Highlanders 2013

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

  1. admartian

    admartian First XV

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    Anyone else notice that Brad thorn's position was listed as 'Legend'? Pretty awesome.

    So where do you think Thomson goes now? Europe? I don't think Super Rugby has some sort of mid-season/off-season Free Agent type of deal do they? Or are the rosters fully set in stone (and with a limit I'm guessing too)?
     
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  3. donmcdazzle

    donmcdazzle First XV

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    Where did Paringitai come from? Bit of a random choice there.
     
  4. TRF Mr Fish

    TRF Mr Fish Your Piscine Overlord

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    Thomson will almost certainly be off to Japan - which is where Paringatai has returned from. Apparently JJ has been in contact with him for a while, and he's developed both as a person (was done for some charges back here in NZ) and as a player since he left. Ex-Northland/Crusader, for anyone who doesn't remember.
     
  5. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    pretty pointless Thomson going on this EOY tour if he's not staying in NZ

    my feeling is because of that and the fact highlanders only named 31 players he is still a good or at least some chance of staying in NZ
     
  6. donmcdazzle

    donmcdazzle First XV

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    I remember him, was ok for Northland. Wouldn't have thought he was good enough to leapfrog others playing in NZ though. Did he play for NZ Maori under JJ at any point? Could explain their link.

    Just found out he did play for NZ maori, and he is 32. Seems weird to bring back a 32year old from Japan.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  7. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Right, my thoughts on the squad:

    Props/hookers: As predicted.

    Locks
    : Again, as predicted. As has been suggested the 32nd will most likely be a lock - Verbakel and Paulo are definitely options, though I wouldn't mind if they took a punt and went for someone like young Michael Fatialofa.

    Loosies:
    Not at all happy with our selections here. I would have thought Joseph as a former loose-forward would be an expert in this area, but I think he was completely missed the mark. I was disappointed in Boys signing - he is solid, but not much more. Wheeler and Hoeata look to be battling for the 6 position - hopefully Wheeler can get through the season uninjured! The two backup 8 options really confuse me. Dixon has been with the squad for 2 years but has played about 10 minutes of rugby (largely due to injury). He may have some talent, but I would rather have someone who is likely to be fit! Parangatai is a complete WTF? selection. He was a solid NPC player 5 years ago, but is now a 32 year old who hasn't played top class rugby for years.....

    Halves: Tanaka is a great signing, and Parkers deserves his contract after a superb season with Otago.

    Midfield: Slightly surprised we signed Burliegh given we already have plenty of cover in this area, but he is certainly a handy guy to have around if we have a few injuries (as Emery may not be quite ready yet).

    Outside backs: ​ Disappointing (but predictable) that we let Baker go. Popoali'i deserves a shot, though his lack of size is still a bit of a concern. I'm not convinced by the O'Donnell signing. He is a good player, but he does have a habit of going too high into contact and turning the ball over. I wonder whether we would have been better going for another (alongside Gear) more powerful wing option (Ben Lam or Tino Nemani) to complement our smaller wings (Poki and Popoali'i).

    Overall I'm pretty happy though (apart from a few loose forward picks) - bring on 2013!
     
  8. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    This wider training group is going to be very very interesting
     
  9. Draggs

    Draggs Hall of Fame

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    Two letters. TJ.
     
  10. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Two letters. NO.

    :p
     
  11. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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  12. Draggs

    Draggs Hall of Fame

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    Ben Smith in midfield and see how Ensor does at fullback?
     
  13. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    that is not a bad shout!
     
  14. Draggs

    Draggs Hall of Fame

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    It would be good for the Highlanders and NZ. Kahui is perpetually injured, and Conrad needs a backup.
     
  15. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Losing Ellison for most of the season is a big blow for the Highlanders -we will really miss his physicality in the 13 jersey. He is a bit of a loss for the ABs too as he is currently the 2nd choice 12, though a fit Kahui could cover there (a fit Kahui is rare though).

    I wouldn't be unhappy to see Smith at 13, but I'm not sure Ensor is quite ready yet to start at Super Rugby level. He had some outstanding games for Otago during the ITM Cup, but did also have a couple of shockers. I would definitely bring Ensor into the main squad to cover for Ellison though, as we still have plenty of midfield cover even with Ellison out (Treeby, Burleigh, Nonu, Emery, Smith - even Poki can be pretty handy at 13). If Smith plays centre I think Slade may be the best option at fullback at the start of the season (for the 1-2 games he is fit). He has probably played his best rugby at fullback, and Sopoaga could be exactly what the Highlanders need at 10 to unleash the rest of the backline. Another option at fullback could be Popoali'i, but I think he is better on the wing (where he has more freedom to roam), and I'm still not convinced about him defensively at Super Rugby level.

    If the Highlanders stick with Smith at fullback I'm not sure who the best option is to pair with Nonu in the midfield. A Nonu/Emery midfield has by far the most potential (and they would complement each other very well), but Emery is still very inexperienced (he is still only 19!). Treeby and Burleigh are the other options in the midfield - both can do solid jobs, but do have a few weaknesses (Treeby - distribution, Burleigh - physicality, defense).

    Not sure what they should do in terms of a wing option to cover O'Donnell. I think they need a big powerful option in case Gear gets injured - Nemani and Lam would be two good options but are involved with the Chiefs WTG and the Sevens squad respectively (So we probably can't steal them.... not sure what the story is here). I wouldn't mind it if we got Kurt Baker back, but (a) he is with the Crusaders WTG, and (b) Joseph doesn't seem to like him very much....
     
  16. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    in another teams WTG?!?! we're bound to sign him up!
     
  17. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    losing Ellison does take a lot of experience and ability out of that highlanders backline, he just seems to do everything well. No Obvious solution, I'd be looking for Burleigh or Treeby to step up their game and demand selection. Burleigh first choice because he can actually pass. Ben Smith would own the job but who plays fullback? Ensor? He's sure to play super rugby at some point but is it a year too early? if your conservative yes, but it's probably not too early - he's not 19 and this isn't test rugby or anything. He's 22 in may? He can slap on a couple of Kg before super rugby starts, I recon he can do the job.
     
  18. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    A few interesting developments down in Highlanders country. O'Donnell has been officially ruled out for the season, with Waikato's Trent Renata brought in as a replacement. Not quite sure how to feel about that - I would have preferred another genuine wing option, but I have always been intrigued by Renata's potential. He has looked a lot better for Waikato in recent seasons since switching to fullback (from first-five) on a more permanent basis, and his massive boot and reliable goal-kicking could potentially be quite and asset at Super Rugby level, but consistency remains an issue.

    Meanwhile we have a bit of an issue in the loose-forwards, with WTG member Doug Tietjens out for the season after ruptured his Achilles tendon, while 8 Nasi Manu has a hamstring problem and utility forward Jake Paringatai a broken hand. Paul Grant is in the squad as temporary cover, and should hopefully remain there with any luck (as he was superb for Otago last year).
     
  19. TRF Mr Fish

    TRF Mr Fish Your Piscine Overlord

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    And still no news on Thomson...
     
  20. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    thomo should just sign on, even game to game, surey would be better to keep fit etc
     
  21. TRF_nickdnz

    TRF_nickdnz Super Moderator

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    Does Jamie Joseph get the players to just attack each other with hammers as part of pre season? It's been the same story of preseason injuries for the last two years...
     
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