Conrad Smith and Nonu to Eclipse Brian O'Driscoll and the peerless Gordon D'Arcy

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Post by GloriousEmpire on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 7:04 am

This weekend (barring further viral infections) will see ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith eclipse Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'arcy's record 50 test partnership. 

Quite a feat when you consider the longevity of The Irishmen's careers and the comparative lack of options for Ireland in comparison with the All Blacks. 

Although Conrad Smith still tends to fly under the radar it speaks such volumes about the contribution made by him and even more so the combination of the two that with likes of Richard Kahui, SBW, Ben Smith, Francis Saili around that this pair have so consistently been selected.

But contrast their achievements to that of BoD and D'arcy and it's easy to see why they make such a compelling case for selection! I think its fair to say that they are the most probably formidable mid field combination in world rugby today.


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Post by bedfordwelsh on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 7:12 am

Conrad Smith is just pure class but as you say never really seems to grab the headlines or the attention as some of the others mentioned.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 8:08 am

Title's a bit disrespectful to D'Arcy but expect nothing less.

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Post by GloriousEmpire on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 8:23 am

Fixed it.

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Post by Cyril on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 9:31 am

With Barritt and Tuilagi injured, Nonu and Smith do have a compelling case to be the best centre partnership at the moment.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 9:46 am

It helps when the rest of the team around you are all vying for the best player in the world spots...as they do for NZ.

Nonu and Smith are a brilliant combo...but as said above...its pretty poor to be-little Darcy and O'Driscol as you have.


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Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 10:10 am

"Some other guy" has achieved more in his life than you ever will GE - especially when you continue to waste your life on here all day.

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Post by GloriousEmpire on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 10:29 am

There you go. The reason for his omission was due to the lexographic complexity in typing a hyphenated name into iOS7...which is a disaster.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 10:55 am

What don't you like about iOS7 GE?

Nonu and Smith have been great servants for NZ rugby just as BOD and D'Arcy have been for Ireland. Nonu to me attracts the headlines but usually for the wrong reasons. Smith bizarrely seems to get players around him noticed and doesn't attract any attention to himself. Come the November tour we'll be reminded of what we're missing out on without Smith there. Something tells me though the same will happen when Nonu goes. For All his faults he still does a lot of things right and his experience will be missed. SBW could be a nice replacement but he won't be a long term option and for Smith we have makeshift cover for him with his namesake. Much like Ireland has found it's hard work replacing legends. NZ does a good job of it but the gaps are never completely covered over.

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Post by XR on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 11:12 am

I don't like the look of this. Nonu & Conrad surpassing this record will only strain the relationship between BOD & D'Arcy. Brian may end up resenting D'Arcy for not partnering with him on more occassions.

Typical All Blacks.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:15 pm

all this talk about conrad smith being an unsung hero is rubbish. "Everyone says, oh so underrated" ... really????

Everyone I know who knows anything about rugby (sorry GE not included) says he's been the best centre for the last 4 years. Even then I think people are slightly in awe because he wears black..... how does he do with the Hurricanes (and they're never been a bad side)??? Chaps like BOD have lived off scraps for years and would kill for the opportunities only a AB side can give an OC.

So he doesn't get the plaudits like BOD does in IRE... well no surprise given NZ have 20 odd superstar rugby players to rave about... IRE have 3.

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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:21 pm

fa0019 wrote:all this talk about conrad smith being an unsung hero is rubbish. "Everyone says, oh so underrated" ... really????

Everyone I know who knows anything about rugby (sorry GE not included) says he's been the best centre for the last 4 years. Even then I think people are slightly in awe because he wears black..... how does he do with the Hurricanes (and they're never been a bad side)??? Chaps like BOD have lived off scraps for years and would kill for the opportunities only a AB side can give an OC.

So he doesn't get the plaudits like BOD does in IRE... well no surprise given NZ have 20 odd superstar rugby players to rave about... IRE have 3.
Who are the three? For me the following are world class:

Paul O'Connell
Cian Healy
Sean O'Brien
Stephen Ferris
Tommy Bowe
Sexton
O'Driscoll (albeit career winding down very much)

There is at least 6 top class players.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:23 pm

GG - Cian Healy is world class right but he's not a superstar in the way BOD is... as in transcending rugby and even sport int he country, wouldn't you agree?

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Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:26 pm

GunsGerms wrote:
fa0019 wrote:all this talk about conrad smith being an unsung hero is rubbish. "Everyone says, oh so underrated" ... really????

Everyone I know who knows anything about rugby (sorry GE not included) says he's been the best centre for the last 4 years. Even then I think people are slightly in awe because he wears black..... how does he do with the Hurricanes (and they're never been a bad side)??? Chaps like BOD have lived off scraps for years and would kill for the opportunities only a AB side can give an OC.

So he doesn't get the plaudits like BOD does in IRE... well no surprise given NZ have 20 odd superstar rugby players to rave about... IRE have 3.
Who are the three? For me the following are world class:

Paul O'Connell
Cian Healy
Sean O'Brien
Stephen Ferris
Tommy Bowe
Sexton
O'Driscoll (albeit career winding down very much)

There is at least 6 top class players.
I have to say I disagree with a lot of those, Guns. Most of those players are past their peak now. They may once have been world class, but a lot of them are just not up there with the best anymore.

In fact three is pretty accurate; Sexton, Healy and O'Brien are the three there who are still in their prime.

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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:32 pm

fa0019 wrote:GG - Cian Healy is world class right but he's not a superstar in the way BOD is... as in transcending rugby and even sport int he country, wouldn't you agree?
Ok well probably O'Driscoll is our only superstar then because rugby doesnt have the profile in Ireland it would have in SA and NZ etc. and rugby doesnt have a massive global profile as football would. Most countries dont have superstars for that reason I'd say.

Some of out biggest domestic stars are hurling and gaelic footballers who probably at home have as big a profile as O'Driscoll:

Colm Cooper - football
DJ Carey - Hurling
Henry Sheflin - Hurling

Nobody outside of Ireland will ever hear of them.

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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:34 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
GunsGerms wrote:
fa0019 wrote:all this talk about conrad smith being an unsung hero is rubbish. "Everyone says, oh so underrated" ... really????

Everyone I know who knows anything about rugby (sorry GE not included) says he's been the best centre for the last 4 years. Even then I think people are slightly in awe because he wears black..... how does he do with the Hurricanes (and they're never been a bad side)??? Chaps like BOD have lived off scraps for years and would kill for the opportunities only a AB side can give an OC.

So he doesn't get the plaudits like BOD does in IRE... well no surprise given NZ have 20 odd superstar rugby players to rave about... IRE have 3.
Who are the three? For me the following are world class:

Paul O'Connell
Cian Healy
Sean O'Brien
Stephen Ferris
Tommy Bowe
Sexton
O'Driscoll (albeit career winding down very much)

There is at least 6 top class players.
I have to say I disagree with a lot of those, Guns.  Most of those players are past their peak now.  They may once have been world class, but a lot of them are just not up there with the best anymore.

In fact three is pretty accurate; Sexton, Healy and O'Brien are the three there who are still in their prime.
Before POC and Bowe got injured on the Lions tour they were two of the top performing Lions. Bowe's international try scoring record is unbelievable. Still world class IMO, only 29.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:35 pm

wasn't really my point anyway... just getting sick of every tom, dick and harry saying... oh Conrad Smith, he's so underrated? Strange that, given everybody universally rates him as the best.

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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:37 pm

fa0019 wrote:wasn't really my point anyway... just getting sick of every tom, dick and harry saying... oh Conrad Smith, he's so underrated? Strange that, given everybody universally rates him as the best.
Maybe its because he isnt a very flash/exciting player so will never transcend the sport as O'Driscoll has.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:42 pm

fa0019 wrote:wasn't really my point anyway... just getting sick of every tom, dick and harry saying... oh Conrad Smith, he's so underrated? Strange that, given everybody universally rates him as the best.
The truth be told I am starting to wonder if Smith is starting to push being overhyped, because like you say nearly everyone harps on about how good he is and how underrated he is, and that in its self is hyping him up.

We went through a phase of doing this with players in Wales, Andrew Bishop is one that I will always remember being 'underrated' to the point of being overhyped.
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 12:54 pm

It's not a question of being underrated fa. He doesn't get the attention because it's expected of him to make the right decisions and make the right plays. When you look at the NZ team, players like McCaw, Read, Carter get the plaudits. Much like the game is won up front but the front five don't get the recognition and instead the glory boys out wide catch the eye. But take out that front five performance or the defensive and attacking work Smith does and you realise what you were missing.

Like the fatties, under-appreciated rather than underrated is more what's it about. Keith Wood is the only IRB player of the year and I can't ever recall a prop winning it. Nobody pays much attention to these things but it just shows certain players tend to hog the limelight and others don't. Last year Conrad Smith actually got a nomination but previously his name never came up. It just proves the point that rugby is a team game and once you start focusing on individual performances you move away from that key concept.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:18 pm

Kia

awards are always like that. Who is the most important player on a pitch these days? Tighthead? But the 10s and 7s get the glory.

Its the same in football... Peter Schmeichel & Roy Keane were easily 2 of the most dominant and important players in football during their era but what awards did they win??? Instead awards went to flare players like David Ginola.... not even in the same class as a footballer but technical ability always wins... same in rugby.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:25 pm

The award anyhow is for the best performer no? not the best player. Shane Williams won it in 08 but even after all his great performances.... he was far from being the best player/most important player in the world.

Even in 09 when McCaw did sweet f*** all that year, the pundits were so keen to give him an award... it was almost as bad a Barack getting the nobel peace prize for being sworn in as US president and nothing more. It was a joke. If it was a journalists prize I could understand how players like McCaw would maintain an aura amongst the panel but past greats.... it was pathetic, hearing Will Greenwood hawk on about how he played just made me want to run for the sick bucket.. first off, he was average at best and secondly, its sort of pathetic how these guys kiss up to certain players.

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Post by rodders on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:27 pm

GunsGerms wrote:Some of out biggest domestic stars are hurling and gaelic footballers who probably at home have as big a profile as O'Driscoll:

Colm Cooper - football
DJ Carey - Hurling
Henry Sheflin - Hurling

Nobody outside of Ireland will ever hear of them.
Well I live in Ireland and I've never heard of them ...... Run
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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:28 pm

bet you've heard of jedward though rodders??? Wink

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Post by rodders on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:31 pm

Whistle 
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Post by Engine#4 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:35 pm

New here but congratulations to Nonu and Smith, a great and devastating centre partnership! No doubt that they themselves will be more concerned with helping their team to win the next two matches, however eclipsing the test appearance record of the men who revolutionised centre play in the 2000s is truly a wonderful achievement and should be celebrated.  Also, if I may give a shout out to the OP for his recognition of Gordon D'Arcy - perhaps not the greatest inside centre of all time but in the context of the esteemed #12s listed here then I agree. In his prime the 2004 6Nations player of the tournament and IRB world player of the year nominee was truly peerless!  Tip of the cap to you sir thumbsup

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:39 pm

You'll get no argument from me as that was my point. Conrad Smith doesn't get the plaudits as he's not a flashy player. That doesn't mean he's underrated or not an integral player. It's just people prefer to look elsewhere as the work has been put in and executed. It's only when it's not like in the England performance last year that people sit up and take notice.

IRB player of the year obviously reflects on performance. It's a joke though as it isolates an individual's performance in a team performance. That player though needs the players around them to perform in order to stand out. Keith Wood got the prize not for his work in the tight no doubt but for his energizer performances in the loose. Carlos Spencer gets the youtube videos but Merths was the better flyhalf in my humble Canterbury opinion. Whistle 

All I'm saying is that there are certain players who make the headlines like Carter and those like Smith who don't get singled out for special attention. Who would I choose between? Ruck that, I want them both! I am lucky enough to have a healthy, functioning body. Which body part do I most value? They all have their moments but like that squeaky voiced guy sings only miss Smith when Tuilagi starts to run, only miss your lover when she starts to come ... with her new boyfriend.

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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 1:57 pm

rodders wrote:
GunsGerms wrote:Some of out biggest domestic stars are hurling and gaelic footballers who probably at home have as big a profile as O'Driscoll:

Colm Cooper - football
DJ Carey - Hurling
Henry Sheflin - Hurling

Nobody outside of Ireland will ever hear of them.
Well I live in Ireland and I've never heard of them ...... Run
Thats because you come from NI.

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Post by rodders on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 2:34 pm

GunsGerms wrote:
rodders wrote:
GunsGerms wrote:Some of out biggest domestic stars are hurling and gaelic footballers who probably at home have as big a profile as O'Driscoll:

Colm Cooper - football
DJ Carey - Hurling
Henry Sheflin - Hurling

Nobody outside of Ireland will ever hear of them.
Well I live in Ireland and I've never heard of them ...... Run
Thats because you come from NI.
Well you live in the south but I guess you've heard of Van Morrison?
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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 2:39 pm

Who is that? Did he play for Ulster?

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 3:30 pm

GunsGerms wrote:Who is that? Did he play for Ulster?
Yes. Almost as good as Paddy Wallace.

Congratulations to Nonu and Smith, a great centre partnership.

Trying to think of other great partnerships in my lifetime:

Horan/Little
Bunce/Little
Mauger/Umaga
Carling/Guscott
Greenwood/Tindall
Leslie/Tait
De Villiers/Fourie
Gibbs/Guscott (Lions)
Gibbs/Bateman
Henson/Shanklin
Roberts/BOD (Lions)
D'Arcy/BOD

Some great combinations there - still think Horan/Little probably edge it.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:02 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
GunsGerms wrote:Who is that? Did he play for Ulster?
Yes. Almost as good as Paddy Wallace.

Congratulations to Nonu and Smith, a great centre partnership.

Trying to think of other great partnerships in my lifetime:

Horan/Little
Bunce/Little
Mauger/Umaga
Carling/Guscott
Greenwood/Tindall
Leslie/Tait
De Villiers/Fourie
Gibbs/Guscott (Lions)
Gibbs/Bateman
Henson/Shanklin
Roberts/BOD (Lions)
D'Arcy/BOD

Some great combinations there - still think Horan/Little probably edge it.
Can I suggest a wee lie down for you, laddie?!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:05 pm

A good partnership doesn't necessarily require both centres to be top class players, although of all the players I've listed above, Tindall is/was certainly the most limited.

Still, they were a pretty effective duo in defence, and Greenwood had the skills to unlock defences. Not in the league of some of the others I've listed.

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Post by rodders on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:06 pm

No DeGlanville/Gusgott?
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Post by GunsGerms on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:07 pm

Tindall isnt that bad.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:13 pm

rodders wrote:No DeGlanville/Gusgott?
Phil De Glanville (c)

Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh 

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:21 pm

How can you eclipse a player who is peerless?

Basteraud springs to mind. Just eat a sh**load and block out your opposing number with your sheer size and then you can claim to have overshadowed them in a manner of speaking.

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Post by fa0019 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:35 pm

I remember watching Basteraud taking Jamie Roberts to school in 2010 (I think)... it was painful. If that guy sorts himself out he will be the best no question.

Nonu was like that for years... now he has such versatility, a great deft boot too.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:47 pm

Bastereud has huge potential. When he burst onto the scene it looked like France had a real weapon on their hands. Sadly off field issues stalled him.

France are now selecting between Fofana, Bastereud, Fickou and Rougerie at centre. Only NZ has options to match that group.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:56 pm

Off field burgers stalled him FES! Rupeni Caucau chomped his way to mediocrity. Laziness or lack of discipline are at the heart of it.

I think Serge Blanco is both those players' hero. Not the playing Blanco who tore apart defences with his running. The fat one now who's rich and doesn't have to do anything because he's living off former glories. In acting terms, Basteraud is Gerard Depardieu.

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Post by flyhalffactory on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:57 pm

http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/odriscoll-and-darcy-worlds-best-says-lagisquet-26274918.html

http://springbokrugby.webs.com/bestcentrepairings.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JLASzADsaI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCVCXiVecl4

Compelling evidence to suggest the "team player and complete O/C" that is Brian O'Driscoll, is a quantum leap in defence, distribution and creative innovation (tries, drop goals, positional play) for club, country, representative and Lions sides over what the last fourteen years.

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Post by emack2 on Fri 27 Sep 2013, 10:48 pm

Some players are very lucky Richard Kahui,Colin Slade,perhaps even Corey Flynn but for injuries could have had a regular place in the AB side.Let`s not get sidetracked by different
issues Conrad Smith and Nonu 50 caps as a pair is huge.NOT because individually or as the
pair they are the best that is always debatable.BUT because they have at least 50 caps the
AB standard of expectation is.You play until someone as good or better comes along just
that if you perform consistently you stay.If NOT you get dumped ruthlessly it goes with
the territory.The AB`s are by the record THE best team in the world. BUT if have a bad run
the Media and even some fans turn on them.Viz 2009 an injury riddled side Conrad Smith,Carter,McCaw,Ali Williams,all missing.Lost to France,3-0 to Boks,IRB number
title lost. A rookie Lock Isaac Ross replaces the injured Ali Williams[pre injury 2008]
the Worlds best Lock.He`s given the job of calling the line outs,Brad Thorne his partner
Great grunt Lock but no line out option.Against the Boks in the 3rd Test he`s lost a
lot of throws etc.Despite that Boks only just won,Ross was praised by his coaches early
on.Then unceremoniously dumped couldn't even get a start for his ITM side don`t
even know what happened.Coaches slagged off calls for heads to role among coaches
etc.Comes the Autumn Internationals Donnelly[the best NZ lineout organizer of the time]
selected.Triumphant tour by AB`s,disaster tour for Boks NZ back to Number One,France
destroyed the media are happy again.
THAT has nothing to do with any other teams pairings and Ireland`s has been outstanding for many years.
People doubt me when I state that I Despise the RWC,ONE of the major reasons for that
is the perception.Your side is rubbish because you haven't won one,your players rubbish
because you haven't a winners medal etc.
Many average players have RWC winners medals because they were squad members NOT
just because they were gods.Stephen Donald was rubbished but he won the RWC for NZ
literally,a good solid player no more.Hosae Gear for awhile the Best wing in Nz but got his
RWC medal holding a tackle bag.

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