The Blues?!

Discussion in 'Super Rugby' started by Larksea, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Muzzy

    Muzzy Bench Player

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    Yeah the only reason I can think of, is that he's in the NZ sevens team, he was easily one of the best wingers in the itm cup and one of Aucklands best players this year. I don't think Nick watched much of Aucklands games
     
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  3. TRF_nickdnz

    TRF_nickdnz Super Moderator

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    I watched all of them actually. I also watched just about every other game and compared to wingers like Gilies Kaka or Sherwin Stowers who also missed out, I wasn't overly impressed, especially considering Auckland had a good team behind them. Not saying he doesn't deserve a contract over some players which did get one - just that I can stand his omission considering who missed out.
     
  4. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Certainly a few interesting names in the Blues squad this season! I'm not sure whether Sir JK is a genius or is completely mad - I'm sure we will find out soon enough!

    Props: As others have mentioned having McCartney as the first choice LH is.....ummm..... interesting. He has never really looked that comfortable at prop, so it will be interesting to see how he goes. Faumuina is quality, Tu'ungafasi has incredible potential, and Ta'avao showed some talented during the ITM Cup - unfortunately all three are better on the TH side than the LH side. I'm not sure about the inclusion of Perry - he was ok for Tasman, but I didn't think he was a standout.

    Hookers: I'm not sure what the reason for having 3 hookers when McCartney is also included. MacDonald is a quality player, but probably won't see much game-time behind Mealamu, while Parsons may be lucky to get on the field this season (unless there are a few injuries).

    Locks: Some good quality here, and great to see Boric's name. Moli is starting to develop into the quality lock that was promised a couple of seasons ago, while I've got a lot of time for Cullum Retallick too (I was disappointed how little the Highlanders used him last season). Ali Williams may be past it in terms of AB selection, but can still do a job at this level IMO. There is plenty of good lock cover too, with Raaymakers, Luatua, and even Barrett comfortable at lock.

    Loosies: I'm a bit confused about the makeup of the loose-forwards. Kirwan obviously favours a lock/6 on the blindside, and had plenty to choose from with Luatua, Barrett, and Raaymakers (Luatua should have this spot nailed down unless he gets injured though). I'm not convinced with the depth at 8 though - Saili is the only genuine 8 and has never established himself as a starting 8 at this level. Luke Braid is probably the best 8 in the squad, but is also the best 7, so will likely start there. I'm assuming Kane Barrett may have to cover 8 - I'm not sure whether he is capable of this as he has been consistently injured for the last two years!
    I'm surprised there is no room for one of Dan Braid, Pryor, or Polwart - especially as the player effectively replacing them (O'Connor) has struggled to break into the Canterbury ITM Cup side. I do quite like O'Connor (or did when he was in the under 20's a few years ago, as that was about the last time I saw him play!), but I'm just surprised he has leap-frogged so many players who are actually playing (quality) rugby!

    Halfbacks: Gibson-Park is a good addition, but he probably won't get much gametime behind Weepu and Hall.

    First-fives: As expected.

    Midfield: Good to see Fekitoa get a contract, as he had a very good season for Auckland. I see him competing with Willison for the starting 13 jersey outside of Saili. Willison is a good pickup - I think he has been under-used by the Chiefs in recent seasons. I'm not convinced about Moala being listed as a centre - he is a big strong lad who can play centre, but he is far more of a finisher than a creator.

    Outside backs: Plenty of talented here, but there were certainly plenty of options. I'm not quite convinced about Halai - he is good, but I'm not sure he is better than the likes of Lam, Stowers, Bakers etc. I don't mind the selection of McKenzie, as he has some serious talent, and could be a top class player in future. However I do agree that someone like Kurt Baker would have been a better option purely in terms of who is currently the better player (indeed I would have found room for Baker in almost any NZ squad). I agree with a number of others that Ben Lam was very unlucky to miss out. I'm somewhat surprised that Nick doesn't rate him higher, as I thought he was one of the most (if not the most) dangerous wings in the entire ITM Cup. He has some serious pace and power - he completely destroyed Otago when we played Auckland down in Dunedin. I'm not convinced 100% by him yet as he still make a few too many basic errors and tends to drift in and out of the game, but he certainly has the raw tools to excel at Super Rugby level.
     
  5. TRF Mr Fish

    TRF Mr Fish Your Piscine Overlord

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    We all know Nick hates big, fast, powerful wingers.





    ;)
     
  6. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Yep, it is well known he prefers the Adam Whitelock style of wing.






    ;)
     
  7. TRF_nickdnz

    TRF_nickdnz Super Moderator

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    Haha - it's Lam's haircut I think. I want to take a machette to his and Dave Thomas's head.

    For the record I don't dislike Lam, I just think a few better wingers missed out.
     
  8. markshaw

    markshaw Academy Player

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    Not a huge Fekitoa fan, as he made a lot of errors even at ITM level, what will happen with the added pressure of Super Rugby? I think we could have recruited better in the midfield, I mean, even if we had Nonu we still wouldnt have had another top quality centre.. !
     
  9. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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  10. FlukeArtist

    FlukeArtist Bench Player

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    Williams to captain the Blues.

    What the 4uck....??
    The guy hasn't played a full season since about 2007.
     
  11. TRF_nickdnz

    TRF_nickdnz Super Moderator

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    I'm not sure I understand the logic behind Ali Williams captaining the Blues. Obviously Mealamu is going to be out for the start, so I see why they need another captain. Yes Ali Williams has experience - but he's also an idiot. A very, very breakable idiot. Why Luke Braid wasn't made captain is beyond me - easily their best forward at the moment and has a long term future at the Blues.
     
  12. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    I thought Luke Braid was thrown into the fire when he was made captian of the blues at that time last season and did a pretty "good job" but not great. He lead by example on the field but maybe lacked a bit of experience at times and was pretty average at the post match interviews, which lets face it are important in the modern era.

    I think Williams will do ok as long as he stays fit. Boric is another option, not a heck of a lot of other options otherwise.
     
  13. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    Not surprised to see Williams given the captaincy in the absence of Mealamu, but personally I don't think he is a good choice. I have never seen any hint of leadership abilities. To me he only looks like he is playing for one person: Ali Williams. I would have given Luke Braid the captaincy again, as he was quite inspirational at times for them over the later half of last season. Though I do agree with Larksea that he perhaps showed a lack of captaincy experience at times, but he I thought he did a good job after being thrown in the deep end, and will only improve with more experience.
     
  14. Amobokoboko

    Amobokoboko Waikato Junglist

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    On the picture in the newspaper Ali looks old tired. I hope he can prove himself worthy altho it will be a difficult task with most of the keyplayers having left.
     
  15. Amobokoboko

    Amobokoboko Waikato Junglist

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    Did Boric fully recover from his neck injury?
     
  16. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    I've seen very little information about Boric other than he is in the blues squad for 2013, which is the only positive news I've seen on him since he picked up that neck injury.

    it's been quite strange.

    First the injury was only meant to keep him out a couple of weeks.
    Then yes it was going to take longer.
    it turns out to be season ending.
    then talk that he's tempted to give up the game because of it
    Next was waiting to see if he was going to be named in the NH ITM cup squad - it's announced and he's a no show.
    Then the only positive news, he is named in the blues squad.
    Still no idea what shape he's in, what his status is.

    I've seen updates on Kahui, all over the news this week. Great to hear he is doing very well, seen nothing on Boric. I should start watching crowd goes wild more, they had him on every once in a while - maybe I missed an appearance.
     
  17. Bruthr

    Bruthr Academy Player

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    Malneek has played for the NZ15's, Toured with the Junior Kiwi's prior to Tasman Mako's, 10's World Tournament in Hong Kong, Was picked to play for NZ International 7's team from Gordon Tichens, but was injured at the time. Yes he is a journeyman, but he's a hell of a player! I am surprised that he did not get a contract for 2013 Super rugby. Robbies style is electrifying, and sometimes that's not what coaches want. I think Malneek can fit into any team, due to his versatility. The bloke has a good goal kick on him, but he wont line up for that responsibility, which in my mind, would be his ticket into a Super rugby contract. If he gets a chance at Super rugby, he will settle his critics
     
  18. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    yip, I recon if Malneek got a chance in super rugby he would not disappoint, at the very least he would be a very good bench option in the last 20min against tired defense.

    this answers the question on where Ranger will play this year.

    http://www.allblacks.com/news/21360/Centre-Ranger-has-big-role-for-Blues

    going to be interesting to see who is selected on the wings and 12.

    Ranger is a devastating player in his own right but for me when we have seen him at his best it has been when he has been in combination feeding off another player, Toeava and Payne in particular. without either of those guys in the team and no one really like them he is going to have to become the provider at 13, kinda a different role for him.

    more talk about Henry being the defense coach. I still think the biggest plus for the blues next season is going to be Ted and his defense in particular, that factor alone baring all other personal changes should see the blues have a better season. Surely Defense under Ted will be better than it was under Lam and my gut feeling is that it will be more than that, I recon they will have one of the best defenses around and be a platform for them to win matches.
     
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