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Post by BamBam on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 10:22 am

Being incredibly bored at my desk on this wonderful Tuesday morning, I was thinking about which player I would pick if I was to start a rugby team and could pick anyone in the world.

Following on from this, what if a new rugby league was created (similar to the fantasy games in the sports gaming section) where every player is up for grabs in an NFL style draft

Say if it was a 12 team league, who would be the first 12 picks, any player in any position from any team? Who would be your choices?

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 10:37 am

I'd take Quade Cooper.
 
There are better more organised flyhalves in the game but he can work with very poor resources and makes players around him better. I can't say the same for his peers as in Sexton, Farrell, Steyn, Cruden etc.
 
He seldom has front foot ball but he utilises his entire backline to run plays and is a great organiser.
 
In start ups (see the Rebels as a recent example) chaps like Cipriani, O'Connor and Beale struggled without forward dominance... yet Quade with AUS and the Reds often have/had similar issues.
 
In an organised team I would probably take Sexton, Cruden, Barrett over him but in this format the best option for me would be Cooper.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 11:20 am

Interesting choice fa0019

I like Cooper's game, and can see your argument being that he makes players around him better, but personally for me it would always be a forward, unless there was a single outstanding 9/10 who is far ahead of the rest, which for me at the moment there isn't

My choice for first pick is Bismarck Du Plessis. The set piece is so crucial, and to have someone who is rock solid at the lineout, such a force at the scrum, but also brings the carrying power and work rate in defence and ruck time that he does is a pretty good start to a team.

I can't see a hooker that is very close to his abilities at this time, maybe Strauss/Hartley on their best days

Still haven't decided on who the rest of the first 12 would be

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 11:47 am

LH prop. That's your first pick. Then hooker and TH prop. Who those players are depends on the type of game you're after. The same with the locks and the backrow.

I could draft in a heap of players for NZ but the monster specialists are not necessarily the best ones to include if I have any aspirations of mobility and high workrate.

It's all about balance. I can go for monster pack and defensively sound backs with a flyhalf who can control territory or I can give up power and go for increased mobility with a view to bringing in attacking players who can exploit the open spaces.

Before I pick which players, I need to pick my gameplan.

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Post by disneychilly on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 11:57 am

Man would we give for Bismarck in the ABs. He'd fit in with our gameplan-hell anyone's gameplan. Because he's awesome.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 12:05 pm

kiakahaaotearoa wrote:LH prop. That's your first pick. Then hooker and TH prop. Who those players are depends on the type of game you're after. The same with the locks and the backrow.

I could draft in a heap of players for NZ but the monster specialists are not necessarily the best ones to include if I have any aspirations of mobility and high workrate.

It's all about balance. I can go for monster pack and defensively sound backs with a flyhalf who can control territory or I can give up power and go for increased mobility with a view to bringing in attacking players who can exploit the open spaces.

Before I pick which players, I need to pick my gameplan.

disneychilly wrote:Man would we give for Bismarck in the ABs. He'd fit in with our gameplan-hell anyone's gameplan. Because he's awesome.

Disneychilly has hit the nail on the head for me. I would go for Bismarck because he can fit into any kind of gameplan, and be the dominant hooker on the field.

With the draft concept, you could plan to play a territory based game but when it comes to picking a fly half, there is no top level player who fits that style, but there may be a Cooper available.

Its a bit of an odd way to pick a team, obviously with no real history in rugby, but think its interesting to see people's point of view

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 12:06 pm

disneychilly wrote:Man would we give for Bismarck in the ABs. He'd fit in with our gameplan-hell anyone's gameplan. Because he's awesome.

Would swap Bissie for a youngish McCaw.

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 12:07 pm

He sure would. But Corbs or Cole probably not. The Beast yes.

Hell draft in all the Bok pack, JDV, Le Roux, Allende and Haban and then we can have two clear gameplans!

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 2:59 pm

This is a great idea, and I still find it amazing why some other sports havn't adopted the draft system.

I spent a few years in the US with the Giants development team, and I have to say the draft and the combine were just the most amazing spectacles I have ever seen, the glitz and glamour!

What isn't so well known is that generally 1st or 2nd pick aren't the most important parts of the draft, there are like 200 kids there, and a lot of lower picks turn out to be superstars because a good management team select what they need to fit their team instead of the next superstar.

my first pick would depend on what I was looking for, how many other teams would be picking, what I predicted the other teams would be after, and how best to counter popular tactical set ups.

A lot of people would select superstars first up, I think I'd probably select technical players first up, then physical players after.

I think we should definately have a mock draft, set a date and time to suit 12 selected drafters, then every 3 minutes a selection is made. Until all drafters have a 23 man squad!

Anybody else fancy playing?

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:06 pm

Neutralee

Although don't you find it interesting that the no.1 pick is almost always a QB. 1 position alone has been the No.1 pick 6 times in the last 10 drafts.... even though there are over 20 positions in the game.

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:29 pm

fa0019 wrote:Neutralee

Although don't you find it interesting that the no.1 pick is almost always a QB. 1 position alone has been the No.1 pick 6 times in the last 10 drafts.... even though there are over 20 positions in the game.

It is funnily enough, but then the way the system works is that teams trade away their high picks to teams who need the more important positions for better long term gains. Also obviously the picks are down to league position/seeding and those that get the first few picks generally have no QB's to speak of.

What is interesting is that QB's despite being the first picks more often than not are generally the lowest number position picked overall, when I was there only 14 QB's were picked, and most of them first few rounds, whereas wide receivers and most defencive positions doubled that number in picks. With QB's its superstar or bust!

Also was interesting I saw 300 odd players at the combine, and there were a stand full of scouts from all over, literally hundreds to watch these players test on pitch in all differing disciplines, hoverer I think 40 picks of the 200 or so weren't invited. Literally a few months previous they were deemed not good enough to star at college ball, then got pro contracts!

Imagine if Wales or Ireland did similar, the bottom ranked team got first pick of the next production line of 18 yr old academy promoties, make a bit of a scene of it, invite the public to watch the combine, and even have all 4 regions academies play a round robin. Distance wouldn't be an issue at 18 with a pro contract on the table, in either country, the weaker teams take the better star players, and competition would be vicious. I honestly think something like this is what Rugby needs to engage the masses, add an X factor style hint to the game, bring it to the masses.

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:32 pm

perhaps its because only 1 QB gets game time for a given side and not all of them in college football will be seen as NFL calibre. Therefore if you're a 2nd man best wait another year and get some game play.
 
Given there are +20 positions in a field I would imagine that they would only make up a small proportion of the selected players but they certainly are seen as very important picks.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:40 pm

With the NFL I think the importance of the QB can't be overestimated. A good QB can make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the offence in a way

Weaker receivers will have the benefit of accuracy from the quarterback, the offensive line are helped by the QB knowing when he is under pressure and being able to move or get the ball away etc

Its probably the single most important position in any team sport

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:46 pm

fa0019 wrote:perhaps its because only 1 QB gets game time for a given side and not all of them in college football will be seen as NFL calibre. Therefore if you're a 2nd man best wait another year and get some game play.
 
Given there are +20 positions in a field I would imagine that they would only make up a small proportion of the selected players but they certainly are seen as very important picks.

Well you could argue that the safety is a similar singular position, and only covers a tiny % of duties in defence compared to the QB's in offence, however 20 were picked compred to 14 QB's.

What is interesting is the amount of 'former' QB's who go onto other positions, stars for their high school teams who get demoted as back up at college and refuse to play 2nd fiddle and change their position, which would compare to the 8 + 10 position in rugby. A lot of players excell at 10 or 8 through being superior athletes at junior level, but soon realise they need to fit elsewhere to stay relevant. The amount of former number 8's who play tight 5 after puberty is crazy!

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:46 pm

BamBam wrote:With the NFL I think the importance of the QB can't be overestimated. A good QB can make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the offence in a way

Weaker receivers will have the benefit of accuracy from the quarterback, the offensive line are helped by the QB knowing when he is under pressure and being able to move or get the ball away etc

Its probably the single most important position in any team sport
 
Its why in a scratch I went for Quade. He makes average players look better. Look how he utilised Digby and the rest of that average team. Put them into wholes that even Jannie Du Plessis could run through (fattest waste of space I could think of from a free running perspective).
 
With other FH's you need a good backline, with Quade you can make do with average.

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:50 pm

Neutralee wrote:
fa0019 wrote:perhaps its because only 1 QB gets game time for a given side and not all of them in college football will be seen as NFL calibre. Therefore if you're a 2nd man best wait another year and get some game play.
 
Given there are +20 positions in a field I would imagine that they would only make up a small proportion of the selected players but they certainly are seen as very important picks.

Well you could argue that the safety is a similar singular position, and only covers a tiny % of duties in defence compared to the QB's in offence, however 20 were picked compred to 14 QB's.

What is interesting is the amount of 'former' QB's who go onto other positions, stars for their high school teams who get demoted as back up at college and refuse to play 2nd fiddle and change their position, which would compare to the 8 + 10 position in rugby. A lot of players excell at 10 or 8 through being superior athletes at junior level, but soon realise they need to fit elsewhere to stay relevant. The amount of former number 8's who play tight 5 after puberty is crazy!
 
yeah lots of flankers who became props and hookers.
 
Steve Thompson
Andy Sheridan
Kevin Mealamu
 
Maybe its because in junior rugby the front row is often the place where the least talented chaps go... initially at least (I think I may often some hog carriers with that statement!!!) Better get my coat.

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 3:56 pm

fa0019 wrote:
BamBam wrote:With the NFL I think the importance of the QB can't be overestimated. A good QB can make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the offence in a way

Weaker receivers will have the benefit of accuracy from the quarterback, the offensive line are helped by the QB knowing when he is under pressure and being able to move or get the ball away etc

Its probably the single most important position in any team sport
 
Its why in a scratch I went for Quade. He makes average players look better. Look how he utilised Digby and the rest of that average team. Put them into wholes that even Jannie Du Plessis could run through (fattest waste of space I could think of from a free running perspective).
 
With other FH's you need a good backline, with Quade you can make do with average.

Problem with picking Quade up first is that he doesn't give you that consistency needed to win a tournament, he will innevitably give the odd game away. Pluss you options at 2nd pick are massively reduced, and you'll end up picking positionally from whats left over instead of a team you actually want.

2nd pick after Quade would have to be 9, he needs quality ball and speed to operate. All of a sudden your looking at sacrificing your platform. If you were to solidify things then you were looking at particularly average centres.

That said if the first 3/4 teams all selected 10's as first pick the whole game changes, you'd need to select a 10 just to not get left with the distinctely average, you wouldn't want the 12th best 10 in the world, that would be suicide! Theres a clear risk in selecting 2/3 forwards as forst picks and then being left with Dan Parks as your 10, as another team has selected Cooper first up, Flood as 2nd and Gopparth as 3rd for their flexibility.

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 4:08 pm

fa0019 wrote:
Neutralee wrote:
fa0019 wrote:perhaps its because only 1 QB gets game time for a given side and not all of them in college football will be seen as NFL calibre. Therefore if you're a 2nd man best wait another year and get some game play.
 
Given there are +20 positions in a field I would imagine that they would only make up a small proportion of the selected players but they certainly are seen as very important picks.

Well you could argue that the safety is a similar singular position, and only covers a tiny % of duties in defence compared to the QB's in offence, however 20 were picked compred to 14 QB's.

What is interesting is the amount of 'former' QB's who go onto other positions, stars for their high school teams who get demoted as back up at college and refuse to play 2nd fiddle and change their position, which would compare to the 8 + 10 position in rugby. A lot of players excell at 10 or 8 through being superior athletes at junior level, but soon realise they need to fit elsewhere to stay relevant. The amount of former number 8's who play tight 5 after puberty is crazy!
 
yeah lots of flankers who became props and hookers.
 
Steve Thompson
Andy Sheridan
Kevin Mealamu
 
Maybe its because in junior rugby the front row is often the place where the least talented chaps go... initially at least (I think I may often some hog carriers with that statement!!!) Better get my coat.

Sadly your right, coach's at lower levels want to develop players, but would never sacrifice team performance to do so, the tight 5 and wings are the hiding places, which absolutley baffles me as HK lock and a strike running wing can be match winners between the 3 of them. A lot of coaches still think old school and play their best players centrally (generally the most athletic in the carrying positions) and the lesser players wider, they also reflect on the previous match and coach to what went wrong (which infuriates me!). This always means players who make a mark on games are playing 8,9,10 or centre. The 'good tackler' is left alone at FB to watch the attack from deep, and the 'big lads' rot up front where they can't become more athletic through gametime.

I once mentored a young coach, who was pretty receptive, and after watching him for a few weeks, found he was sound technically, and engaging during training delivery, but just saw the match day stakes as too high to take risks. Season was going well 75% win rate but was forever pandering to parents comments about winning. Took charge of 1 game myself and totally baalsed the matchday team up, moved a hooker to centre, wing to FB, and FB to 10 (usual 10's parents decided anything less than playing 10 wasn't worth their time and left lol), game was a great spectacle, with the teamwinning by 3 points. Feedback after the game was superb in general, the boys rallied because it was their first ever win without the superstar 10 (BTW tried to play him at 8) and 2 first ever try scorers in the process. I was lucky things turned out well but the point was that the result is eventually meaningless, as long as junior teams win around half of the time they are content with playing the game, having fun with friends and developing. Some players moved back and forth positions after that, some returned as they prefered their original, and the superstar 10 even come back to training, agreed to play 8 and scored 4/6 tries the week after from 8, and loved it. Went back to 10 though lol.

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Post by fa0019 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 4:11 pm

Its the problem with junior rugby. Its too easy to pick those 13yr old 6'2 behemoths with little skill but lots of grunt to smash a side to victory denying true potential to come through over time.

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Post by Neutralee on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 4:15 pm

fa0019 wrote:Its the problem with junior rugby. Its too easy to pick those 13yr old 6'2 behemoths with little skill but lots of grunt to smash a side to victory denying true potential to come through over time.

Sorry I feel i've dragged this thread sway from it's original, and highly exciting point. It just irks me so much that British rugby is so narrow minded that they not consider instinct and talent is developed from an early age, despite Balyi reporting on the RFU's system and basically calling it upside down!

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 19 Aug 2014, 5:56 pm

I'd want a 3, an 8 and a 10 who were at the top of their game. I'd be looking at Dan Cole (pending a medical), Kieran Read and Jonny Sexton. All three are in the top 3 in their position in the world (in my opinion) and are coming into their primes as opposed to getting over their primes.

Players like Bismarck, Alberts, Folau and Le Roux wouldn't be far behind.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 11:48 am

Glad to see its got some debate going!

The draft idea isn't a bad one Neutralee, could be a goer if others are interested, maybe a separate thread is needed?

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Post by fa0019 on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 2:24 pm

Everyone (including myself) mentioned inidividual players or positions.... but what about leaders? What about captains.
 
Take a Francois Pienaar, George Gregan or a Jonno or their modern equivalent.... guys like that would surely be the first choice in your team regardless of the Carters, Bismarcks of this world etc.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 6:25 pm

That's a good point, but those 3 names you mention would be pretty good starting points even if they weren't the leaders they are, any team would be pretty happy starting with Gregan at 9 even if he was a useless leader

Would the same apply to someone who is seen as an excellent leader, but maybe isn't as good a player in his position as others. Trying to think of someone is a bit tricky, maybe Borthwick at a push, or John Smit when he was looked as being played for his leadership rather than his playing ability

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Post by Poorfour on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 8:39 pm

Guys, you're doing this all wrong. Obviously one should start with Toulon and maybe bring in Carter and Smith.... ;-)

More seriously, I'd probably go for:
The entire France front row
Bakkies, Lawes
SOB, Read, Robshaw (biased, here, but I like strong all-rounders with huge engines on the flanks)

Care
Carter
Not sure on wings. Probably the AB wings.
Fickou, Smith
Ben Smith at 15.

*** off topic ***

Neutralee - thanks for the really detailed insights into two sports I love. On gridiron, I think Al Davis used to say that you build a team from the cornerbacks - it'd be interesting to see how they fare in the draft.

On UK minis, I don't know when you last coached there but the RFU, SRFU and WRFU have been doing a lot to try to change things from the bottom up. This year tag will be played 4 a side and knock ons will be ignored to encourage youngsters to get in and handle. Further up, the first few years of contact rugby are done without any specialisation. Winning and losing are being deprioritised, too.

I can't work out whether schools are a problem or not. My son is playing RFU rules for his club, but for school is playing 10-a-side with no kicking and uncontested 3 man scrums and lineouts but otherwise the full game, with specialist positions. In general, what I'm seeing is that the kids who are playing school and club rugby are more versatile at this stage because they have to adapt to different playing styles.

I think the pro academies are helping, though. They pick kids up at 13 and provide gradually increased coaching up until they are ready to enter the academy full time. They are also quite smart about positions. The extreme example is Kyle Sinckler, who was a schoolboy fullback. The club knew from Day 1 that he'd never be fast enough to be a back but let him play there and develop the skills until he hit the academy and they turned him into a tighthead.
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Wed 20 Aug 2014, 9:01 pm

Realistically top 10s and Tight Heads would be the first picks unless teams were already established and had weaknesses to fill or specific plans to cater for. So I'd guess that right at the top would be Carter, Barrett, Cruden, Sexton, Farrell, FTH, Cole, Mas etc
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