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  Reply # 2119755 5-Nov-2018 00:46
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Any team based reactions to this games are a bit meaningless. We played a team that we would play against the barbarians. It was more like an old school midweek "dirt trackers" team that met each other 3 days the game than a properly prepared team. Ultimately it won very comfortably and a few players did reasonably well. 

 

The likelihood of taking more than 4 specialist outside backs to the world cup is very very low. Jordie Barrett has a very specific skill set that is very appealing - he's a very big fullback who is good in the air and has a good long kicking game. That's a skill set we could use against northern hemisphere sides. He's also only 21 so needs game time to grow into the role.

 

Look at the difference between Mackenzie this year and last year, he is much more in control and that only comes through being in the group. Naholo is the same, he generally looks very polished these days compared to his earlier years.

 

Having Smith, Barrett and Mackenzie in the squad gives us 3 totally different full backs and lets us play a wide variety of game plans. Bridge and Smith are pretty similar so he would probably be cover for Smith if he got injured again.

 

I'm pretty sure you will see a different defensive pattern at the world cup. We have played a very vanilla defense all year, which makes sense when you are winning most game comfortably. Hansen has talked about how he builds a side through the 4 year cycle (2017 and 2018 are about building depth and asserting themselves) and not showing all his cards too early. They have tried a lot of tweaks this year, like playing different players in the middle of their pods (look at who were the primary ball handler against South Africa in both games). One of the primary focuses of the All Blacks this year has been discipline. They are tackling notably lower which is resulting in more offloads and quicker ball for the opposition. Look at the way South Africa tackle, they try to first lock up the ball and then keep the player up off the ground. This year the All Blacks have had very few head high tackles, very few cars and they are winning the penalty count.

 

I'm really interested to see the England and Ireland games. Watching the England / South Africa game live (Dubai is a great time zone for watching rugby) England showed huge resiliency to hang in and win. They should have been down by 20 points after 20 minutes but they hung on and won in the end. They tackle and tackle and tackle and take their chances. Their biggest concern would be their scrum. They look fit enough to hang in against most teams and they finished over the top of South Africa. Their goal kicking is really excellent and they don't care about scoring tries or playing attractive ruby. It should be very interesting.




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  Reply # 2120024 5-Nov-2018 10:45
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itxtme:

 

The Jordie Barret try should have been sent upstairs.  He was pushed, there is no doubt.

 

 

It still doesn't beget the point that JB's decision making is flawed. He should not have been in the situation in the first place to have to defend a charge down. It's been the case many times in recent times, and goes back to Super Rugby 2018 where he had a far less valueable contribution than the prior year. 

 

Will he recover, mature and turn out to be a good footballer? Probably, it's in the family genes, however, there are far better fullbacks in the country right now, who should be getting some game time IMV.

 

 




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  Reply # 2120044 5-Nov-2018 10:58
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Handle9:

 

Any team based reactions to this games are a bit meaningless. We played a team that we would play against the barbarians. It was more like an old school midweek "dirt trackers" team that met each other 3 days the game than a properly prepared team. Ultimately it won very comfortably and a few players did reasonably well. 

 

The likelihood of taking more than 4 specialist outside backs to the world cup is very very low. Jordie Barrett has a very specific skill set that is very appealing - he's a very big fullback who is good in the air and has a good long kicking game. That's a skill set we could use against northern hemisphere sides. He's also only 21 so needs game time to grow into the role.

 

Look at the difference between Mackenzie this year and last year, he is much more in control and that only comes through being in the group. Naholo is the same, he generally looks very polished these days compared to his earlier years.

 

Having Smith, Barrett and Mackenzie in the squad gives us 3 totally different full backs and lets us play a wide variety of game plans. Bridge and Smith are pretty similar so he would probably be cover for Smith if he got injured again.

 

I'm pretty sure you will see a different defensive pattern at the world cup. We have played a very vanilla defense all year, which makes sense when you are winning most game comfortably. Hansen has talked about how he builds a side through the 4 year cycle (2017 and 2018 are about building depth and asserting themselves) and not showing all his cards too early. They have tried a lot of tweaks this year, like playing different players in the middle of their pods (look at who were the primary ball handler against South Africa in both games). One of the primary focuses of the All Blacks this year has been discipline. They are tackling notably lower which is resulting in more offloads and quicker ball for the opposition. Look at the way South Africa tackle, they try to first lock up the ball and then keep the player up off the ground. This year the All Blacks have had very few head high tackles, very few cars and they are winning the penalty count.

 

I'm really interested to see the England and Ireland games. Watching the England / South Africa game live (Dubai is a great time zone for watching rugby) England showed huge resiliency to hang in and win. They should have been down by 20 points after 20 minutes but they hung on and won in the end. They tackle and tackle and tackle and take their chances. Their biggest concern would be their scrum. They look fit enough to hang in against most teams and they finished over the top of South Africa. Their goal kicking is really excellent and they don't care about scoring tries or playing attractive ruby. It should be very interesting.

 

 

Well, it's an interesting set of points you make. Naholo has improved, but every day of the week and twice on Sunday I'd take Ben Smith (or Dagg which I know is no longer an option) on the right wing before him. He makes far less poor judgement errors and even in the start if his career that was true. McKenzie can be amazing, but for every bit of brilliance, he will throw an intercept or a forward pass, or throw a miracle pass that doesn't go to hand instead of taking contact. Ben Smith is brilliance in a less mercurial way and I understand Ben Smith will retire shortly and we need a replacement, but for me someone like Havilli or Bridge (yes I know they are both Crusaders but it's not about that) consistently produce excellent plays, without the other stuff that makes you tear your hair out. JB and to some degree David Havili seem to have almost found the test environment a little overwhelming and it's possibly overcomplicated their minds and therefore their decision making or causing them to second guess. As has been seen many times recently, amazing play is only going to get you so far, before teams adjust and wipe out your competitive advantage, and then you need to rely on those skills plus being able to do the other things that make up your core role, 95% of the time. 

 

I fully applaud SH's decision to focus on discipline, it was something I lamented over and over and was told here that it wasn't really a problem. It's very likely SH is aware of the defense issue and has a plan, but I for one can't recall us leaking this many points consistently for a really long time, it's a concern for me, even if there is a plan to address it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2120335 5-Nov-2018 16:19
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I don't agree with what you are saying about Mackenzie this year. Last year yes but this year he has dramatically lowered his error rate and his defence has improved from poor to pretty decent. I'd expect to see that further improve with another year of development.

Naholo may start depending on the game plan but he has become consistently test quality. The coaches do have a good track record of developing players who they trust.

They have 362 days to do it.



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  Reply # 2120854 6-Nov-2018 13:03
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I don't have any stats, but I recall pretty clearly, MacKenzie being critisized during SR for decision making and error rate. I could probably check, but didn't he throw 2 intercepts a couple of minutes apart against the Hurricanes in Wellington? I am not saying he's not a good footballer, or can't even be a great test player, but I do wonder if the thing that makes him special, is the thing that would disapear a bit if they remove his errors and force him into more structured play. I am not saying that is the case, just musing. He strikes me as very Quade Cooper ish. I am also not convinced he should be at 10, he seems to need the space that fullback gives him. It will be interesting to see what happens next year at the Chiefs and where he plays.

 

@handle9 in what order would you say the pecking order for 10 in the AB's is/should be now?

 

I agree, SH does have a pretty excellent track record of producing results, even from struggling players, with that said, I would have thought some players would be a little further along now.




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  Reply # 2120855 6-Nov-2018 13:05
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I was quite surprised to hear that SH would be conversing with Eddie Jones a few times a month.  I wonder what those conversations sound like :) 

 

 


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  Reply # 2120876 6-Nov-2018 13:59
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networkn:

 

I don't have any stats, but I recall pretty clearly, MacKenzie being critisized during SR for decision making and error rate. I could probably check, but didn't he throw 2 intercepts a couple of minutes apart against the Hurricanes in Wellington? I am not saying he's not a good footballer, or can't even be a great test player, but I do wonder if the thing that makes him special, is the thing that would disapear a bit if they remove his errors and force him into more structured play. I am not saying that is the case, just musing. He strikes me as very Quade Cooper ish. I am also not convinced he should be at 10, he seems to need the space that fullback gives him. It will be interesting to see what happens next year at the Chiefs and where he plays.

 

 

To be labelled as "Quade Cooper ish" seems far too strong. I hope it doesn't stick, not just because of the vindictiveness that Cooper was exposed to but also because Quade Cooper, even at his best, was not as good as McKenzie: not as fast and not as intelligent. I'm not one of his fans but McKenzie has managed to do something special every All Black game he has played in. By something special, I means something like George Bridge was doing in the weekend.




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  Reply # 2120877 6-Nov-2018 14:09
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Hammerer:

 

To be labelled as "Quade Cooper ish" seems far too strong. I hope it doesn't stick, not just because of the vindictiveness that Cooper was exposed to but also because Quade Cooper, even at his best, was not as good as McKenzie: not as fast and not as intelligent. I'm not one of his fans but McKenzie has managed to do something special every All Black game he has played in. By something special, I means something like George Bridge was doing in the weekend.

 

 

I wondered if someone would object to the comparison, but rest assured I was referring to the mercurial nature of his skills rather than the other stuff he is less popular for.

 

 


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  Reply # 2120936 6-Nov-2018 16:05
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smile All good.

 

Reflecting on this, I doubt that Quade Cooper would have got into the All Blacks. Not even into the Maori All Blacks. I know that he's playing for the Rebels next year and unlikely to join a NZ team so it is all speculation anyway.

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/106597402/unwanted-wallabies-star-quade-cooper-would-like-to-play-for-new-zealand-maori

 

 




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  Reply # 2120938 6-Nov-2018 16:07
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I seriously doubt he would have got NEAR any of our national teams. Maybe 7's, but in reality as I understand it, he was shopped to NZ franchises multiple times and didn't even get passing interest.

 

 


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  Reply # 2121136 6-Nov-2018 20:33
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This should be interesting - pick your AB's World Cup 31 man squad.

 

 

 

Props (5)

 

Moody

 

Franks

 

Laulala

 

Perry

 

Tu'inukuafe

 

 

 

Hookers (3)

 

Coles

 

Taylor

 

Harris

 

 

 

Locks (3)

 

Whitelock

 

Retallick

 

Barrett

 

 

 

Loosies (6)

 

Read

 

Squire

 

Cane

 

Savea

 

Fifita

 

Whitelock

 

 

 

Halves (3)

 

Smith

 

Perenara

 

Tahuriorangi

 

 

 

First Five (2)

 

Barrett

 

Mounga

 

 

 

Midfield (4)

 

Crotty

 

SBW

 

Lienert-Brown

 

Goodhue

 

 

 

Outside backs (5)

 

Smith

 

Ioane

 

Naholo

 

McKenzie

 

Barrett

 

 

 

Possible changes to the above

 

Couple of different possible options at prop - Perry may miss out.

 

They could take two hookers and four locks which would drop Harris and add Hemopo but I think two hookers is too much of a risk.

 

They could opt for another fetcher in the loose even though the game is moving away from that and drop Whitelock and bring in Todd.  I think that would leave us too short in cover at 8.

 

Naholo could miss out for someone like Bridge.  I believe (barring a miracle) Milner-Skudder is done.

 

They might go for something over than a 17/14 split....

 

 

 

 

 

 




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  Reply # 2121148 6-Nov-2018 20:46
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So there are set numbers of people that each country can take right? 31 for this tournament, but what prevents them say not "taking" another hooker, but one travelling with them and filling in in the event of an injury?

 

I think given 95% of hookers don't play 80 minutes and certainly not week in and week out, I think 2 hookers is exceptionally unlikely. They would probably drop a lock for back row covering players.

 

I am wondering if Harris will be their true third choice, there are some pretty excellent hookers who are coming through, but possibly not in time possibly. Amoua and Makalio have been excellent for SR/M10C.

 

Other than those points, I pretty much agree with your choices. I don't see Barrett at fullback unless he resolves his issues and quickly. 

 

 


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  Reply # 2121159 6-Nov-2018 21:24
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Can't find any rules/regulations for 2019 yet - but 2015 was;

 

 

 

Once teams have named their final 31 man squad players can only be replaced for medical or compassionate reasons. Teams must complete the relevant paperwork and send it to World Rugby along with a medical certificate where appropriate. Once signed off the replacement is not allowed to play for 48 hours. The replacement is permanent.




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  Reply # 2121161 6-Nov-2018 21:27
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So I suspect if they can't take the ideal team, they may pick a close to perfect one, and then those players that may be needed, may be in Japan "on holiday" at the same time :)

 

Presumably when they are there, the 31, you probably have some fringe players, who aren't officially part of the tournament who help run drills and practices and make up numbers for an A vs B type testing scenario?

 

Not sure I am making myself clear, but hopefully you get it.

 

 


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  Reply # 2121172 6-Nov-2018 22:00
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networkn:

 

I don't have any stats, but I recall pretty clearly, MacKenzie being critisized during SR for decision making and error rate. I could probably check, but didn't he throw 2 intercepts a couple of minutes apart against the Hurricanes in Wellington? I am not saying he's not a good footballer, or can't even be a great test player, but I do wonder if the thing that makes him special, is the thing that would disapear a bit if they remove his errors and force him into more structured play. I am not saying that is the case, just musing. He strikes me as very Quade Cooper ish. I am also not convinced he should be at 10, he seems to need the space that fullback gives him. It will be interesting to see what happens next year at the Chiefs and where he plays.

 

@handle9 in what order would you say the pecking order for 10 in the AB's is/should be now?

 

I agree, SH does have a pretty excellent track record of producing results, even from struggling players, with that said, I would have thought some players would be a little further along now.

 

 

I don't count Super Rugby as the game plans and setup is so different, especially for 10 and 15. Look at McKenzie for the All Blacks this year compared to last year, he has come a very long way. Part of that development is playing different roles and making mistakes. Throwing intercept passes hurts and has made him improve significantly. With another year and 5-6 tests he will be even better.

 

McKenzie is different for the All Blacks as they would really like to use him the same way they used to use Barrett - as a hybrid 10/15 off the bench. I think their hand has been forced to use him at 15 as they don't have a hybrid wing/fullback they trust to complement Smith so are likely going to use him on the right wing and McKenzie at fullback. It also means they get their best backs on the pitch with being able to play Mo'ounga off the bench.


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