Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wild is the Weekend

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sione Lauaki is a very good player, he is ideally suited to breaking structured defences and providing defence close to the ruck. He was asked to sub for openside flanker in a game where we did not take line-outs, they did not take scrums and their loose forwards turned the ball over too quickly for the defence to set. He truly had a crap game, because our coach put him on as a game breaker for a play structure that Did Not Exist.

    Lauaki didn't replace the openside, he replaced the #8. Rodney replaced Braid on the openside.

    Your argument would make some sense if Lauaki had been asked to play openside. He wasn't, he was asked to play #8, a position he plays regularly. His job was to tackle, and to run the ball up from the base of the scrum and first-pass from the breakdown. He was awful at all three of those things.

    Maybe if they had subbed on Stephen Donald as well, the bumbling might have been fixed.

    Except Stephen Donald presumably would have replaced Carter, and he was a bright light amongst a dim All Black performance. Maybe Nonu I guess. Shame he can't play in the forwards.

    But Kahui did well for his 2nd game. Outplayed Conrad Smith.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    The Roar's Spiro Zavos's family's thing - it's often a good read, particularly with Zavos senior is writing.

    I don't disagree with any of this commentary but Braid wasn't turning over much ball so I suspect that Henry thought to give Lauaki some time to see what he could do. It didn't work and sadly for both Braid and Lauaki, neither seem likely to have more chances (I think legbreak's right, Lauaki's not produced often for the ABs). I'm still left wondering who is the best 7 when McCaw's not playing?

    Interesting comment about Mealamu; once the best hooker, now clearly second best.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Outplayed Conrad Smith.

    Well that's a little hard to argue. Smith played well against RSA but certainly Kahui played well on the w/e. The point is that not one substitute played well.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Mealamu rightly copped a bit of flak for the Brook loss.

    PW, Cowan went well until he broke.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Except Stephen Donald presumably would have replaced Carter, and he was a bright light amongst a dim All Black performance.

    Carter's line breaks were scintillating. They should have come to more -- unfortunately, his teammates' support play was as bad as their ball handling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Russell, that rather good assessment is from Inky, a Kiwi.

    They’ve produced so many loose forwards who are unable to make the step up.

    Ouch. Duane Monkley hates you now. I can't see why the selectors won't pick Liam Messam - he seems like a real #8, unlike the one dimensional Luaki. Tuiali’i has got to be pretty unlucky not to get called up also.

    Ooooh, and while I'm here, can I pimp my Dingo Deans cartoons? Ta :)

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and Tracey has not only her game stats but a column:

    The frightening thing is, Australia did nothing amazing or out of the ordinary to beat the All Blacks. They just played simple, structured rugby and forced the All Blacks into making mistakes. Other than a couple of linebreaks by Tuqiri, they never threatened to cut us to pieces. But they definitely out-passioned us, it was obvious they were hungrier for the win, more aggressive in the tackle and collision zone, and most importantly had done their homework and targetted the breakdown as one of our weaknesses. They also had the luxury of two kickers in their inside back pairing of Giteau and Barnes, another weakness in the All Black game as Nonu does not kick therefore his only options are to run or pass.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    No, he had a crap game because he gave away the ball nearly every time he received it. Literally.

    That was predestined.

    He is a line breaker, but that isolates him from the support and it takes good loose forward cover to get to him to secure the next phase. They had far better loose forwards. He needed to either not charge the line, hold on in the tackle or look to pass - second two options give the ball away and the first is silly.

    He had solid games against the Boks, made suitable impact. But their loose trio are less mobile and they played a more structured game.

    Good player, wrong game.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russell, that rather good assessment is from Inky, a Kiwi.

    So it is -- I missed the byline. I know Inky in real life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Carter's line breaks were scintillating. They should have come to more -- unfortunately, his teammates' support play was as bad as their ball handling.

    Agreed, and it was surprising which tacklers he elluded.

    LB, yeah, Cowan did seem to be going well.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Oh, and Tracey has not only her game stats but a column:

    I've long admired Nelson. All of her views are well thought out, clearly expressed and backed-up with numbers. She's easily one of the most astute writers around, why no weekly column I ask?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    One of the things floating around my office is "If he loses this weekend, Henry must fall on his sword".

    Which seems a little harsh, we did, after all, have four years of bliss. Though, like players, coaches do eventually go past their use-by date.

    If we were to cull him who would replace him? All the best NZ coaches are coaching other countries.

    Somehow I don't see Colin Cooper being an All Black coach in the near future.


    I will say though, we appear to be successfully cure of the post-world cup Rugby malaise, people are passionate!!!

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Actually, someone's just pointed out to me that Kaino actually ran beautifully in support of Carter at one point, and would very likely have scored a try if Baxter hadn't been holding him back from taking Carter's pass just metres from the line.

    Joubert missed that one too -- and, to be fair, a similar professional foul by Sivivatu in the first half. Jeez.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Not sure that Henry would fall on his sword, even if we lose to Samoa “B” at the start of September.

    As for a possible replacement, what about Deans? Sports contracts aren’t worth anything these days

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    So that's two tries that went begging...

    Still, it's Waikato/BOP versus the Swifts tonight... I was offered tickets but have no babysitter!

    Lets see if we can't restore some trans-Tasman balance by beating them tonight!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've long admired Nelson. All of her views are well thought out, clearly expressed and backed-up with numbers.

    I might even go so far as to say she knows more about rugby than anyone I've ever met.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Lets see if we can't restore some trans-Tasman balance by beating them tonight!

    Amen to that, go the Magic.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Having watched some of the earlier games, I reckon it is time (if they haven't done so already) they introduced the yellow card for some Australian netballers!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bob McCoskrie is on The Panel at the moment, talking about the Family First ad.

    He has alleged that the government has ordered the police to police the law loosely until the election.

    He has implied that because 1000 primary school kids were excluded last year, the answer is to bring back corporal punishment at primary level.

    I am feeling strong sensations of revulsion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Smart,

    Why does not one notice that we played most of the second half without a fit halfback? I agree it was an appalling display and there were selection and management issues. Ellis who I have never had much time for went up in my estimation at times he could hardly bend down to pick up the ball let alone pass it. A brave attempt!!

    Piri Weepu will add to our ruck defense and needs redemption after last years selection fiasco.

    Can we pick a trio of loose forwards that do not all want to be N08's. Back rows are about balance and we have lost sight of that.

    Reminds of 1971 when we picked loose forwards to play prop and lost to the Lions. Yes I am old and still think of the All Blacks as a team not a brand.

    Since Nov 2006 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Under Sanzar rules,three yellow cards in one season of super14 and Tri-Nations leads to a tribunal hearing and a possible further suspension.

    Brad Thorn got one in the super 14 final and one the other night,he is going to have to be real careful for the rest of the series.Judging by the second game against South Africa and the statistics from Nelson we could be in deep s**t if he is suspended.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Having watched some of the earlier games, I reckon it is time (if they haven't done so already) they introduced the yellow card for some Australian netballers!

    I've watched a fair number of games between NZ and Aust, including a few here in Sydney: there'd be a good number of Aussies that would agree with you, but for Vili Davu and the great Temepara George.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    he is going to have to be real careful for the rest of the series

    Nah he's all good, the suspension sets him back to nil, so he's only 1 yellow card in.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "Bob McCoskrie is on The Panel at the moment, talking about the Family First ad.

    He has alleged that the government has ordered the police to police the law loosely until the election."

    This is the only time I've wanted to hear from Greg O'Connor.

    He's claiming our geneal Police force are corrupt Labour Stooges.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    Rugby rugby rugby... Dark Knight Dark Knight Dark Knight... come on people! Let's talk about the Jaquie Brown diaries (and, maybe spell her name right...).

    That's some Friday night fun right there. A slow start's a good start, I reckon. My favourite moment: Jaquie in momentarily revealing thought-bubble-voiceover, "Get angry, bitch", as Sarita Singh lamely hands over her Bizzy Trickle scrapbook.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

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