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I honestly declare the New Zealand All Blacks are playing the best rugby I have ever seen!

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Post by kingelderfield Sun 09 Oct 2016, 1:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

That just about sums it up.

I think I've watched all their RC games this season and seriously their game plan and execution there of is above and beyond anything I've ever seen before.

You might argue that this hasn't been a classic RC? But not for me, take yesterday's Durban triumph. The Africans were more than game and scrapped for ever inch until the damn could be held no more.

Ok I might concede that both RSA or OZY are average when comparing their teams of yesteryear (OZY 99 & RSA 07), however neither are complete mugs and add to that Argentina are probably at their zenith in terms of team development. So congratulations must be given to the ALL Blacks.

For me they are playing the game of heaven and if they continue as they are they will take a third WC in Japan. Small crumbs but lets just hope that they're peaking to soon and also, thank our lucky stars (England) that we're not playing them till next autumn by which time we might have learnt which end of the ball you'r meant to throw with.

I can't see the Lions having a chance, 05 all over again.

Fair play to NZ.

One more game against OZY and then Soldier Field and Europe for and end of season romp. Hopefully plenty of game and games for everyone to celebrate yet?

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun 16 Oct 2016, 2:33 pm


And even more subjective, Is he better than current holder of World rugby's Coach of the Year award, Michael Cheka.

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Post by kingelderfield Sun 16 Oct 2016, 3:16 pm

aucklandlaurie wrote:
And even more subjective, Is he better than current holder of World rugby's Coach of the Year award, Michael Cheka.

I can't see that anything has changed since a year ago so the answer must still be yes.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 16 Oct 2016, 8:33 pm

kingelderfield wrote:Anyway it's great to see everyone appreciates good rugby!

I now think its fair comment to say Hansen has moved beyond Henry in terms of who is the 'better' coach. Obviously massively subjective and ofcourse their both exceptional.

Two peas in the same pod. Henry paved the way and certainly gave Hansen a better side than he got in 2004 after Mitchells debacle. Henry would have gone on to do the same here simply because the talent depth is there in spades. Only question is whether he would have done better in my opinion. Hansen was handed a World cup champion team. No other All Black coach has been afforded that luxury.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 16 Oct 2016, 8:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well France were class that day, Barnes was fine and NZ bottled it a bit. You had loads of opportunities, particularly for drop goals but wanted to walk the ball over. You've actually learned from that day so at least the team privately at least looked at themselves rather than moan. So nearer a than b but not as simple as you'd like to make it.

Thats true, we have learned and have won every World cup match since that day. That goes to show how bad he was. ABs decided from that day on that refs would never determine our fate as much again, and several sides are paying for that now, Wales the closest in 2016- 14 points.

At any time during the 2016 year had Barnes called another incorrect forward pass at any minute of any match (and he did actually versus Wales) ...wouldnt have mattered because the ABs have covered that eventuality off. We havent won em all since 2007, but the margins sure are convincing.

So we thank you Mr Barnes, youve helped create a monster! Very Happy

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Post by Taylorman Sun 16 Oct 2016, 8:47 pm

Notch wrote:I would say the current New Zealand team is very slightly better than the England team that won the 2003 RWC. But it is unbelievably close. Thats just my opinion.

I do think that this New Zealand team will go on to bigger and better things than that England side did- like whitewashing the Lions next summer, and very possibly 3 in a row at Japan 2019. Whereas the 2004 Six Nations was the start of a long period in the wilderness for England.

The World Cup in 2003 represented England peaking. I do not think this New Zealand team has reached its full potential yet.

87-88 side were better than the England side of 2001+
Unbeaten, one draw, lowest win 14 points, lowest win in World cup by 20 points, still a record. Thats winning, and winning decisively, and didnt need a dropped goal in the final to win as all games were over with 10-15 to go.

France would have needed 7 of em. :-)

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Post by Not grey and not a ghost Sun 16 Oct 2016, 10:18 pm

The fact that we are talking about this team is great. Just enjoying the ride. Could lose the next game, or the one after that. The current run wont go on for ever. Time for reflection comes at the end...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 17 Oct 2016, 8:11 am

Taylorman wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well France were class that day, Barnes was fine and NZ bottled it a bit. You had loads of opportunities, particularly for drop goals but wanted to walk the ball over. You've actually learned from that day so at least the team privately at least looked at themselves rather than moan. So nearer a than b but not as simple as you'd like to make it.

Thats true, we have learned and have won every World cup match since that day. That goes to show how bad he was. ABs decided from that day on that refs would never determine our fate as much again, and several sides are paying for that now, Wales the closest in 2016- 14 points.

At any time during the 2016 year had Barnes called another incorrect forward pass at any minute of any match (and he did actually versus Wales) ...wouldnt have mattered because the ABs have covered that eventuality off. We havent won em all since 2007, but the margins sure are convincing.

So we thank you Mr Barnes, youve helped create a monster! Very Happy

Pretty sure Barnes (or his assistants) did miss at least another forward pass that day, and plenty more since. If missing a forward pass is a cardinal sin for officials we may as well just let the two teams decide on when the laws are broken? Or you could look much closer to home for the reason you didn't win that day (clue it wasn't lasagne that day).

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Post by emack2 Mon 17 Oct 2016, 12:58 pm

There have been three occasions when an illness or food poisoning effected
the preparation.execution of matches NZ played they lost them all.
Decisive Bledisloe Cup match in the 1990`s,[pre 1995],1995 RWC and
England 2012 with the noro virus contracted in Wales that year.Whether
it affected there performances has been debatable but it didn't help.
Is it a cardinal sin to miss a forward pass ?ask yourself that IF your
side was ejected from a RWC because of it?
NZ team and management didn't blame the incidents for there losses
and congratulated the winning team in each case.
Andy Daltons 1987 side was special they abandoned the Ruck knowing
they would be whistled of the park.Developed the driving Maul as a secret
weapon.
2007 was awake up call for the first time the kneejerk dump the coaches
didn't apply THAT was the most important factor.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 17 Oct 2016, 1:27 pm

Yeah but Saracens would beat them


I honestly declare the New Zealand All Blacks are playing the best rugby I have ever seen! - Page 3 1347041234

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 17 Oct 2016, 1:33 pm

Taylorman wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well France were class that day, Barnes was fine and NZ bottled it a bit. You had loads of opportunities, particularly for drop goals but wanted to walk the ball over. You've actually learned from that day so at least the team privately at least looked at themselves rather than moan. So nearer a than b but not as simple as you'd like to make it.

Thats true, we have learned and have won every World cup match since that day. That goes to show how bad he was. ABs decided from that day on that refs would never determine our fate as much again, and several sides are paying for that now, Wales the closest in 2016- 14 points.

At any time during the 2016 year had Barnes called another incorrect forward pass at any minute of any match (and he did actually versus Wales) ...wouldnt have mattered because the ABs have covered that eventuality off. We havent won em all since 2007, but the margins sure are convincing.

So we thank you Mr Barnes, youve helped create a monster! Very Happy

That's a great moral victory.

RE Barnes in the 2nd test(?) missed one forward pass which ABs scored from, Cruden's pass for when the try got disallowed was flat at best but it was that close I can't really be certain. I got time for Barnes, he doesn't bottle it at all.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 17 Oct 2016, 1:55 pm

emack2 wrote:There have been three occasions when an illness or food poisoning effected
the preparation.execution of matches NZ played they lost them all.
Decisive Bledisloe Cup match in the 1990`s,[pre 1995],1995 RWC and
England 2012 with the noro virus contracted in Wales that year.Whether
it affected there performances has been debatable but it didn't help.
Is it a cardinal sin to miss a forward pass ?ask yourself that IF your
side was ejected from a RWC because of it?
NZ team and management didn't blame the incidents for there losses
and congratulated the winning team in each case.
Andy Daltons 1987 side was special they abandoned the Ruck knowing
they would be whistled of the park.Developed the driving Maul as a secret
weapon.
2007 was awake up call for the first time the kneejerk dump the coaches
didn't apply THAT was the most important factor.

No it's not a cardinal sin, and no team has ever gone out of a wc or been beaten due to one decision by a ref. Pointing the refs, food poisoning etc (when you've declared yourself fit enough by being on the pitch) is sour grapes and not accepting responsibility.

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Post by emack2 Mon 17 Oct 2016, 2:40 pm

A rather naïve comment, ask any player in a RWC who is perhaps 80% fit
to declare himself unfit never happen.The fact that it may not be good for
the team is a calculated risk.IF they breakdown it was the wrong one in
2007 Dan Carter was 80% he didn't make it.In 2015 DC was injured in
France match.
Was 80% in Boks match and 90% in the final but made the difference,IF
your whole Squad is effected as in 1995 and 2012. You have to hope your
selections are right live with the consequences.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 17 Oct 2016, 2:45 pm

Yes, and to be fair it's only really supporters who moan, rarely the team in cases of illness. First thing McCaw said afetr being beaten by England was that it was nothing to do with illness. Indeed anyone watching the end of that match and saw NZ knocking on the door in the door in the last 5 knows it wasn't the reason for that defeat. Refs are easy fodder to deflect from defeats. I've yet to see the ref have more influence or more wrong decisions than either side though.

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Post by emack2 Thu 20 Oct 2016, 3:01 pm

NZ team to play Australia at eden park on Sat 22 oct 2016
Moody
Coles
Franks
Whitelock
Retalick
Todd
Reid
Kaino
Perenara
Barrett
Crotty
Lienart-brown
J.Savea
Dagg
B.Smith
BENCH
Faumina
Taylor
Crockett
A.Savea
Squire
Kerr-Barlow
Fekitoa
Cruden
THIS is perhaps the most powerful NZ side that can be fielded the thinking
being the strongest defensive team to start,then Flair players of the Bench.
This shows they are taking OZ seriously not taking anything for granted.
Presumeably the Extended squad for the AI`s will be announced after the
weekend.

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Post by chewed_mintie Thu 20 Oct 2016, 3:26 pm

I see no reason to hold back Ardie in the same way that they held back Barrett. Matt Todd, really good player but Ardie is a fantastic athlete who more than does his core role well.

Just unleash from the off and be done with it!


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Post by fa0019 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 2:52 pm

emack2 wrote:A rather naïve comment, ask any player in a RWC who is perhaps 80% fit
to declare himself unfit never happen.The fact that it may not be good for
the team is a calculated risk.IF they breakdown it was the wrong one in
2007 Dan Carter was 80% he didn't make it.In 2015 DC was injured in
France match.
Was 80% in Boks match and 90% in the final but made the difference,IF
your whole Squad is effected as in 1995 and 2012. You have to hope your
selections are right live with the consequences.

Yet they didn't make a single selection change Alan... and left out players who were not impacted. Suzi or not... it was the AB coaches fault. Players get injured all the time, you have to replace them.. like Brasil in 98, they lost that final because the coach couldn't stand up to Ronaldo and his star status.
Had they made changes and played fit players and lost then they at least gave themselves the best opportunity. It was Hart's fault not the dodgy food, the SA secret service, a naughty waitress or some gambling kingpin in India.

Was a 100% fit Eric Rush < than an 80% Jeff Wilson? Come on. Rush would have walked into any other side in the world.

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Post by fa0019 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 2:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
emack2 wrote:There have been three occasions  when an illness or food poisoning effected
the preparation.execution of matches NZ played they lost them all.
Decisive Bledisloe Cup match in the 1990`s,[pre 1995],1995 RWC and
England 2012 with the noro virus contracted in Wales that year.Whether
it affected there performances has been debatable but it didn't help.
Is it a cardinal sin to miss a forward pass ?ask yourself that IF your
side was ejected from a RWC because of it?
NZ team and management didn't blame the incidents for there losses
and congratulated the winning team in each case.
Andy Daltons 1987 side was special they abandoned the Ruck knowing
they would be whistled of the park.Developed the driving Maul as a secret
weapon.
2007 was awake up call for the first time the kneejerk dump the coaches
didn't apply THAT was the most important factor.

No it's not a cardinal sin, and no team has ever gone out of a wc or been beaten due to one decision by a ref. Pointing the refs, food poisoning etc (when you've declared yourself fit enough by being on the pitch) is sour grapes and not accepting responsibility.

I would say France 95 probably lost their semifinal due to a clear refereeing decision.

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Post by profitius Fri 21 Oct 2016, 4:28 pm

Think Crotty is underrated? In other words, if this is the best attacking team of all time, would somone like SBW improve it or upset the balance. I'd go with the latter. I think Crotty is very smart and efficient and with him there it brings out the best in others.
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Post by fa0019 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 4:33 pm

I recall when Chris Jack left NZ to make some money with a huge reputation and then everyone suddenly realised he was kind of crap.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 6:37 pm

fa0019 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
emack2 wrote:There have been three occasions  when an illness or food poisoning effected
the preparation.execution of matches NZ played they lost them all.
Decisive Bledisloe Cup match in the 1990`s,[pre 1995],1995 RWC and
England 2012 with the noro virus contracted in Wales that year.Whether
it affected there performances has been debatable but it didn't help.
Is it a cardinal sin to miss a forward pass ?ask yourself that IF your
side was ejected from a RWC because of it?
NZ team and management didn't blame the incidents for there losses
and congratulated the winning team in each case.
Andy Daltons 1987 side was special they abandoned the Ruck knowing
they would be whistled of the park.Developed the driving Maul as a secret
weapon.
2007 was awake up call for the first time the kneejerk dump the coaches
didn't apply THAT was the most important factor.

No it's not a cardinal sin, and no team has ever gone out of a wc or been beaten due to one decision by a ref. Pointing the refs, food poisoning etc (when you've declared yourself fit enough by being on the pitch) is sour grapes and not accepting responsibility.

I would say France 95 probably lost their semifinal due to a clear refereeing decision.

I'm still intrigued why one moment or one mistake takes precedent over all others? Makes a good narrative I suppose.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Fri 21 Oct 2016, 8:00 pm

Australian team whose mission it is to stop the All Blacks achieving the most wins in a row record, with all due reverence to the Cyprus national team.

1. Scott Sio,
2. Stephen Moore,
3. Sekope kefu,
4. Rory Arnold,
5. Adam Coleman,
6. Dean Mumm,
7. Michael hooper,
8. Lopeti Timani,
9. Nick Phipps,
10. Bernard Foley,
11. Henry Speight,
12. Reece Hodge,
13. Samu Kerevi,
14. Dane Haylett-Petty,
15. Izzy Folau,

Bench:
Hanson, Robertson, Alaatoa, Simmons, Pocock, Frisby, Cooper, Naivalu.

Referee: Nigel Owens.

A team that has the ability to spoil and slow the game down, but cant really see where they  would get the points from to be ahead on the scoreboard after 80.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 9:16 pm

While I understand your point (I think it being to a positive approach) to maximise attack its a balance to stannding toe to toe. NZ aren't unbeatable; a few have come close in the great run so never rule it out.

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Post by emack2 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 10:42 pm

Interesting comment that Chris Jack was kinda crap he had season
after Uk,With Western Province Where he was considered a star turn.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 10:54 pm

I think i'll get your sterotypical response but...and?

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Post by aucklandlaurie Fri 21 Oct 2016, 11:34 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:While I understand your point (I think it being to a positive approach) to maximise attack its a balance to stannding toe to toe. NZ aren't unbeatable; a few have come close in the great run so never rule it out.

Bit like saying Usain Bolt isnt unbeatable.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 21 Oct 2016, 11:45 pm

Well yes, he isn't as he's been beaten.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sat 22 Oct 2016, 12:15 am

The Wallabies have beaten New Zealand before at Eden park, that was over 30 years ago.

So far this year the ABs have beaten the Wallabies twice, scoring 71 points to 17, scoring 10 tries to 1.

Other teams this year have beaten the wallabies as well.

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Post by Not grey and not a ghost Sat 22 Oct 2016, 12:42 am

The Wallabies could win. It's always a possibility. I think they've improved significantly since the start of the season. It looks to me like most teams have spent the first part of their season this year (6N for NH teams and June tests for SH teams) adjusting to new coaches, personnel and new plans. I'm backing the AB's but I'm expecting a tougher, closer test.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 22 Oct 2016, 12:52 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:The Wallabies have beaten New Zealand before at Eden park, that was over 30 years ago.

So far this year the ABs have beaten the Wallabies twice, scoring 71 points to 17, scoring 10 tries to 1.

Other teams this year have beaten the wallabies as well.
.

Yes NZ will be favourites.

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Post by emack2 Sat 22 Oct 2016, 6:44 am

It`s fair to say given the record that NZ would be favourites in any match
at home.Last time they lost two at home was Boks 2008-9,last game lost
France 2009.Total home losses are 33 or 4 since 1903,Australia like most
of the sides are building /rebuilt since RWC.
Selected team is better balanced especially back row,major loss is Genia
at 9,Phipps?

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Post by rainbow-warrior Sat 22 Oct 2016, 7:27 am

Kick off almost here, hard luck Australia Smile
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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 22 Oct 2016, 9:50 am

World rugby needs to give up, nobody can get close to NZ!

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Post by rainbow-warrior Sat 22 Oct 2016, 11:01 am

All I got from this game is what I have already stated, 2 to 3 years of NZ dominance with no one defeating them. Let's be honest since the professional game they have dominated anyway so nothing much to add.

The other thing I got from the game is Aussie are improving and they are Wales first game. Wales will need to be at their best and need to beat Aussie this time round.
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Post by chewed_mintie Sat 22 Oct 2016, 11:21 am

I felt constantly on edge when Australia carried through multiple phases, they certainly stepped up tonight and found some gaps but looked a little abject in the final 10 mins and bereft of ideas.

I felt Speight should have been rewarded for a fantastic try but on the flipside, Coles/Foley should have been a penalty try too. Guess this game has a funny way of evening out eventually. Having said that, NZ would have been out of sight by that point had Barrett knocked over some fairly elementary kicks.

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Post by emack2 Sat 22 Oct 2016, 3:39 pm

The Game was the best of the season so far from the NZ point of view,
they had to dig deep to score tries.Three debatable decisions all of which
in my opinion officials/tmo got right.
Whether Savea was able to tackle Speight is doubtful and deserved a try.
BUT Savea was deliberately obstructed it wasn't just a case of running a
line.Barrett pulled early for first time this year Cruden`s Goalkicking was
a little better.
Overall a good NZ win with so little ball a win ugly,a completion which is
what was needed.Matt Todd had a great game and deserved to play full
eighty minutes.

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Post by Not grey and not a ghost Sat 22 Oct 2016, 8:30 pm

Thought the decision not to award the Australian try was poor. Happened to us in the past, didn't agree then either. The Aussies definitely look like their rebuild has potential. They now have a tall lineout, their are still question marks about their scrum. I thought they were possibly saved in the scrum by the ref a bit, the European tour will be interesting. New 12 looks the goods and more power runners and deceptive lines means that Folau is more of a threat. I feel that they do need something more. Their game last night was largely about ball retention, I think they need to create more space on attack for their backs ore.


Last edited by Not grey and not a ghost on Sun 23 Oct 2016, 9:15 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sat 22 Oct 2016, 8:33 pm

A different sort of a game last night from both teams, the ABs gave the impression of going through the motions whereas the Wallabies played their best Rugby of the year.

All the officials made accurate decisions and Nigel Owens is the best referee in the World.

Alan, Matt Todd showed last night why he must start ahead of Savea, his defence is much more aggressive, straighter and accurate, bring on Ardie when the games starts to break up where his upper body strength and pace can return dividends and that only occurs in the later segments of the game.

ABs now have a number of things to work on before the Irish, most noticeably, how about trying to some kick off ball for a change?


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Post by aucklandlaurie Sat 22 Oct 2016, 8:48 pm

Not grey and not a ghost wrote:Thought the decision not top award the Australian try was poor. Happened to us in the past, didn't agree then either. The Aussies definitely look like their rebuild has potential. They now have a tall lineout, their are still question marks about their scrum. I thought they were possibly saved by the ref a bit, the European tour will be interesting. New 12 looks the goods and more power runners means that Folau is more of a threat. I feel that they do need something else as well. Their game last night was largely about ball retention, I think they need to create more space on attack for their backs.

My take on it is as follows.

The obstruction took place before the scoring of the try, therefore the ruling on it must take precedence unless any later event occured under advantage. I do not think Savea would have caught Speight but that is irrelevant. Haylett-Petty should not have given the referee and officials the opportunity to penalsie him for such an innocuous offence. Further and what I dont understand is that the wallabies fell victim to a similar incident only a few weeks back which cost them dearly, when Izzy folau ran an obstructive line into Bryan Habana, Folau was penalised, sent to the bin and Morne Steyn capitalised.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 23 Oct 2016, 8:27 pm

fa0019 wrote:I recall when Chris Jack left NZ to make some money with a huge reputation and then everyone suddenly realised he was kind of crap.

Same with Luke McCalister and Nonu now

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Post by chewed_mintie Mon 24 Oct 2016, 8:15 am

yappysnap wrote:
fa0019 wrote:I recall when Chris Jack left NZ to make some money with a huge reputation and then everyone suddenly realised he was kind of crap.

Same with Luke McCalister and Nonu now

Substandard environments make substandard players?

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Post by fa0019 Mon 24 Oct 2016, 9:37 am

chewed_mintie wrote:
yappysnap wrote:
fa0019 wrote:I recall when Chris Jack left NZ to make some money with a huge reputation and then everyone suddenly realised he was kind of crap.

Same with Luke McCalister and Nonu now

Substandard environments make substandard players?

Maybe, I imagine when you've been playing for NZ European club rugby may seem a bit depressing, although Jack and McAllister left NZ prematurely, they still had careers but chose to take the $ rather than wait till NZ told them to go make some money.

However say Stormers, Reds and Bulls aside I think the big European clubs have a greater aura about them in terms of atmosphere, travelling fans than SH clubs.
Jack came to WP and to be honest perhaps he wasn't motivated.

Although look how guys like Carter have done this last 1.2 seasons. First class in everything even at his age and his mileage. I think a lot of players have eaten off others plates but when isn't that ever the case?

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 24 Oct 2016, 9:57 am

In that case, it will be interesting to see if guys like Piatau go back to NZ a worthless player. As he's played for Wasps and Ulster, both of whom play like a NZ super rugby team then I'd say no he'll go back and still be good. Would Frank Halai be on the All Black radar should he return home?

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Post by whocares Tue 25 Oct 2016, 12:30 am

chewed_mintie wrote:
yappysnap wrote:
fa0019 wrote:I recall when Chris Jack left NZ to make some money with a huge reputation and then everyone suddenly realised he was kind of crap.

Same with Luke McCalister and Nonu now

Substandard environments make substandard players?

Rather a matter of substandard mindset really.

McAllister was ok during his first couple of seasons for Toulouse. Now he seems to enjoy life outside the rugby pitch really. Hope he doesn't end up like Kelleher though.
Nonu has been blowing hot and cold in Toulon but if I remember correctly he wasn't exactly consistent when playing for the Auckland Blues and yet always picked for the ABs and usually brilliant.
Outside of Carter who shows 100% dedication and is a great role model on top of being Racing best player , guys like Slade and Conrad Smith do add a lot to their club (Pau) despite it being rather "substandard" vs the great AB environment Wink
The list goes on... you have as many ex ABs failure than success over here.



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Post by Taylorman Wed 26 Oct 2016, 9:49 am

mikey_dragon wrote:In that case, it will be interesting to see if guys like Piatau go back to NZ a worthless player. As he's played for Wasps and Ulster, both of whom play like a NZ super rugby team then I'd say no he'll go back and still be good. Would Frank Halai be on the All Black radar should he return home?

Difference with Piutau and every single other NZ player playing more than just the one or two sabbaticals is one- when he left he was AB start quality and two, had every intention of returning for trying out for the World Cup in 2019.

The only other player that fits that criteria is Jerome Kaino, who also played the two seasons in Japan with an agreement with Hansen he'd been returning, and he returned and played as near to his 2011 form as possible.

I'd expect Piutau to do exactly the same. Whether he will make the squad will depend on the quality of backs at the time, and that looks to be getting better every year.

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