Ok, I’m as wrecked as the next bloke to not see Dan Carter taking the field. It must be devastating for him personally. But for the All Blacks, no. It is a 15 man game. Slade and Cruden are great players.
And, we’ve never won with the World’s number one player on the field. Remember Fitzy ( second one, not the first) Lomu, and oh, Carter last time round.
The ABs are a great side. But they’ve got their work cut out for them. South Africa, Wales and Australia all look as good. And this is what Tournaments are all about.
It’s been a long time since we won the Rugby World Cup. A very long time. Here is my guess at the likely team to be selected. Not the team I’d want ncessarily, but the team I think will get picked. It’s the same team Michael Brown selected for APNZ:
- Backs: Jimmy Cowan, Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui, Isaia Toeava, Cory Jane, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg.
- Forwards: Corey Flynn, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Anthony Boric, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito.
I still think it is a mistake to pick Ali Williams. Maybe he will peak in time. Just look at the stats from the game in Sth Africa this last weekend:
It took six minutes of this game before Ali Williams hit his first ruck, and he was immediately penalised for going off his feet resulting in the first three points to the Boks. He didn’t hit another ruck until the 18 minute mark. Overall he had the least ruck arrivals of any of the starting pack, and in the first half was even eclipsed by Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui and Hosea Gear for workrate at the breakdown.
Colin Slade will shine if he can get faster ball. Jimmy Cowan’s ball distribution is just too slow – or at least was against Sth Africa. Two steps and a pass won’t work against a team advancing that quickly. He needs to tidy up his goal kicking but will do well.
Adam Thomson is impressive but can’t concede penalties like he did against Sth Africa – by accounting for 40% of the All Blacks penalties on the weekend he became a real problem and slowed the teams momentum.
I feel for Gear and Guildford. Both could make any other team. And injuries could still see them in.
This guy was one of the Rugby greats. He’s now got a serious case of All Black paranoia and is generating conspiracy theories at an alarming rate. The latest – that the All Blacks are getting the benefit of referees decision — is ridiculous.
First, he seems to forget that there is often not a direct correlation between penalties and yellow cards. A yellow card for violence, for instance, is an offense not predicted by penalties.
Second, the data is skewed by not associating penalties with repeated warnings – one of the Australian’s yellow cards was for repeated warnings. If NZ had offended next it would have been theirs.
Third, if you want to play the data game, throw in post game suspensions and correlate that to yellow cards – what you discover is that both Sth Africa and Australia were the most egregious offenders in the game and the cards were warranted.
In short, the conclusion presented is woefully short on analysis, let along statistical relevance, and coupled with a fair degree of paranoia and sensationalism.
It ignores one simple fact. Both teams were beaten by the better side.
Australia didn’t deserve to win. Their lack of finishing kept them way out of the game – as did the All Blacks defense. Moreover, they were awarded a dubious try on the basis of the Ref getting frustrated with the TV officials. Pathetic.
At some point here the Australians need to face up to the fact that Deans isn’t quite cutting it right now. They have some remarkable players who aren’t coming together on the field.
While we are on pathetic – why cant the NZ Herald keep their site up. Down again from over here. I’m guessing routine maintenance. Do they understand they have an international readership?
Lets also stop the nonsense about next years game being in Japan. When you consider that the population of the greater Tokyo area is 33 million, a crowd of 45,000 or so is equivalent to a crowd of about 1400 people in Auckland. So, a good turn-out but there are other places that need a spectacle like this – the US being one. Denver would be a terrible location though. Play the game in a major metro like LA.
The trouble is, this squad is playing for a coach I can’t stomach and under an administration which I loathe, not only for having allowed Henry’s one-trick excuse act to find a receptive audience, but also its determination to run the game like a secret society that almost encourages a state of fear.
Based on the Warratah’s loosing performance to the crusaders you’d have to say that, with Deans at the helm, Australia have a more than fair chance of being this year’s TriNations Champions…