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Super Rugby 2016

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Thu May 05, 2016 11:06 pm

Who is going to win in Chiefs v Highlanders? Ngatai and Lowe are back so I think the Chiefs will win, but I'll be cheering for the southerners.
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Bren on Thu May 05, 2016 11:27 pm

I'd put money on the Chiefs. They're smooth and I don't think they'll give the Highlanders too many chances to attack in broken play

It's a critical game for the Highlanders though From memory, they've still got another game against the Chiefs plus the Crusaderrs and Hurricanes coming up. Lose too many of those local derbies and they risk being overtaken by the second place Australian team who probably have an easier run.

I'm sure I'll be cheering my fingernails. Go Highlanders!

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Fri May 06, 2016 3:29 am

The problem I see with the Chiefs (sorry, Activist) is that for all their attacking firepower, they tend sometimes to rely too much in their backs. That somehow (don't ask me why) means their forwards are not able to provide an adequate platform from the set piece and they see themselves needing to rely in miracle plays to win games.

As much as I like the Highlanders, and I think their approach is a more balanced one, I think the outcome of the game will mostly depend on what the Chiefs forwards will do. If they are the tough pack of the first super rugby rounds, they'll win. If they become the soft pack of the latter part of 2015, the Highlanders will take it.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Activist on Fri May 06, 2016 8:30 am

Will be a good game, another All Blacks trial. Personally think which ever halves combinations controls the game better will come out on top.

Weber and Cruden vs Smith and Sopoaga is a juicy match up. Fekitoa moves in one to 12 and lines up against Ngatai, McKenzie vs Smith at fullback, Naholo vs Lowe.

Damn what a game in store!


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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Bren on Sat May 07, 2016 7:23 pm

I'm hyped for this game.

Got myself some Emersons. Ready for the Highlanders to do their thing.

I really hope their thing is winning.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Activist on Sat May 07, 2016 9:36 pm

Good win for the Highlanders, looks like they got their mojo back.

Never really took notice of the age of the chiefs, very young side. They will take a lot from this loss and they'll come back stronger because of it.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Bren on Sun May 08, 2016 12:43 am

Loved it. This definitely makes the playoff spot a bit more secure for the Highlanders. Looks likely we'll have four NZ teams in the playoffs. A pity only one gets to host a quarter-final.

Did Ngati just secure the All Blacks 12 jersey?

And what a great performance from Naholo. If it keeps that kind of energy up then he must be the pick for the 14 jersey.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Sun May 08, 2016 1:32 am

Great game. Lived up to the hype. Naholo was superb in all facets. He even managed to win/force 3? ruck turnovers/penalties. I thought he might take some time to regain last year's mojo but clearly not. If he keeps playing like that he'll be the AB #14 for sure with NMS out injured.  

Other highlight of the game: Unheralded Highlanders back row of Dixon, Pryor, and Whitelock (the latter 2 normally bench players) doing the business against Cane and co.

I think Ngatai is clearly the best #12 in NZ (and this is from someone who loves Crotty) but I wasn't impressed with his challenge on Elliot Dixon. Have a look at the clip here. He uses his right arm to tip Elliot over his shoulder. I expect he'll be cited and get banned for a few weeks which will be a real shame because I love watching him play.
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Sun May 08, 2016 7:29 am

Yes! absolutely!!! I think the highlanders loose forwards are outstanding and even though I love Pryor, I thought not having Christie and Squire could make life too difficult for them.

With Ngatai, like with Proctor, or Woodward, or Fonotia or even Jason Kawau some time ago I had the same feeling: a lot of talent, but somehow there's always a reason for them not to take it to the next level. I hope Ngatai can prove me wrong.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Activist on Sun May 08, 2016 12:19 pm

Apart from being sent off Ngatai was awesome, every time he got the ball he made the right decision and created something out of nothing, whether it was with his kicks or his running lines - breaking tackles, offloading, defence was pin point, no doubt he'll get the AB #12 jersey.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Pantherus on Mon May 09, 2016 9:11 am

News said that Ngatai's avoided suspension from his infraction. Good luck to him and yeah, looking he's got the 12 jersey sewn up.
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Bren on Mon May 09, 2016 3:22 pm

I missed this from last week, but Damian McKenzie has rejected the Blues and resigned with the Chiefs.

I find it interesting, considering his preferred position is apparently 10 that he turned down a chance to walk into the jersey at the Blues. Says a lot about the culture and organisation of the Blues vs the Chiefs I say. The Blues don't really seem capable of getting the most of their talent. McKenzie figured he'll develop better with the Chiefs -- even if he's not in his preferred position.

(or maybe it was his Southern genes kicking in. I'm sure I have a t-shirt around somewhere saying "I support two teams: Otago and whoever's facing Auckland")

Chris Rattue thinks McKenzie made the wrong choice.

Also spotted, this article arguing that we need an Americanised Draft system in place. I'll disagree with this, I don't think we have a problem with parity to be honest. The best-run teams seem to rise to the top, our smallest market team won the championship last year while our biggest market team is awash in mediocrity.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Mon May 09, 2016 6:38 pm

Well, here you have it. If Rattue says he was wrong, then you need no other prove: He did the right thing.

I have said it in a hundred of rugby blogs, news, etc... But stopped reading anything from Rattue since he wrote this article.

I found it extremely biased, absolutely pointless and very disrespectful not only to France, but also to the All Blacks. Of course, after the game he was a vocal supporter for Graham Henry to be given the boot.

Ever since I discourage others from reading whatever Rattue says Razz
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Mon May 09, 2016 7:38 pm

I understand not going to the Blues in the last few years because they were shit. Still can't believe they thought Benji Marshall was a good idea. But now that they are mediocre and the fact that he prefers 10 with Cruden blocking him at the Chiefs, it seems like a decent idea to me. Hopefully he doesn't become the next Gareth Anscombe (does McKenzie have a Scottish grandparent?).

Also disagree with the draft system. Just need to make sure 1 franchise doesn't hoard all of the talent for 1 position (e.g. halfbacks TKB, Weber and Pulu at the Cheifs and I think I read somewhere that Pulu is off to the Blues next season).
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Mon May 09, 2016 7:55 pm

You are completely right in the Benji Marshall thing. I have never seen a bigger amount of talent spoiled. I have never seen a guy running so much to go nowhere. I have never seen a league convert playing so awfully.

In any case, I think that regardless of what Damian McKenzie may prefer, he's a back three player and his coaches and hopefully the All Blacks selectors will be able to convince him.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Bren on Mon May 09, 2016 8:03 pm

@ivelostmysparky wrote:Hopefully he doesn't become the next Gareth Anscombe (does McKenzie have a Scottish grandparent?).

How far back can you go? His father (Brent McKenzie -- almost an All Black himself) played rugby in the 80s which would likely mean that his parents (Damian's grandparents) were probably born here. You'll probably need to go back to great-grandparents to find an immigrant as most Scots arrived in Dunedin 1840s to 1970s. I've got a Scottish last name and you need to go through a few generations to get to the actual Scottish people. Doesn't really mean anything though. Just idle speculation.

@ivelostmysparky wrote:Also disagree with the draft system. Just need to make sure 1 franchise doesn't hoard all of the talent for 1 position (e.g. halfbacks TKB, Weber and Pulu at the Cheifs and I think I read somewhere that Pulu is off to the Blues next season).

Players will hopefully try to maximise their own opportunities, if they're not getting game time at one franchise then they'll hopefully make a strategic switch to somewhere else. Pulu is a great example of that happening. Maybe a player option can be written into their contracts to leave early if they're not getting game time. I don't think I'll be overly opposed to an American-style trading system (in the offseason only though) that'll allow teams to mutually benefit.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Pantherus on Mon May 09, 2016 9:15 pm

Amusingly - Canterbury was, quite recently, hoarding all the good NZ 10s - suddenly they have none Smile
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Tue May 10, 2016 6:21 am

I think you need to have a grandparent born in Britain, rather than great-grand. So if the McKenzie clan came to NZ prior to *does quick math* let's say 1900 to be conservative, he won't be Scottish qualified. He should get capped by NZ soon though to make this a moot point.

Some kiwis don't even know they are eligible for a British county. Thomas Waldrom apparently rang his mum in the middle of the night to check if grandma was born in England on the advice of his agent. BTW he has like 20 tries for the season, unbelievable for a forward.


Last edited by ivelostmysparky on Tue May 10, 2016 6:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Tue May 10, 2016 6:22 am

@Pantherus wrote:Amusingly - Canterbury was, quite recently, hoarding all the good NZ 10s - suddenly they have none Smile
The thing about Carter, Slade and Taylor was that they could all play at least 1 other position so they weren't wasted on the bench, or even out of the team completely. Often had Taylor and Slade at 15 & 12. Halfbacks don't tend to play multiple positions unless you're Weepu or French.
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Tue May 10, 2016 7:34 am

in the case of Slade they could play pretty much everywhere in the backline...

However, nowadays it's a bit of a curse to be able to play somewhere else if you eant to be a first five. Just look at the McKenzies, Anscombes, Andrew Horrells (he was initially brought to the Chiefs as a 10)... even Barrett is somewhat victim of his versatility.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Pantherus on Tue May 10, 2016 9:12 am

@tryasta wrote:in the case of Slade they could play pretty much everywhere in the backline...

However, nowadays it's a bit of a curse to be able to play somewhere else if you eant to be a first five. Just look at the McKenzies, Anscombes, Andrew Horrells (he was initially brought to the Chiefs as a 10)... even Barrett is somewhat victim of his versatility.

Ironically with Barrett though - if it weren't for his ability to play fullback so well he'd have struggled to make the WC team ahead of Sopoaga...
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by tryasta on Tue May 10, 2016 6:08 pm

@Pantherus wrote:Ironically with Barrett though - if it weren't for his ability to play fullback so well he'd have struggled to make the WC team ahead of Sopoaga...

You may well be spot on here...
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Activist on Wed May 11, 2016 8:04 pm

There has been a lot of talk about who should be 1st 5 whether it is Cruden, Sopoaga or Barrett, or whether McKenzie should be fullback and move the best fullback in the world Ben Smith on to the wing, to be honest I reckon lets throw in McKenzie at 1st 5, that sorts that out.

If they can put Sopoaga at 10 on debut in Ellis Park or Tom Taylor at 10 vs the Wallabies, why not throw McKenzie in at 10 and see how the young fella goes, as apparently that is his best position!

I think we'll see the normal forward pack of Moody, Coles, Franks, Retallick, Whitelock, Kaino, Cane and Read, which will set the platform for the rather inexperienced back line to do their thing, so even though we've seen the departure of Nonu, Smith in the midfield, we'll still have the likes of Aaron and Ben Smith, Savea who are now considered senior players to add that stability to a somewhat inexperienced 10/12/13/14 back line.

When SBW gets back he'll take that 12 jersey back and Ngatai will move to centre imo, that will most likely give that midfield the balance needed, Malakai to the bench covering centres with Barrett covering 1st 5 and fullback.

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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by ivelostmysparky on Thu May 12, 2016 4:35 am

I can't see them having a 12-13-14 combination with about 20 caps between them, and having a new 10 as well. Experienced as the forward pack may be. Gotta be Cruden at 10 in the first test.
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Re: Super Rugby 2016

Post by Activist on Thu May 12, 2016 8:16 am

Yeah I agree with that, it's a sensible option.

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