Highlanders 2013

Discussion in 'Super Rugby' started by Jabby, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    THREE QUESTIONS
    1) A bit like saying Greece could do with some financial help but the Highlanders need a quality number 10. Do they stick with Colin Slade and back him that he can get fit by next year?
    Or do they go elsewhere?
    And is there anyone left on the shelf?
    2) Do the two veteran hookers come back again next year?
    Or is it wiser to ditch one?
    And if so, who should they get rid of?
    3) Is it not time for some of these promising Otago players to make the next step into the Highlanders?
    There are going to be vacancies in the Highlanders next year. It is time some Otago lads staked their claim.



    These 3 Questions were asked in the ODT the other day and i thought i would get TRF thought on them

    my thoughts are

    1) if there is someone else then snap them up...if not, Sopanga looked more dangerous in the first couple of games than slade has ever in an Highlanders Jersey so would look to him for the future

    2) I really want to see coltman (or another, pretty sure there is a young bloke in southland but his name escapes me) get a shot but have no idea at who's expense...Hore and Rutledge both seem unbreakable so dont see a chance to come in as injury cover

    3) I will withhold judgment until after th ITM cup, alot of new names are going to get a chance to shine, fingers crossed
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
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  3. Draggs

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    1. Yes, he is a good player when fit. Noakes has proven himself to be a good outside half, and Sopoaga is a promising player, so give Slade a full recovery.
    2. Yes, you never can tell what happens with regards to injuries. Bring Coltman in to learn from Hore and Rutledge, and use them on rotation.
    3. Agree with you Jabby, wait for the ITM Cup.
     
  4. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    1. They don't really have any option but to stick with Slade and Sopoaga, as there aren't that many quality 10's floating around! Both look to have the ability to be quality Super Rugby players when fit (which is incredibly rare in Slades case...). Noakes is serviceable at this level too. One options the Highlanders have is to let Slade go and target someone like Bleyendaal (who is only the third choice 10 at the Crusaders), but there are no guarantees he would be a successful starting 10 at this level (though he is promising).

    2. Assuming both Rutledge and Hore are playing quality rugby they would be silly to ditch either of them. If they want to bring through a young hooker he needs to prove he is better than the incumbents - I do like the idea of having 3 hookers in the squad and rotating them a bit more. Coltman is the obvious choice, but Brayden Mitchell is handy too (the South hooker Jabby mentioned).

    3. I think there will be several young Otago players that will come through this season, but as has been mentioned it is hard to tell until the ITM Cup starts. Coltman, Ioane, Evans, and Webber are among those that I would consider as possible Highlanders signing by the end of the season.
     
  5. Black_Magic

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    As for 5/8, I was very impressed by Sopoaga when he played in the beginning of the season. Noakes seems to be less creative for me, though not a bad player. Slade is not a good option for 10, he's better suited to fullback in my opinion. So resuming, Sopoaga at 10, Slade at 15, Noakes at 21. This doesn't look bad for me. And remember when they were using this 10/15 combination in the beginning of the season (before the injuries), they had very good results.
     
  6. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    I think I'd prefer to play Ben Smith at fullback - you know, the guy who has arguably been the top performing NZ fullback in Super Rugby for about the last 3 years :)

    When fit Slade is a very good 10 - unfortunately he hasn't been fit for years. He would certainly be a good option to backup Smith at 15 too (especially as I can't see Baker staying...). Sopoaga certainly looks promising, and could well be the answer too as you suggest - he just needs to get as much rugby as possible to develop his game.
     
  7. Keithmurdoch

    Keithmurdoch Academy Player

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    1. Slade / Sopoaga, can't see what the problem is really, very well served here
    2. Again, whats the problem? I'd have thought tighthead prop, a middle of the lineout lock, 7, and 12 were much greater areas of concern.
    3. Otago is rubbish, and the idea that the Highlanders should preference Otago players has handicapped them for the last 10 years or so. Thank god Southland started beating them a couple of years ago to turn this around somewhat, also that Jamie Joeseph has arrived with the revolutionary idea that he should select the best players he can find!!! (I wonder if the Blues will catch on?)
    4. I havn't read the ODT for some years now as I've gone north - sad to see it hasn't changed.
     
  8. Jabby

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    1) they ask the question as neither Sopanga or slade have managed to play more than a handful of games for the highlanders over the last two years!

    2) i would say we were good for lock and openside (when hardie is fit) and our two hookers are a hell of a lot closer to retirment than their debuts so looking for their replacement is logical

    3) The Otago squad is amost completely new and several up and coming guys from the NZ under 20's so a bit harsh to paint with the same brust as previous otago squads

    4) what does that mean? they cant review the local sports team?

    agreed, we cant change the team to fit slade, he has been brought in as a midfiled payer who can cover the outside...now that i think about it...would he be good at second five outside sopanga/noakes? the real play maker setting up ellison outside and the channel between first and second would be leathal with gear
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  9. Keithmurdoch

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    Yeah that was a bit obtuse - ODT has long had a barrow to push, expecting the Highlanders franchise to serve the needs of Otago. IMO this attitude does the H'landers no favours. I'm not sure who you're talking about in terms of up and comers from the U20s - Tom Franklin I think was in that team a couple of years ago, and I agree that Coltman looks promising, but other than that it looks a team full of journeymen again. I hope they prove me wrong, but... Ben Atiga? Really?
    As for Slade playing 12, when was the last time that actually worked? Even Carter wasn't great there for the Crusaders this year, and he's certainly more direct and better defensivly than Colin Slade. Matt Giteu and Luke McA are ok at both I geuss, but really they've both moved in to 10 rather than out to 12 - maybe the last great success for NZ moving out one was Aaron Mauger, and Colin Slade seems to me to be quite a different sort of player.

    IMHO:
    >Hardie could play 6 or 7, and we need him, Thompson, Manu, and some genuine 7 cover for next year (apparently not Tim Boys)
    >Bekuis and Rettalick were underwhelming this year, we relied too much on Thompson for lineout ball (as if he doesn't have enough to do already) and Hoeata-Crosswell is not a complimentary pairing, good as they both are. The Canes seem to have an overabundance of the sort of arial lock we need, maybe we could tap a Broadhurst or Eaton.
     
  10. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    I disagree. Parker, Webber, Blake, Franklin, and Coltman are all recent NZ under 20's players - Blake was one of the few NZ players to really impress at this seasons under 20 tournament. Gareth Evans should have been in last seasons under 20 team, but was very unlucky to miss out, while Collins and Seiuli will very likely be in next seasons under 20 team, as they are both still only 19! Though there are a few journeymen in the team this season (as there will be in all ITM Cup teams) the majority of the Otago side is filled with young, talented (but inexperienced) players.

    Ben Atiga isn't with the side this season.......

    I agree, I wouldn't put Slade at 12, as I don't he is suited to the role of a modern day 12. Not sure what the solution is here - I wonder whether we can poach Jason Emery from Manawatu and develop him to play at 13 outside Tamati Ellison (though Collins from Otago is another very promising centre) :)

    I'm surprised we signed Tim Boys this early on - he is a solid player, but I would have waited to see how Joubert and Blake go in the ITM Cup for Otago first (and it is not as though any other franchise was going to snap up Boys!). Not too worried about our locks - we had a good aerial lock this season in Retallick, but choose not to use him. I'd really like to have a couple of good young props - Fia looks to be developing nicely, but King, MackIntosh, and Murray largely only journeymen at this level. A top quality 12 would be nice too (and both Sopoaga and Slade remaining fit would be ideal!).
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  11. donmcdazzle

    donmcdazzle First XV

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    I hope not, We have enough other provinces poaching guys we don't need you lot chipping in too!
     
  12. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Oh come on - you can keep him in Manawatu, we will just take him for the Highlanders... please :)
     
  13. Keithmurdoch

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    Actually Blake was impressive, no garuntees though when you go from playing boys to men as a loosie.
    This will be Hayden Parker's forth year of ITM cup without him having overly impressed in the times he hasn't been injured. In front of him at the H'landers would be Slade, Sopoanga, Noakes, Dickson, James Wilson, Delany, and even Robbie Robinson if we could get him back.
    I'm still hopeful Shaun Treeby will develop into something at 12, it'd be good to have some options though.
    It is a younger team than I'd thought, I was looking at this
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10766699
    when i should have been looking at this
    http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/rugby/215900/rugby-brown-banks-talents-otago-players
    which includes the Japanese WC halfback! Should be interesting!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  14. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    That squad is out of date. A lot has changed since that initial squad was named in November last season, with many of the more experienced players (mainly "journeymen players") losing their contracts due to the ORFUs financial problems (e.g. McGougan, Donnelly, Ramsey, Tamihere, Fenner, Atiga, Giddens...). They have been replaced by a number of less experienced (but arguably more talented) young players, as well as a few Japanese internationals - see here for the current squad.

    This will only be Parker's third year of ITM Cup rugby. He only had three games off the bench in 2010, and played 6 matches last season (with 2 starts). He certainly wasn't outstanding, but I think it is far too soon to be writing him off, considering he is still only 21! He should be Otago's incumbent 10 this season, and could well be pushing for a Highlanders spot by the end of the year if he delivers on his potential.

    McGougan came down to Otago last season. He was completely rubbish - I'm glad we let him go!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  15. Keithmurdoch

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    yeah sorry - see above. I was editing as you were writing. I do remember McGougan struggling actually, I wonder what the issue is.
    I was going off this for Parker http://www.orfu.co.nz/otago-team/player-profile/54/hayden-parker.aspx and I havn't written him off, but talking him up as a s15 player is pushing it a bit (unless he wants to play for the Force I guess)
     
  16. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    No worries - I think the Otago team is far more young (and exciting) than we have had in a number of years. As for Parker, I'm certainly not suggesting he is a Super Rugby quality player at this stage of his career, just that he has the potential to be a Super Rugby player - the profile you have for him (written at the beginning of last season) show that he had played 3 games for Otago at that stage, not 3 seasons :) There is a thread on the current Otago ITM Cup squad here if you are interested.
     
  17. Jabby

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    I only suggest it as i though noakes and burleigh showed some promise working as dueling first fives as it were, catching the defence once or twice when the kick came from second five rather than first. Wondered if that would click into place replacing those two for fully fit sopanga and slade. without an obvious 12 out there to go and get we should maybe look at something different rather than just sticking our finger in the well with a "they'll do" second five. With treeby in the squad you'll always have the traditional option
     
  18. Keithmurdoch

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    Yeah... nah... I was looking at the bit where it says debut - 2009 vrs Taranaki

    Cheers for the link, much better informed now!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  19. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Sorry - I missed that bit! He only made his NPC debut in 2010, so the Taranaki game they mentioned in 2009 must have been a pre-season match.

    I can see the reasoning behind your suggestion - I just don't think Slade's skills are really suited to 12 (and many of his best attributes would be wasted at 12). One of Slade's best assets is his 'back-field play' (his ability to act as another fullback when required, something that is essential for 10's these days in my opinion) - in fact I'd sat his 'back-field play' is better than any other 10 in country (probably as he has plenty of experience at fullback). While Slade is a solid defender he seems to get broken whenever the opposition look at him - while I wouldn't suggest hiding him in defense, I wouldn't want to see him defending at 12 where you don't have near as much protection from the loose-forwards.

    Sopoaga would be a better option at 12 in my opinion - he has a bit of experience in the position, and I think he has the skill-set to be a top quality 12. He can step off either foot, has a good passing game, and would give the Highlanders a second playmaking option - the only issue would be his defense (which is solid for a 10, but is unproven at 12 in Super Rugby level). I actually think he could flourish at 12, as he wouldn't have the sole responsibility off running the side, something he hasn't shown in his (admittedly limited) career thus far.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  20. Keithmurdoch

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    Actually he made a good fist of 12 for the under 20s outside Garath Anscombe a couple of years ago, but I do think he has all the tools for ten - especially if Tamiti Ellison is there again next year to be the sober head, a la Conrad Smith helping Beuden Barrit get into his game at the Canes.
     
  21. Jabby

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    it's hard for the centre to be a steadying influence for the first five when there some random bloke inbetween them though.....I wonder if JJ will go after Burliegh on a full contract?
     
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