Archive for Game Review

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

ABs(37) vs Wales(25):Wales could have won, WTF !

Source: Wales could have won had they shown greater composure

Ieuan Evans said Wales ‘could have’ won !

I remember Ieuan Evans, he ‘could have’ tackled, but he didn’t.

Wales could not have won, ABs points tally was hindered by the pitch inability to remain sound during scum time. Hence the Welsh got many a free 3 points from scrum issues.

I think Wales will struggle at RWC 2011, Samoa and/or Fiji will claim their scalp.

Another point to note..BEWARE CHEAP PRAISE !

 Toeava scored two tries, he botch another, his second try was a gift so nothing in my mind to say he is any better than Ranger, Dagg or Guilford !

Ma Nonu proves that he is ahead of Sonny Bill William for the starting 15, Nonu and Smith combination produced results immediately. SBW was a bit lost and puffed with the high paced game. Next year Super 15 and Tri Nations will be an education for SBW. He needs more fitness and rugby smarts.

McCaw, how does he do it, what a machine, he goes and goes and goes !

The game was 5 minutes of good rugby and 15 minutes of Ref whistle, and rotated like this for 80 minutes.

Well done ABs.. next year is the history books year or NOT !

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

ABs(Heaps) vs Irish(F’all): A training run !

Well what to say…

The ABs didn’t even have a sweat up until the Irish scored the first try of the game. They looked a bit bored ! Don’t believe me, compare the 2nd half with the 1st half.

The Irish need to play the game for 80 minutes they same way they did in the first 30 minutes, ONLY AT A FASTER PACE ! Then they will roll us, but that wont happen until all the Guinness in Ireland runs out  or their banks stop getting bailouts from German banks !

Well done ABs, another day at the office. Lets see if the Wales Boyos can force the ABs to have a sweat up by half time !

NOTE: Didnt a weak SOMOA team do well against England, two tries each. SOMOA play some of the best rugby in the world, wake up 6 Nations one day they will knock you over !

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

ABs(49) vs Scotland(3): No change in trend here !

Sonny Bill Williams looks more at home at 2nd five than center. Sorry Ma Nonu, I think your room mate just rolled you from the starting 15 !

SBW is a hand off master it seams, just like his league days, and just like his league days the intercept opportunities are there for the opposition. Watch this space. SBW is getting made into a fine AB on this tour, lucky for the ABs.

This game doesnt allow much to be said, the cheerleading of Donald and Toeava is not warranted when Scotland was so weak. Ireland and Wales will offer better adjudication.

The 2nd half saw McCaw leave the field, while it was 35-3, who stood up as leader…NO ONE ! The ABs lost structure and started playing BULL RUSH !That was the worry for me…what happens if McCaw is injured who yells at the fatties  to go forward as a unit ! Will some one please stand up !

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

ABs(26) vs England(16): England won 2nd half WTF !

SBW first test match with the big boys !

I will give a ‘well done’ to the ABs Coaches, they need to find out if the B team can cut it. You cant keep selecting players for the bench and not let them earn some playing stripes. Henry’s mob remembers all to well the RWC 2007 loss to France when the ABs bench lost the game and could do nothing to change the winning momentum of France in the last 15 minutes. So Henry has to test the B team, after all there are NO mid week games to do this.

The coaches took a risk and I think that the learned what the need to learn without a loss. That’s was the objective of this game.

England won the 2nd half. Well done England. But really NZ is number 1 team in the world, England is 5th(?),with this in my mind the ABS were awful in the 2nd Half, and you can add the last 10 minutes of the 1st half to this.

What was learned…
1) Joe Rokocoko is done ! Too slow, lazy and coughed up the ball three times in 10 minutes that nearly allowed England to score early in the 2nd half. Guilford, Dagg, Ranger are all waiting to have a go.

2) Sonny Bill Williams: Did no better or less than Ma Nonu, and neither has the rugby smarts of Conrad Smith. So I see the 2nd five is a toss up between SBW and Nonu, Nonu still has the lead by an inch. One of the reasons we lost the 2nd half is because the organisation of the back line went AWOL, Dan Carter cant do it all by himself. Don’t get fool by the cheer leading press, he is improving, no negative points yet, but not at center !

3) Toeava: Saved a try well done. But still has a negative balance sheet. Others are better. Guilford, Dagg, Ranger etc.

4) Mathewson. Stood up, did well. Watching him over this tour !

5) Gear: Did ok, one good try, needed more chances.

6) Leadership: The backs looked lost in the 2nd half, Conrad was missing and that is a worry.

The hard core stood up as usual, well done. Brad Thorn, McCaw, Carter, Reid etc

What does England need to do: Find more backs like Foden and Hape, Tindall is done. Get fitter, the pace wasnt as fast as last weeks test match.

The game lost its flow in the 2nd half, the handling skills and ref didnt help either…

All in all well done ABs…and England for that matter.

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

ABs(24) vs Aussie(26): ABs subs lose it !

Conner scores the winner!

Just like RWC 2007 quarter final vs France, the ABs A team  is replaced with the B team, and they lose it.

The above reason is why they SACK COACHES after failed RWC campaigns, for the simple reason old dogs dont learn new tricks. Now we are going to see if the old dog Henry will learn his lesson, this time.

I will be fair (after all 15 wins in a row is not all bad) the Coaches must find out how good the B team really is.  This northern tour needs to shake the rotten apples out the tree  or we are doomed at the RWC 2011.

In the end the Aussie subs beat the ABs subs. Changing the kicker to Conner was a good idea, as Matt Guiteu just hasnt been sinking the puts that matter.

The first 30 minutes the Aussies were all over us, this was not helped by Ma Nonu missing tackles and losing possession at critical times, Sonny Bill Williams has just seen his chance to be a starting 2nd five.

 The All Blacks with 15 minutes to go had a major structual change in the back line:

Toeava on for Jane
Donald on for Carter
Mathewson on for Cowan

a) Toeave missed two critical tackles
b) Donald did one head high, and kicked poorly.
c) Mathewson failed to clear the ball quickly enough.

And the game was lost.

ABs special project Toeava has never proven to be a winner at the business end of the test matches, he has never delivered, he has had more chances than a blind man in a brothel. This time their others that are better: Ranger, Guilford, Slade, Fruean, Dagg

Donald was confirmed as failed project last year, but that was not evidence enough for Wayne Smith. Donald is just not a  international rugby player. Why wasnt the classy Canterbury player 1st five Colin Slade selected, he has proven he has the goods, more so  than Donald.

Mathewson gets a pass, we shall wait and see.

Further Joe Rokocoko is just not that great on defence, compare him to Zac Guilford and the argument is over, Zac should be in the team.

So think about..
Slade to replace Donald
Ranger/Fruean/Dagg to replace Toeava
Guilford to replace Rokocoko

The selection flaws are in the back line,  this proves Wayne Smith head is fall of air, time for him to go, or Henry to overrule him, because if he doesn’t Henry will be a two time loser at RWC 2011.  The Aussies scored two tries after a set piece,  proving that the ABs back line was completely out classed, twice ! Tries from set piece are very rare between two  teams ranked in the top 5 of the IRB international sides because defense systems are very sound, but in this game the ABs back line defense was soundly spanked. This is all on Wayne Smith and his selections of players, he should be sacked as this he continues to make incorrect selections.

So what about Sonny Bill Williams to replace Nonu, well in this game there was nothing that Nonu didnt do that SBW cant do. Nonu stills gets that first pick, but another game like this and SBW could be first pick.

Also, there is this monster available for ABs duties: Canterbury Robbie Fruean


As an ABs fan I am not to unhappy that we lost, as it forces the cream to rise to the top, the coachs must further test the ABs B team on the Northern tour, the Aussie did us a huge favor, thanks Aussie. Lets hope Henry’s mob wakes up and clears out those that just cant cut it. ABs first team selection is not an issue, its the subs selection that is killing our chances at he RWC 2011.

The Aussies:  Have been getting better and better, Robbie Deans is building his team just like he did at Canterbury. A good wine takes time. This time the Aussie subs beat the ABs subs.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

WRWC Final : Black Ferns Win: 13-10

The Hohepa hip swerve…

Try time !

Carla Hohepa the world cup top try scoring machine, scores a great  try in the final, while NZ was down to 14 woman !

Great stuff, tough game, great skills, these ladies know how to play top international rugby ! The black ferns forwards are just outstanding !

The Black furns 1st five: 4th WRWC final gold medal, and at 45 years of age !

Long may it last !

SEE some WRWC action here :

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

ABs(29) vs Boks(22): Marvelous !


Boks were Dagged !

The NZ rugby media are (and rightly so) spewing with congratulations for the ABs performance at a packed cauldron of 94000 in Soweto.

And most of it I agree with.

Henry has put a lid on his critics for now, we know he can coach, so maybe next years RWC will be his year, lets hope so!

However, you cant sell me that Joe Rokocoko is better than Zac Gilford. Joe still cant catch the high ball, his work rate is still poor and defense covered up by the other back three.

How to win the world cup 2011, is the same formula as winning the 2010 TriNations. Lose to the Boks 3 times (or England or Australia)  the year before ! Get the feeling we may be sailing into another RWC as red hot favorites only to choke against France again !

Rugby as a game to watch is on the up and up, good stuff, maybe the moons have aligned to set up the RWC 2011 as a great spectacle.

Monday, July 19th, 2010

ABs(31) vs Boks(17): 15 vs 14 players

Whats different this year compared to last year 3-0 white wash by the Boks over the ABs.

1) Boks only play with 14 players, gives 10 pts to ABs

2) Game is faster, ball recycling is faster, Boks too slow and missing their number one half back

3) Home games allow, home town refs to prosper.

4) ABs players are getting better with their combinations.Loose forward are the heros of the games so far.

5) ABs can catch better. Boks didnt change tactics.

ABs winning 3-0 is a big ask, as Suzie will working that late shift in South Africa

Well done ABs!

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

ABs(32) vs Boks(12): ABs No 1


Classy Conrad is Number ONE !

Well done ABs..

The tight five won the day, the tight five cleaned up in scrums,  line outs and the breakdown. Does this mean I have to eat humble pie and say coach Hanson has got the forward rolling in the correct direction. Guess thats a big fat YES ! Well done..

Gob Smack.. the ABs even completed a rolling maul, coach Hanson has stated he hates the maul, I guess he has seen the light, praise the lord !

However Richard Kahui showed up Joe Rokocoko, and I believe if you favor Kahui then you must favor Zac Guilford, Zac Guilford was very unlucky not to be the starting number 11 for the ABs. I believe Joe Rokocoko short cummings will be shown up in future Tri Nations games.

Ma Nonu selection after a long spell off worked just great, in a NON KICKING game plan Ma Nonu is the ideal 2nd five. This is the position that either MacAlister or Sonny Bill Williams will also compete for. But Ma was great with the distribution to get the ball wide. Also with Ma Nonu connection with Conrad Smith I cant see MacAlister or Sonny Bill being nothing more than bench fodder.

UPDATE: Jimmy Cowan obviously broke game plan rules, his passing and option selection faded as the game went on, he was subbed early, on came Peri Weepu and things began to flow again. Note to Jimmy, stick to game plan !

In the end ABs 4 tries to the Boks zero tries. Cant argue with that !

Just goes to show that sitting players on the bench for a few games gets there blood boiling to get back on the pitch to perform. Ma Nonu and Woodcock are testimonies to that approach.

Roll on Wellington ! ABs hope to make 2-0 vs Boks !

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

ABs(42) vs Wales(9): Wales run out of puff!

Well done ABs !

The Welsh put up a stern resistance for 40 minutes, then ran out of puff.

Why: IRB Rule Change Aholics.


…”The southern hemisphere teams now have one thing that the northern teams dont have. Six months more conditioning to a much faster paced game. And that folks matter, dont believe me, just wait for the northern versus southern hemisphere clashes this winter, the English and Welsh boys will be knackered 30 minutes in…and that could mean 30 points.”..

Exception: England vs Aussie (Aussie fell into poms game plan !)

I still dont understand the selection of Joe Rokocoko. Twice on a line break he could NOT keep up with either Dan Carter or Conrad Smith. The pace is gone from his legs. He dropped one catch, caught another, the Boks will see that ! Dunno Zac Guilfords lost favor but hes my first choice.

The new laws or application of them seams to be working out just fine !

Go the ABs !

Monday, June 14th, 2010

ABs(66) vs Ireland(28): Shrek3 was better!

Blonker sent off, what the hell was he thinking, doesn’t he know there are about 50 cameras watching him !

Well as soon as the Irish was reduced to 14 men and then 13 men, I switch channels to Tv2 to watch Shrek 3. That was more entertaining.

Why anyone pays good hard cash (and its not cheap) to watch a test match in the freezing cold at night in the rain when the game can resort to a farce.

Easy money for the NZRU, but really rubbish customer service to a kiwi loving rugby public.

All the jurno cheer-leading accolades for the All Blacks performance when the score should have been 100-0. The ABs were rubbish in the 2nd half (after all they were up against 14 men). Guess they were bored as well !

Did ya see the Boks, get the feeling we arnt so sh*t hot !

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

ABs(19) vs England(6): A game of two horizontal lines.

Well not much to write about…

Ask your self this : How many times did I see two horizontal lines line up against each other?  

If its more that ZERO, its too much !

Ref: ELVs – ‘The Field Wide Trench Defence’ or ‘FWTD’

How do you get a two lines of rugby players?

SLOW BALL from the break down. This allows the defending team time form up the line, leaving the attacking team little chance to find gaps to attack.

Why is there slow ball? 

Players can infringe all they like to slow the ball down.

Rucking has been removed from the game. Therefore the attacking team players have few tools to police  illegal activity at the ruck, its either the refs whistle or nothing. The infringing team have the odds on the favour to get the benefits of slowing the ball down.

Professional boxing had its physical contact, rugby once had its version, sadly that’s been diluted.

More here :
Rucking, Ref’s should allow ‘collateral damage’
and here  Rucking


Saturday, October 31st, 2009

ABs(32) vs Aussie(19):Much better !


Zip zap ‘Conrad’ scores !!

Hanson: In charge of the backs, and on first impressions what a great improvement. Just proves how useless Wayne Smith was at forming a back line attack. We saw some structured attacks, great stuff !

Henry: In charge of the forwards, and once again on first impressions ‘much better’, but not “BOK” as ‘good’ ! Lineouts better, but scrums had issues and Aussies managed to muscle up on the ABsforwards in the first half. What would have the ‘BOKs’ have done to us ! Didn’t see too much in the maul department.

Smith: Defense, just the same. Who needs him ! We could save $500k here !

Noted improvements…
1) Cory Jane, makes you say what was that other guys name, Joe Rock who ??
2) Carter, on fire as the operations captain, watch out up north, here we come.
3) Hore, some great tight forward work !
4) Read is my preferred No 8, sorry Rodney !

This game saw both the ARU and NZRU bank at least $6,000,000 NZD each ! Hope its not a regular thing ! But economic needs must be met !

Role on summer tour !

This cant be good..

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

ABs(33) vs Australia(6):Aussies were duds!


First a win is a win, so history will say. We  done ABs !

But more was said about this AB team last week when they lost to the Boks.

The Aussies were duds, they were already on the beach, speedos and suntan lotion at the ready !

So the media will mostly post positive print on the ABs and coaches, and wrongly so, the true status of the ABs was determined in Hamilton last week.

So what was learnt in this game.
1) Jane is the best winger in a AB jersey this season, yet he warmed the bench most of the time. ERROR by Wayne Smith.
2) One AB maul in the game, not enough. ERROR by ‘ELV lover’ Hanson.
3) Joe Rokocoko has done little to change his status of ‘lucky to be in black’. ERROR Wayne Smith.
4) Tactical reading of the game by Dan Carter was awesome, no Carter, no brains in ABs. Donald was a dud!
5) Ma’a Nonu is still a ‘Ken Worth Truck’ and 5 miles an hour. Conrad Smith we need you.
6) After a 3 year wait, Toeava finally didnt screw up a game. This guy has had more chances in the ABs than Bill Clinton with White House interns. Still a very high risk selection. But at 23, I think he will eventually give the ABs some good years as he gets much older and more confident.

The game was won by the ABs getting more players to the breakdown, Aussie were just plain lazy in getting around the paddock. Deans has expressed this fact to be so in today’s papers.

This game was a cheap reward for the desparate AB coaching team who can now say ‘all is back on track’ but it’s all smoke and mirrors until we face the Boks again next year to reverse the 3-0 white wash !

Roll on Summer tour !

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

ABs(29) vs Boks(32)..What can you do then ?


Well after the dance, it was all down hill !

Well done Boks 3-0.

How did they do it ?
1) Kick to known ‘fubbles’ in the ABs back line.
2) Defend like the Greeks.
3) Take 3 points within 60m.
4) Play the new rules, by forcing mistakes in oppositions half.
5) Exploit the lineout advantage.
6) Played off a structured platform. NOT a ELVs hangover style.

What the Boks didnt do. The ran no back line moves, little phase play, little pick and go.

What the ABs havent learnt
1) ELVs for forward play ended before the Tri Nations.
2) Mauls are back.
3) Lineouts are important.
4) Passing skills are important.
5) Catching up and unders are important.

What the Coaches got wrong.
1) Selections of players that are not performing at this level (Donald, Rokocoko)
2) Failing to combat the rolling maul (Hansen is hoping IRB ban it, so he wont coach it, or maybe he cant.)
3) Stupid tactics: Chip kicks in our own half, poor kicking game, poor player selections.
4) Merry go round of swapping positions between Carter and Donald. Experiments in the live test match arena are not on !

What the NZRU have got wrong .
1) Appointing a failed coaching team.
2) Carter Sabbatical.
3) Transforming NZ rugby from structured form of the game to an ELV game. That failed.

Some Points.
1) With out Carter this team is worst ABs team in years.
2) Scrums are adequate.
3) Lineouts are poor.
4) 2nd five eights is open to any one who can take it.
5) Ma’a Nonu is a Ken Worth truck at 5 miles per hour.
6) Joe Roco is hopeless, in attack, defense, under the high ball. But hey he had a great game Auckland vs Northland. So the coaches re selected him.

RWC 2011…we are toast !

Building a team is like RED WINE, a team ages over time and gets better and gets better, dont shake it or stir it !

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

ABs(19) vs Boks(31): School Boys vs Men.



This is all this current crop of ABs can do, a silly dance before they get hammered.

Quick paragraphs to tell the truth.

Missing a World Class 1st Five: Having Dan Carter in the side hid the truth behind the talent curtain of other ABs. Talent is missing. Some guys are leaders and some are followers. We are seeing the followers play, and they are lost. I wonder if other countries will allow their star 1st five to have a sabbatical ? Thinking, thinking…well done CEO Tew !

Trend of 2009 Season: Donald and Rokocoko are not world class players, more like average Super 14 players. The coaches realised this when they subbed Donald off. Heed what Laurie Mains said on Henry, “…but every team he’s coached, towards the end of his time with them, they’ve dropped away.”

Class of Players: Remember the days if a back dropped the ball or did a bad pass the standards were so high, that player most likely lost his position the next week or was dropped entirely from the squad. Thats missing these days. How to beat the ABs, kick high to an AB back, he cant catch it, apply pressure, win possession, then score.

ABs Coach Tactical Blunder AGAIN: Remember RWC 2007, when the ABs backs are up against the wall the coachs chose tactics that dont suite the abilities of the players they have selected. It happened last night, AGAIN! (Maybe Henry called John Hart for help prior the game) What ever happened to kick for advantageous territory, build pressure and attack when the holes appear. Rather than run from any ware, or useless little kicks that fuel the oppositions possession stakes.

Trend of Bad Selections: Wouldn’t it be better to see players like Howlett (Auck) and Hamilton (Cant) in the side. Henry has selected players that are very good only some of the time, players that switch from good to awful at a drop of hat. A player goes over seas when they get the feeling that they are not on the selection radar. Remember this is coaching mob is the same mob that has been selecting Toeava for years, Howlett would have been a better investment.

Forward Still Playing Under ELVs: Hansen hasn’t gotten it through his head yet that ‘forwards should play a loose’ all of the time, is over. The Boks play a much more traditional forward game (that includes mauling). Lineouts continue to be a lost art, I guess Ali Williams is missing there. You have consistent winning rugby when the forward pack is the better on the field. “The big mean boks bullied us all game, I gonna tell my mum” ..said the ABs forward.

Coachs Failed: Henry for tactics, Hansen for inept forwards display, Smith for player selection in the backs. Thank god they have been selected for the home RWC in NZ, yeah, real good (Tui: Yeah Right !). By now you must see the missed chance of selecting Robbie Deans for ABs coach might just be the biggest blunder leading into RWC 2011. This blog has called for sacking Smith from the start, he should never have been given ABs coaching duties after his wet blanket head coaching display. Thanks Steve Tew. I wonder if Henry has called for the video tape so he can explain to the NZRU board that the Welsh ref cost him the game. AGAIN !

You learn more from the losses than you do on the wins. Some players should not be ABs. But my final conclusion is that the ABs are missing the decision makers at half back and first five. Add to this the wrong advice from the coaches box and you have a team that is like a fish out of water. I remember the days when Zinny said, we not doing that, defied coaches advice, and corrected the ship and went forward. I bet if you turn on the night goggles you would see the wires from the players brains to the coaches boxes, players are mere puppets these days. Leadership on the field is lost to the control freaks sitting in the coaches boxes.

WARNING: THE CALL FOR OVERSEAS PLAYERS. If  you hear this cry from Henry it will because he has stuffed up so badly with his history of selections that he must claw back his bad decisions and get players back. As we have seen with MacAlister years away from the cauldron of international rugby, skills and timing can be lost. So players from overseas wont make any difference.

How to fix it:
1) Sack Henry, Smith, Hansen
2) Select as new coaches: Your grandmother from Gisborne, your Uncle Bob from Wanaka, and Auntie Mary from North land. I bet they would do a better job.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

ABs(19) vs Boks(28):63rd minute disaster!


The ABs spent only 2 minutes in the Boks 22 in the first half. The ABs fueled the ball possession of the Boks by penalties and dumb mistakes. The the ref liked the roar of the home town crowd when he penalised the ABs as well.

If this ABs side was a batch of pancakes, half of them were under cooked, and some aren’t pancakes at all.

NOT PANCAKES (or should not be ABs)
Donald – Kicked well, but decision making still at Super 14 level.
Nonu – Super 14 is his level. He is a ‘fridge’ standing outside 1st five, not too smart, cant kick, no pace. Easy mark for someone who can tackle.
Tialata – Breaks down every test match. His bench replacement does better.
Eaton – Was a bright light 2 years back, but whats happened.

UNDER COOKED PANCAKES (Can be ABs, not there yet)
Leonard – Not enough experience on the park in the big games, shows promise.
Rokocoko – Huge holes in his game, more so in defense. First Bok try was evident of that.
So Oialo – Maybe past it, Read looks good when he come on. Maybe more games will bring his form back.
Weepu – Hot and cold. He was very cold in the 63rd minute of the game.
McAlister – As we saw against the French he has lost some class on his revenue collection mission up north.

63rd Minute of the Game – DISASTER
Weepu passing, Eatons positional play: Two players that basically went all stupid and while the ABs were in a catch up rugby mode. Really dumb rugby.

You learn more from loses that you do from wins. You cant fix this team with coaching, some players just shouldn’t be there. Maybe due to injury and lack of depth nothing can be done. The Boks are getting there rewards from ‘team building time’ by playing consistent players in specialised positions. Maybe we should learn something there.

You cant expect much this year from ABs, critical injuries and player losses after last world cup are still hurting the team. And of course some of the coaching has not been that great. Back line especially.

Conrad Smith, Thorn, Kaino, WoodCock all did very well.

Go the ABs better luck in Durban !

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

ALL Blacks(22) vs Aussie(16)


       ONE hand on it !

What was good:
1) Winning after being 10 pts down.
2) Tactical nouse to play the conditions correctly.
3) Subs in second half had a purpose.
4) Donalds play after the first 20 minutes.
5) Richie and Conrad game after the first 20 minutes.
6) Our forwards beat there forwards, just.
7) Turnovers swung our way in the second half.

What was NOT good:
1) Aussie scrum won the night, we subbed two front row forwards off.
2) Lineouts where won by Aussie. As we cant throw straight.
2) Scheduling a night game in July by the NZRU is just stupid.
3) Refs a little slow on the forward passes.

ABs coaches did better. But I must say Aussie are getting better, and you can see Deans scars on them. He knows what he is doing. Aussie needs a meaner and stronger forward pack. Then they would roll any team in the world as there backline has the goods. Mind you when has any rugby team won anything unless the forward pack is dominates.

Well done ABs. RWC champs are next. I dont expect much there, home advantage to the Boks. Its gonna be a tough one !

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

All Blacks(22) vs France(27)


……man for the job !

Is he or isnt he ?

Well look the this single selection issue : Toeava !

Last night he did not impress, and failed at a critical time. He has been given more chances than your ex wife ! But they still pick him year after year.

Henry comments: Henry, and Wayne Smith, have long been enamoured of Toeava’s skills, and Henry took that a stage further today when waxing lyrical about a guy who is becoming increasingly valuable in this squad, if only for his ability to slot in wherever he’s needed.
Source: Question marks over this All Blacks side – Marc Hinton

My previous posts:
Toeava: Has he changed ??
This is the same guy just a 6 months ago at Munster looked lost under pressure, and at the horrible loss at the world cup ran like a scared chicken

All Blacks should not be marsh mellows!
Wayne Smith said in public that Isaia was special, and selected him for All Black duties in 2007. What Wayne failed to judge while making this selection was Isaia lacked of maturity and leadership for the role he was selected (that of All Black Centre). We all saw this on the field as Isaia stumbled in the hard games. To be fair to Isaia he needs more grazing on the NZ rugby farm, he needs 2 or 3 years before he becomes an All Black, if at all. The real failing was Wayne Smith selection abilities. We saw this again in the ABs vs Aussie Tri Nation game at Sydney where Wayne selected the wrong back four combination for an ELV game.

COMMENTS: You should be worried with this selection trend. A wise man said to make an error is acceptable, to do the same thing again and again and make the same error is insane. (Albert Einstein). Toeava may be great All Black, he may mature after he turns 30, ( ak Frank Bunce), but he is not there, and hasn’t been there for the last 3 years.

There is another player that also fits the above category. Sione Lauaki, he is 50% great and 50% horrible, yet Henry still picks him ! To be an All Black Sione has to have a game that is near 90% every time hes on the field. Na not these days, big strong, not too bright and you will do ! Selections like these is why a team suffering weakness from injury the back up players dont step up !

Henry, Smith (Hansen ?) are wrong for the World Cup 2011 (and so is Tew). What’s Robbie upto these days?

PS: Great to see the driving maul back downunder, thanks France! Makes you wonder what the coaches did all week !

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

All Blacks(32) vs England(6) All thats bad in rugby.


Yellow for hapless untalented England. 4 English yellow cards. Maybe this is the first step to 13 man rugby union. (ha!)

  1. Mears (killing the ball)
  2. Haskell (elbowing)
  3. Flood (high tackle)
  4. Rees (killing the ball)

82,000 people paid money to see this international rugby union piece of junk. I should have stayed in bed rather than drag my tired body out at 3.30 am. The first 40 minutes saw 30 penalties, can you believe it! Jimmy Cowan (ABs half back) was screaming for the advantage to be played, but it doesn’t come under the northern breakdown ELVs which require rules to be applied very strictly.

If you want to watch the game, dont, see it on the 2 minute news clip within the late night news, because that’s all the rugby that there was. The IRB rule makers must be rapped with the new ELVs, a whistle blowing musical. If that game was played 30 years ago the players would have sorted the slow ball out with genuine rugby rucking, that’s why we had rucking for team strategies like this. England had no choice but to play it this way, smashed in the press all week after the Aussie game, what else could they do, they only game plan was to niggle and hinder the All Blacks. Bring back rucking.

Cant comment much further, no rugby was played to say much about anything.

Well done ABs, 5 weeks of winning rugby.

NOTE: Please Wayne Smith sign with someone else. The ABs back line needs someone who can get the players to run from depth at pace, and switch between your beloved flat line attack and a deep attack at will. Also maybe get the fatties out of the back line attack, this would also be a great plus !

UPDATE1:The best back line in the last 10 years has been the Aussies (Larkam, Mortlock, Geteau, Latham). This Aussie backline was born from the Brumbies side that consistently out did them selves in the super 14, and out did other international backlines. The passing, tactics, change of attack was fantastic, they could switch from a deep running attack to a flat line attack at will, do any move that existed in back play and defend as good as anyone. In the same time frame ABs best backline line mind was Andrew Merhtens, unfortunately he was playing when Wayne Smith was around and stunted his creativity, so Henry if you want a back coach give either Andrew a call, or call the master mind behind the Brumbies (I think from my research that is Pat Howard).

Or maybe you can see what every one else can, is that you really need to two forward coaches, one for scrums and lineouts and another for forwards running in the backline, in that case I would call Sean Fitzpatrick as your forward back line coach as he spent plenty of time on the wing !

UPDATE2: Bugger ! Smithy stays loyal: I’m sticking with the ABs

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

All Blacks(29) vs Wales(9): It was a FM!

Q: One painting is by the famous artist Jackson Pollock, the other is by an elephant, one is claimed as a master piece, the other is not. Which is the master peice? 

A: Here.

The divergence of spin with the view points of these painting is amazing, ranging from the fantastic art performance of Pollock to absolute ridicule for the elephant. To me they both represent what I got sent home for in disgrace as a 6 year old by my art teacher, a FM (Note: FM is defined as f**king mess!). This to me mirrors the same viewpoints of how well rugby union is representing itself as a physical contest game. Cheerleaders out there, mainly TV paid idiots say how great the game is, while those fans that have been watching the game for over 20 years see a deterioration of what was once a great contest of tactics and strategy to a dumbed down ‘run up and bash’ slash ‘force back’ style of oval ball game.

[ Just in case you missed my point: The art world (ie TV paid commentators) look at a Jackson Pollock (ie rugby union) with praise, yet those that know better (ie 20 plus years rugby fan) just see it or what it is, a FM! ]

As a game, I am just not a fan of league, but I could not leave the TV screen as the Kiwis fought to win the world crown (or 3 nations crown). Then some 8 hours latter I watched the ABs vs Wales game, and there are some striking similarities:

  • -For a large minute count of the 80 minute game both teams line up againts each other in two horizontal lines.
  • -Neither game has real lineouts: a quick pass in by league from one player to another; in union a quick pass in by one player to a small group of players. Both are pretty much the same as a contest, or no contest.
  • -Both teams run and bash hoping for the other team to miss a tackle, that usually results in points being scored.
  • -Scrums are having less and less importance: either as to there failure of execution or they are less frequent.

However league showed it has a few advantages over union in game structure:

  1. The league attacking team seam to form up better for attack, the forwards group together, and the backs spread out wide. In union the backs become forwards at the first ruck, and forwards become backs. Nearly always in union the attacking backline has several tight five member standing in the mix. In defense there is no recognise split between forwards and backs, it just a field wide trench defence.
  2. League has less foolish kicking. Union is plagued with the force back game of up and unders to break the field wide trench defense. Or should I say kick and hope.
  3. League mainly due to (1) above, have more occurrence of formatted attacking backline moves (loops, dummy runners, overlaps, etc). Remember the great days of back play by the of the Aussie Brumbies, this style of play no longer exists at such frequency in union as backs and forwards are mixed in attack far too often.
  4. The backs in league tend to attack from depth with pace (ak Brumbies play), in union as the forwards and backs are mixed, and the slow prop forward just cant make this skill grade.
  5. Less wasted time in scrummaging.

This blog is about what rugby used to be like, rugby’s best years from 1985 to 2003 seam to be forgotten, the advent of these ELVs have seen the game morphed into school yard bull rush slash force back style of rugby union. YOU MUST read my foundation posts to understand my argument.

Dont believe me, then ask your self this question: How often do you see pure back vs back contest. Answer: Very infrequently. Classical back play seen in the most recent 20 years has been removed from the game by pure stupid rugby rule setting.

Well done ABs, well done Kiwis. However the best form of the oval ball game was won by league this weekend. Rugby union continues down it’s ‘Jackson Pollock’ phase, a FM !

They may say the game was an ‘tight contest’, and hence the lack of rugby beauty, well bullsh*t comes in many forms, all ABs games this year can be grouped in the above comments.

Dam IRB rule making idiots.

UPDATE1: Having the quick lineout is acceptable, but having short lineouts is getting to be ridiculous, why, it just allows the tight forwards to stand in the back line as possible first receiver for a run and bash. Calling a short lineout hard on attack in the opposition 22 is a great for the defence not the attack as it allows defenders to spread out wide. How does a short lineout make more space out wide, or allow an even one on one contest with the backs (thats center vs center and wing vs wing just in case your have forgotten the good old days), this is a place where the AB backs have consistently beaten there opposite over the years. I don’t think the game would miss short lineouts if we went back to full lineouts only, but if IRB want them, then I insist that the forwards stand within the 15 meters from the touchline and 15 meters from the touchline restart. Otherwise how else can the backs find more space at set piece.

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

All Blacks(19) vs Australia(14) – There getting better !

Battle of coaches– A win to Deans. Once again Deans proves his coaching nous is superior to Henry. Deans has a younger side, less talent to choose from, they are getting better, scoring more tries. Ok they didnt win, but it sure looked like it for a while. You must wonder what the ABs Coaching staff actually do, after all there are so many of them.

ELVs and the State of Rugby– This game was one of the worst exponents of ELVs of any form I have ever seen. I said it all before on this blog, I suggest you re read a couple of posts that this game brought back into focus.

1) Post ELVs – ‘The Field Wide Trench Defence’ or ‘FWTD’ (Click it) Here I make the case that the game is being ruined by a field wide line of players that mix skills of forward and backs to result in a boring game of ‘run and bash’. Forwards standing in the back line is destroying attacking play.

QUOTE from post: I would like to go on record stating that the super rugby 2008 ELVs are the source for the continued destruction of classical backline tactics. This is resulting from the lack of opportunity (or space out wide) for the backs to exercise there skill in a pure backs versus backs contest. It has been said that so far in Super 14 Rugby 2008 there have been 50 more tries scored (upto round 11, vs 2007 yr) and this must be a good representation of the 13 ELVs in use. I wonder how many tries were sourced from pure backs versus backs contest, compared to tries where backs and forwards are part of the mix? Maybe the statistics reveal the traditional 2/5 and center skills are no longer required and a more generic loose forward would be better suited in these roles. Is this further evidence of how traditional positional play is being diluted for more action (tries), no matter the quality of the action.

2) Post ELVs – Endangered Species: Maul and Lineout (Click it) – How many mauls did you see, wasnt it fun to see the forwards standing in the backs during a lineout making a real mess of a possible attacking formation. Why do we need specialised centers or 2nd five eights any more, that’s right you dont !

QUOTE from post:  At the moment the scrum and the full lineout are the only occasions between scoring where rugby has forwards and backs completely separated. The need to promote the separation of forwards and backs is critical to the development of the skill of the rugby player to create winning and exciting tactics.

The original intention of the short line out was to open the door for more tactical imagination into this part of the game, yes that did come, but at the expense of creating a stand off in the back line as space for attack diminished.  

With the advent of the ELVs we have see the increase in the ruck to ruck phase play with the by product being the more frequent occurrence of the field wide defensive trench. I have called this non structured play and the pendulum has swung to far this way, which is why I have called for the removal of short lineouts. This would allow forwards to be forwards and backs to be backs at two fundamental restarts (scrum and full lineout).   

3) Post Checkers vs Chess (Rugby League vs Rugby Union) (Click it) . This is what rugby used to be about ! Dam administrator idiots. No matter the ELV version, this post should be the IRB guide line for rugby’s future.

QUOTE from post:  Please note that rugby has been able to live within a fine balance of structured (scrums, malls, kick offs, 22 drop outs, full lineouts) and non structured play (phase play, quick taps, quick lineouts). The operative word is ‘balance’, and all rule changes should be measured on how they keep this very fine balance (see my comments on ELVs) .  Balance is critical, as it allows a fair chance for the rugby player (prop, half back, 2nd 5/8, etc) specialised skill to be exercised within the games many contests (Front row contests, mid field contests, tall timber lineout contests, speedster wing contests, back of the scrum contests). Non structured play reduces the fair chance of these type of contests occurring within a game as the player one on one contest is random and not structured. Just as chess is divided between non structured pieces (the pawn) and other more structured chess pieces (Queen, King, Rook, Castle, Bishop), so in a way is rugby union by way of the nature of mix between structured and non structured play.

4) Re Read Post ELVs – Aerial Ping Pong – Wayne Smith (Click it) . Yes we saw the same old boring game of ‘force back’. Every ELV game has this form of strategy. I think Ian McGeechan got it right when he said

My concern is that we will end up playing one type of game, that the variety and depth of options which the game has always had will be taken away,” McGeechan told the Daily Mail.

 Post: ELVs – Hail the New Caesar (Ian McGeechan)

But Laurie Mains may have got this wrong (post ELVS – ‘Its like league!’ (Laurie Mains) )

,,”If the aim of these laws was to speed the game up then they’ve succeeded. But the real concern I have is rugby is looking more like league every year.

Sorry Laurie the current game of rugby union in any form of current ELVs is not as good as league, its a fallen into a ramble of ‘run and bash’ mixed with the school yard game of ‘force back’, or in other words crap !

Hong Kong – Here comes the spin.

The All Blacks certainly enjoyed the Hong Kong experience and their performance will set them up for the next five weeks up north. It has given them something to build on.

But Hong Kong is certainly something they won’t forget.

“I think it’s been great for the game. There has been a real buzz, the aircrafts have been full coming from all over Asia. I think they have enjoyed  it. I think it’s important to develop the game in this part of the world and I think there will be more of this sort of thing in the future,” said Henry after 39,682 fans watched the match live at the stunning ground.

Source: Injured Hore’s tour ends to complicate ‘ugly’ AB win – Duncan Johnston

Are you freaking kidding me, home games are losing there mana (or importance), it may be fine for the rugby media and other fat arse donuts who get a free trip to Honk Kong, but stuff the families who want to see the ABs play live. You can conclude very easily that NZRU goes where the money is, and so do the players.

CEO NZRU Steve Tew said on the radio the $NZD return should be $2,000,000 plus to each union (NZRU/ARU). Well you can bet your house that overseas tests has just become a ‘tradition’. I would expect to see 1 to 2 revenue tests a year played in far off lands. There is no way a cash strapped ARU can say no to these high yielding revenue tests. Especially when it’s known that sponsors are wanting to get more bang for their buck in a slow economy. NZ and Aussie fan you are now what they called ‘economy’ class, the NZRU and ARU will now chase the ‘business’ and ‘first’ class high returning (forex) fans with delight !

Players – Dan saved the day again, Richie did heaps, Conrad organised the not so bright back line, Ali went bonkers, Weepu proved useful. All looks good, shame ELVs are being used. On to the north. I am sure the northern press will write heaps about the ELVs, could be a turning point in the future of this once great game.

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

All Blacks(28) vs Australia(24) – Slow start, better finish !


Spring Time in NZ…

September in NZ is spring time, and the cold bleak dark weather roles away, the arrival of warm sun shine wakens kiwis to outdoor pursuits like fishing, hunting, snow skiing, long black coffees at the cafe. The ABs had three weeks off and that’s what they were doing, so to come back to test match rugby with full engines blasting took 40 minutes of warming up. The second half was where the ABs banked their pay cheque this week. Well done ABs !

Some of the ABs were puffing quite hard, Hore and Nonu looked short of a game especially. But once again Carter, McCaw and Woodcock all proved they are the worlds best ! Carter slotted two very important goals which secured the win, that’s a huge improvement from the RWC 2007.

The Aussies brought their ‘A’ game and it showed, Deans will have this team as serious RWC contenders in 3 years. The players are getting more confident (yes they look better at home). Deans is starting to get the team believing in themselves. They Aussies played with some good smarts, but like any tight game the odd missed tackle decides the outcome.

Onto end of year tour, it will be interesting how we and the Aussies rate up north by Xmas.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

All Blacks(19) vs Springboks(0) – Zip, Zilch, Zero !


Richie McCaw – Fee Fie Foe Fum, I smell the blood of a Afrikaner !

The Dan Carter and Richie McCaw show was awesome at Capetown. To win in South Africa is hard and rare enough and to hold them to zero score was just outstanding, or was it ! I must say the Boks were just horrible, no game plan, stupid break down errors with a ref they know wont hesitate to blow the whistle. The Boks were not the same team that played in NZ a few weeks back. Once again the tri nations team that has a couple of weeks spell, return with a very much sub par performance.

Once Sitiveni Sivivatu left the field I was a happier chap, he is too lazy to be an All Black ! How the hell did Doug Howlett ever get away! After the Sitiveni injury the ‘marsh mellow’ Toeava came on, then we had three specialist centers on the field (Kahui and Smith the other two), and to be fair he played well. But where has the blinding pace gone (Jeff Wilson and Christian Cullen types), oops, I know the preferred selection of Wayne Smith has seen the not wanted, and better talented go overseas !

The first half fell into the typical non directional ELV run and kick mess, in the second half Dan Carter was obviously reminded about the tactical kicking for the corners (last seen in the Auckland Aussie tri nations test), then the quality of the game stepped up a notch. However the rugby in this game was not as good and pre ELV style, I mean the Zinny, Fitz and Bunce years. You dont agree, then ask your self when you last saw back line versus back line try occur by the Abs? (The Aussies did one against us at Auckland, but the ABs have not had one yet in the 2008 Tri Nations, [note: forwards in the back line dont count]).

Dan Carter scores very poorly on drop goal skills, he stands far to flat, he must step back and setup correctly. Of course he is awesome at all other matters, but drop goals, not so good. Please do better Dan the RWC final in 2011 just may depend on this !

Richard Kahui is turning up trumps, he has a fine rugby brain on his shoulders, and looks like hes been playing test match rugby for years !

Jimmy Cowan continued on from his fine performance in Auckland, however Piri Weepu proved he is no slug, looks like these two guys are the front runners for the half back role. Keep it up we need you both ! Still dont agree with subbing half backs for rotation reasons.

Keven Mealamu was subbed onto the field and his very first lineout was a disaster, so what you say, well this trend has happened in every Tri Nations game, the first lineout has been lost by Keven’s error. I will repeat myself again subbing off hookers and half backs is not the smartest move for pure rotation. Sure we were points up and it didnt matter this time, but it did contribute to the home loss to the boks last month. ( Here : All Blacks(28) vs Springboks(30): ABs do a Veitch !)

The Bok scrum had the edge on the us, Afoa seamed to even things out, maybe Somerville was sub par, dunno, need to raise our game here and I am sure Mike Cron will do just that.

The back play (for either side) was never allowed to develop, I have said before the ELVs have the ability to destroy traditional back line play as forwards break up the much needed skill set in the back line. I do not like this ELV side effect. If it continues why bother picking a specialised center, you may as well pick a 6′ 5″ monster and use him to run and bash the ‘field wide trench defense’.

The ABs have two weeks off, and will face an exhausted Aussie team in Brisbane, and I hope that’s a real ripper! Go the ABs.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

All Blacks(39) vs Australia(10) – Spanking returned !


Jimmy Cowan, stood up !

ABs: What’s was good…

Firstly, the tight five won the man of the match, second, Cowan and Carter with there much smarter tactical performance, third, Richie McCaws workload, fourth, Woodcock, fifth, Woodcock, sixth, Ali Williams one man show at the kick off, seventh, The ‘Badger’ Hore.

ABs: What’s was not so good…

The best backline performance has to go to the Wallabies, for the perfect execution of the backline move to score a try after a lineout. The ABs backline for many years has lacked a triple AAA rating, well ever since Wayne Smith has been in charge. Hanson turned the forwards around, yet Smith lacks the nous on how to this for the backs. Henry has lacked the nous to see it. Deans is getting the Aussie backline up to the AAA rating, they scored a brilliant try with very ittle possession and a forward pack going backwards. Watch out in the future.

ABs: What’s really stupid…

The Henry mob put the whole bench on the park with 10 minutes to go, and in some cases with 2 minutes to go. Substitutions that do not add value are just stupid. Changing a non injured hooker or half back is just asking for kick up the jacksee, and that’s exactly what happened when the ABs lost to the Boks in the last 10 minutes a month ago (see here All Blacks(28) vs Springboks(30): ABs do a Veitch !). Sure this time the ABs were up 19 points in the last 10 minutes, but if you want to destroy a young man playing confidence, just put on the field infront of all his country men to see him make silly mistakes due to the fact that he has come on cold into a cauldron of pressure rugby. The front line players need the time in their combinations more so than young players needing 10 minutes of useless experience at the end of the game. This is one of the reasons why have been losing the tight games, as the playing combinations are changed so much no body knows whats going on when the intense pressure is on.

Henry’s mob still does not get it, Deans substitutions was much smarter than ours. If a young player needs experience put him the New Zealand A squad or Maori’s, not the last 10 minutes of critical test match.

 Also number 8’s and locks should not be kicking for the corners, there are few Zinnys out there, and they should leave this task to those with more accuracy at it.

ABs: Have a crack, other teams will try and widen..

Losing to the Boks and Aussie have highlighted the ABs cracks: poor tactics and bad player selection, poor substitution execution, poor attacking back play and mindless running is still in the ABs game.


With all the deep thinking and video analysis over the years, the Henry coaching mob finally worked out that a good kick is one that either bounces twice or goes out deep in the opposition half. I think John Drake said ‘kick for the seaguls’. Kicking is dangerous as it gives away possession, so if you give away possession you had better gain ground for the offset. The three at the back of the forwards (half back, first and second five) must have one eye on the oppositions back four to see if there out of position for this opportunity. Jimmy Cowan and Dan Carter performed well at this in this test match. The best execution of this tactic so far in all Tri Nations games.

Attacking oppositions lineouts, da, about bloody time. It will be interesting to see how this goes against the might bok lineout!

Flash Back…

I remember the days when Grant Fox played under Grizz, the game went something like this: play conservative point scoring rugby for the first 50 minutes or until the opposition team had to score twice, then allow the team to play the more wide ranging and risky running rugby. The conservative point scoring rugby amounted to Grant Fox consistently kicking for the corners, playing the territory, then the forwards applying intense pressure from the set piece, this was usually followed up by the backs scoring out wide in the corner. THIS TACTIC WON 50 TEST MATCHES IN A ROW ! The longest stretch ever by an international side. Guess what, it will still work today, Henry needs to wake up and learn this!

The above game has a formula: 3 Ps – Possession, Position, Pace.

Note: You don’t need to select players from overseas to do this either Fitzy !

ELVs Review…

No mauls in this game, the new Tri Nation ELVs have killed this tactic, not reduce it, killed it, and that’s not what the ELVs cheerleaders said would happen, they said the maul would still be there, but less frequently, wrong it’s dead. I know that the northen unions are kicking the idea of pulling down a maul for six, so mauls will be back!

Mindless running, we still see the two horizontal league like lines of offensive and defensive, yuk, forwards in the back line is horrible, must be stopped. Allowing forwards in the back line is seeing the removal of traditional back line skills of running angles, looping and dummy runners. Yes it is, slowly but surely!

ELV Force back, notice a lot more (up and under) kicking with little return, yip this will continue. Kicking into the seaguls (space) is allowed, but most of time, it is kick and hope.

I enjoyed the game for the first 60 minutes, then the game fell apart, the ABs put on there B team and cohesion fell out of the side.

Onto to the Boks in Capetown, I wonder if we can hold our game together !