicker though lacks Cruden's dynamics. Cruden also has experience at the top level that Sopoaga lacks.
11. He's been a bit shitty this year but I'll assume Savea?
12. Charlie Ngatai?
13. Malakai Fekitoa?
14. Will Waisake Naholo be ready?
15. Ben Smith though maybe move him to the Wing for Damien McKenzie?

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:16 pm

Think you are pretty bang on there

10) Cruden - he's the number 1 attacking first five in NZ no doubt, the All Blacks are at their best when Cruden is steering the ship. His only problem is his goal kicking

11) Savea - can't go past the bus dude is devastating when in form, he'll have a few more months to get back into shape.

12) Ngatai - has come of age this season, has one test cap and the All Black selectors have spoken about him on a few occasions and hold him in high regard.

13) Fekitoa - I like Fekitoa and I believe he'll get the nod however I'm not sold on him long term. I think when SBW gets back Ngatai will move into centre as historically the AB's have always had that solid anchor in midfield who is more of a defensive selection, backline organiser and someone who generally is consistant and makes good decisions. Fekitoa doesn't fit that category. I see him more as an impact player.  

14) Ben Smith - Think he'll make the switch to the right wing in place of Skudder and Naholo who are injured and I hate to say this but my boy CJ is passed it, just can't bring back that flair he once had much like when Joe Rocks delicined just couldn't bring that magic back and that will to allow for...

15) McKenzie - definitely the form back in super rugby at the moment, kicks goals which will help Crudens case. Does anyone else get a big grin every time he starts smiling? Man I can't stop my own grin when I see him grin haha.

Not sure if they will select McKenzie at fullback over Smith, however with those wingers out, they will bring on a new winger or two which could be James Lowe or Patrick Osbourne in? If Rene Ranger gets fit and into form I reckon the selectors will pick him on the right wing and keep Smith at fullback.

Other than that, think your forward pack is pretty good though I would bring in Crockett for loosehead and have Moody on the bench.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:05 pm

I like Osborne, but (and I'm likely incredibly wrong) I feel his ceiling is Super Rugby level.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:18 pm

1. Moody (been in devastating scrummaging form)
2. Coles
3. Franks
4. Retallick
5. Whitelock
6. Kaino? (he is 33, maybe want to try someone else)
7. Cane
8. Read
9. Smith
10. Cruden
11. Lowe
12. Ngatai
13. Fekitoa
14. Smith (seems a little silly switching him to wing but now is a good time to try out DMac)
15. McKenzie

16. Taylor? (he's been going ok and I haven't really noticed any other hookers)
17. Crockett (far worse form than Moody)
18. Faumuina
19. Tuipulotu
20. ??? I want to say Elliot Dixon but I think they'll pick an openside for balance - so Todd because Savea Jr is on Sevens duty I think
21. TKB/TJP or maybe Weber to see what he's got
22. Barrett
23. Crotty
Fat camp: Savea

Without being too disrespectful to Wales, I think this is a good time to try out a few new players to see what they've got looking ahead to the RC. Or Quad Nations as I like to call it.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:38 pm

Interesting article on Stuff about this web site.

Makes the (partial) argument at the end that Sopoaga should be 10 based on his kicking.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by tryasta on Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:14 pm

@ivelostmysparky wrote:
11. Lowe

Very interesting indeed. I have always been a fan of him. However, I think Savea's got a mortgage on the jersey 11 and the coaches won't be too concerned he is not in good form in March or April, but come May, expect big things from him.

@Bren wrote:
Makes the (partial) argument at the end that Sopoaga should be 10 based on his kicking.

Also very interesting, and although I would not mind to see Sopoaga at 10, I think the coaches are not likely to experiment much at least for the first game. Without McCaw, Carter, Nonu and Smith I imagine they would like to go back to the tried and tested: Cane, Cruden, Fekitoa and perhaps Crotty ahead of Ngatai? Perhaps not. Depending on the outcome of the first test against Wales, they might choose to introduce some less experienced players.

The case of Sopoaga is very weird, though. He had an outstanding game against SA in Jo'burg last year and we all know he probably deserved a better fate than to be left behind for the World Cup. Perhaps it's time to repay him? I am afraid he'll see himself again behind Cruden and Barrett, though.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:33 am

I really like Lowe. Not the quickest, strongest, or most elusive, but a great all round player including a serious boot.

That being said, I think Savea will be the 11 for the Wales series as well as the RC. But I would like to see Lowe in the Wales series to see what he's got.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:26 pm

Interesting news yesterday about Ardie Savea pulling out of the Olympics.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/sport/rugby/ardie-savea-pulls-new-zealand-sevens-squad

Do you think he fancies himself an All Black spot? Now's the time to cement a place really. Could he play Blindside Flanker with Cane on the Openside? Kinda similar to what Australia did with Hooper/Pocock in the World Cup?

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:48 pm

Yeah that's exactly what I thought about blindside, in my opinion he would push Sam Cane out of 7 but they have invested heavily in him and see him as the future (was given the captaincy in WC).

He would fit nicely on the bench as an impact player covering 6,7,8, bring him on at 50-60 minute and let him run rampant.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by tryasta on Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:09 pm

@Activist wrote:Yeah that's exactly what I thought about blindside, in my opinion he would push Sam Cane out of 7 but they have invested heavily in him and see him as the future (was given the captaincy in WC).

He would fit nicely on the bench as an impact player covering 6,7,8, bring him on at 50-60 minute and let him run rampant.  

IMHO the key to the loose forwards is the balance. With McCaw, Read and Kaino there was that balance. Without McCaw and with Cane in, what is the balance? where is balance to be found? If we assume Read and Cane are going to be starters, I think either Vito or Kaino need to be playing at 6. I would only add Savea in the mix at the expense of Cane, not in combination with him.

A loose trio of Savea, Cane and Read could perhaps be lacking some kilos and left the All Blacks exposed at the breakdown and in the mauls. I think I would not risk playing the Boks with such a backrow.

Playing Savea as a 20 (former 19) makes much more sense to my reckoning. A fresh Savea as an impact player could be decisive and help creating the holes in tiring defenses.

PS: @Bren, I completely share your opinion. If it's not for a place in the All Blacks, what else could Ardie have had in mind to skip the Olympics? I can only assume a timely call of a worried Shag made him change his mind regarding the 7s.


Last edited by tryasta on Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : agreeing to Bren's comment)
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:03 am

I reckon Savea Jr would be good off the bench. Not keen to move Read from 8, the 6 needs to be bigger and tougher for balance, and Cane will rightfully get first crack at 7.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:22 am

I admit -- the bench is a sensible place for Ardie Savea. He'll be a fantastic impact player for the All Blacks.

His decision might simply be about consolidating his place. Going to the Olympics sets him back a year in the 15 man game effectively. Don't want to give too many chances to the likes of Matt Todd.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Pantherus on Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:51 am

Yeah - have to assume that it's for the ABs.

What what I understand (and the little I saw) he was really performing well for the Sevens so don't think it's a "it's not for me" situation.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by tryasta on Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:00 pm

Regarding the decision by Ardie Savea, this is Eric's point of view.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Fri May 27, 2016 10:11 pm

They said in tonight's game that the All Blacks squad will be announced on Sunday morning. Should be interesting.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by gimping on Sat May 28, 2016 11:36 am

Interesting suggesting smith on the wing for dmac but Dagg has been in good form and is an old hand which going off Hansen's history will probably count for a bit.

Read savea and Tafua would be an incredibly bruising back row. Cane will be the pick but would be pretty interesting.

Found fekitoa underwhelming so far but aside from smith at Centre I can't see too many promising options. Faddes if he had more games under his belt maybe?

Tuapolotu might be a push. Would be good to see Romano back in black but Dixon might be on the bench to cover lock allowing savea to be on the bench as well.

I am a big fan of mat Todd but I think he's going to be left out all together picking kaino cane savea read Tafua and Dixon.

Wings are a bit weak probably naholo and other savea as starters with versatility favored for the bench players.

Got to go for sopoanga don't we? He's not as good on attack as crude but all blacks have usually gone for more his style (solid good distribution and not afraid to take the line either) Barrett or dmac on the bench.

Crotty and ngatai will be close. Experience has usually been favored over form.

My two cents

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Sat May 28, 2016 2:10 pm

Here is my 30 man squad for Wales.

Props - Crockett, Moody, Faumuina, Franks, Toomaga-Allen
Hookers - Coles, Taylor, Harris
Locks - Retallick, Whitelock, Tuipolotu
Back row - Read, Cane, Kaino, Savea, Dixon
Half backs - Smith, Perenara, Webber
First Fives - Sopoanga, Cruden
Centres - Fekitoa, Crotty, Ngatai, Tamanivalu/Moala/Faddes
Wings - Savea, Naholo, Lowe
Fullbacks - Smith, Barrett

Only problem I had was with the midfield, such a problem we need SBW back. If Ngatai is unfit then they would most likely go for either Tamanivalu, Moala, or Faddes which two I have no idea as they are raw as fuck.

I would also think about bringing back Dagg, but if that was the case I would drop Barrett for McKenzie and go back to 3 midfielders and have B.Smith as the primary fullback but also covering midfield/wing with McKenzie bringing that 1st 5/Fullback utility value.

First XV to start in game number 1 vs Wales:

1) Crockett
2) Coles
3) Franks
4) Retallick
5) Whitelock
6) Kaino
7) Cane
8 ) Read
9) Smith
10) Sopoanga
11) Savea
12) Ngatai or Crotty if Ngatai unfit
13) Fekitoa
14) Naholo
15) Smith

16) Taylor
17) Moody
18) Faumuina
19) Tuipolotu
20) Savea
21) Perenara
22) Barrett
23) Lowe

Historically the All Blacks have always had that one big strong winger with the small pacey winger, with Savea and Naholo I think having both on the park would be damaging, but also having Lowe on the left wing would provide some balance.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sat May 28, 2016 11:57 pm

I think I read somewhere it was a 32 man squad.

1. Moody
2. Coles
3. Franks
4. Retallick
5. Whitelock
6. Kaino
7. Cane
8. Read
9. Smith
10. Cruden
11. Savea Snr
12. Ngatai
13. Fekitoa
14. Naholo
15. Smith

16. Taylor
17. Crockett
18. Faumuina
19. Tuipulotu
20. Savea Jr
21. TJP
22. Barrett
23. Crotty

24. Tu'ungafasi? Maybe Toomaga-Allen or Goodes
25. Harris
26. Romano
27. Dixon
28. Weber
29. Sopoaga
30. Moala? Maybe Tamanivalu
31. Lowe (personally I'd start him instead of Savea who is horribly out of form and shape)
32. McKenzie

Hmm perhaps there will be another forward. Steven Luatua can cover 6 and 8 and even lock. Could get in ahead of Romano or Dixon. Or could take the spot of an outside back (Lowe or McKenzie). Kinda staggering to think McKenzie wouldn't make the squad but with Barrett covering fullback and plenty fast enough to play wing he might not have a place.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Sun May 29, 2016 9:49 am

Yeah just seen it's a 32 man squad, named in a couple minutes.

In that case, I would add Taufua and Dagg or McKenzie.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Bren on Sun May 29, 2016 10:19 am

Well, here's the squad. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11646951

Forwards
Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington, 36 Tests)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, four Tests)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, two Tests)
Props
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 45 Tests)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 33 Tests)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 78 Tests)
Joe Moody (Canterbury, 11 Tests)
Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Auckland, new cap)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (Hawke's Bay, 47 Tests)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 22 Tests)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, seven Tests)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 73 Tests)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 31 Tests)
Elliot Dixon (Southland, new cap)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 67 Tests)
Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury, 84 Tests)
Ardie Savea (Wellington, new cap)
Liam Squire (Tasman, new cap)

Backs
Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato, 20 Tests)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 47 Tests)

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 36 Tests)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 37 Tests)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland, one Test)

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 15 Tests)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 13 Tests)
Charlie Ngatai (Taranaki, one Test)
Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki, new cap)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg (Hawke's Bay, 49 Tests)
Damian McKenzie (Waikato, new cap)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, three Tests)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 41 Tests)
Ben Smith (Otago, 48 Tests)

Interesting that they stuck with Kerr-Barlow but not entirely surprised there. I'm a bit surprised by the inclusion of the Mullet (Liam Squire) though -- but also delighted.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sun May 29, 2016 10:46 am

Liam Squire. Fuck me. That is the only selection which shocked me. I like him but I thought he would be behind Luatua, Taufua and Luke Whitelock for the backup 6/8 position.

Gutted for Lowe but if you are going to pick Dagg it means that one of McKenzie or Lowe is going to miss out.

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Sun May 29, 2016 11:12 am

Yeah I'm gutted for Lowe, also Perenara. Was named as injury replacement but how unlucky is he to playing the way he has over the past couple of seasons and have TKB out injured not even playing and get selected ahead of him?

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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Activist on Sun May 29, 2016 11:15 am


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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by Pantherus on Mon May 30, 2016 2:24 pm

Perenara played himself out of the Black Jersey at the WC.

Much as I like him, he's gonna have to work very hard to earn back the trust - especially when they're only taking two halfbacks.

That being said though - I can't stand TKB and don't think he's ever done himself justice in the Black Jersey, yet keeps getting selected.
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Re: All Blacks Backline vs Wales

Post by ivelostmysparky on Mon May 30, 2016 8:04 pm

TJP is obviously great on attack but makes so many poor decisions. TKB is very tough and physical and great on defense which is what the selectors want in their bench halfback it seems.

Not many other options tbf. Pulu looks to be a journeyman, Weber has a great pass and not much else at this stage, and the others are either too young and inexperienced, old and going overseas, shit, or Japanese.
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