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 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand

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Pantherus
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PostSubject: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeThu Nov 25, 2010 10:23 am

2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand 4383891

Sunday November 25
Wales v New Zealand
Millenium Stadium
6:5 AM NZDT



ALL BLACKS
Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Sonny-Bill Williams, Hosea Gear, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Ma’a Nonu


WALES
Lee Byrne, George North, Tom Shanklin, James Hook, Tom James, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips, Ryan Jones, Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Adam Rhys Jones, Matthew Rees (captain), Gethin Jenkins.
Reserves: Huw Bennett, Paul James, Jonathan Thomas, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Richard Rees, Andrew Bishop.

All that stands between the All Blacks and another (*yawn*) Grand Slam tour is Wales who, albeit with a somewhat second-string team, only managed a draw with Fiji on the Weekend just gone.

The All Blacks have responded to this in an interesting fashion - while the forward pack named is pretty clearly the strongest possible in NZ, the backs have a little bit of "potential over proven" in there, with Sonny Bill Williams given a chance to back up his one-man-demolition show against Scotland with another start in the No. 12 jersey at the expense of incumbent Ma'a Nonu, who drops to the bench; also Isaia Toeava has been named on the right wing in a bid to use his offensive powers to break the Welsh line - a rather perplexing call given that Cory Jane has done nothing to warrant demotion, could be considered just as dangerous on attack (just ask the Irish against whom Jane kick-started a counter-attack which resulted in one of Kieran Read's tries) and is undoubtedly better on defence. Nonetheless, the "pet project" gets given yet another shot to prove his worth.

Given Toeava's position - it is highly amusing that veteran Josevata Rokocoko, a man whom many feel has been been more lives than a sack full of cats, was not given the same chance and Wellington's Hosea Gear seems to have sewn up the 11 Jersey completely going into 2011 - hopefully he won't be tossed by the wayside yet again between now and WC time...

In the reserves were some fairly dodgy calls IMO - with Andrew Hore named as the reserve Hooker despite Hika Elliot's stronger showings; Neemia Tialata must be wondering why he even bothered coming over as John Afoa is again named as the reserve prop; Daniel Braid is the reserve loose forward despite Liam Messam's stronger performances and a possible sign that another thumping is on the cards to allow Richie McCaw to leave the field early as he did against Scotland; Andy Ellis has somehow ousted Alby Mathewson in a move that many would consider the blatant favouritism that kept Ellis in the mix for as long as he has; Stephen Donald will again be the official ABs observer given he's not likely to gain field time short of a 30-odd point advantage...maybe not even then...and Ma'a Nonu's also set to sit there and wonder what he has to do to regain the starting show...


Last edited by Pantherus on Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeThu Nov 25, 2010 11:59 am

I really don't think we can read much into this side, especially the likes of Toeva and SBW. These two guys certainly haven't overtaken Jane and Nonu respectively as the preferred starters imo.
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeThu Nov 25, 2010 9:32 pm

Henry insisted that the team was named on form - I can appreciate that in SBWs case, but in no way can Toeava be considered in better form than Jane - Toeava was woeful in HK; played well against a Scotland team who, let's face it, would have struggled against any S14 team, then Jane plays superbly against a staunch Irish team only be dropped due to form - BS.
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeThu Nov 25, 2010 9:40 pm

It's just the usual spin from Ted Grin

I still think him and the coaching staff would regard Jane as their preferred right winger if it was the World Cup Final this weekend and not the Welsh test.
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeFri Nov 26, 2010 2:16 am

Pantherus wrote:
Henry insisted that the team was named on form - I can appreciate that in SBWs case, but in no way can Toeava be considered in better form than Jane - Toeava was woeful in HK; played well against a Scotland team who, let's face it, would have struggled against any S14 team, then Jane plays superbly against a staunch Irish team only be dropped due to form - BS.

Toeava also played well off the bench against England dont forget p'rus. And Scotland beat the Boks the following week so maybe we arent giving our boys as much credit for that big win as we should be?

Definitely still harsh on Jane but I dont think his place in the pecking order is in jeopordy at all.

As SBW says, just some spin doctoring by Ted to justify playing their preferred utility (Toeava) back into form after a long injury layoff.
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeSat Nov 27, 2010 9:22 pm

Good win there by the AB's. I have to say some of the calls i was pretty lost with and there reserve flanker, what a co.ck.

Have to say the rushing defence by the Welsh was good, thought it wouldn't last the full 80 but they pretty much put pressure on us the entire game. Carter was well covered and probably didn't get as much space as he wanted. SBW looked half the player he was against Scotland, kinda got me scratching my head. Top job by Kaino tho, definitely the best game i've seen him play. I think Mils, Toeava, Gear & Boric took steps in the right direction. Overall good game to end the season.

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeSun Nov 28, 2010 2:37 am

Kaino was massive in this game - Welsh must've looked at his hits and had flashbacks en masse of Jerry Collins downing Colin Charvis way back when Smile

Didn't really think much of Toeava overall - had some good touches, especially the setup for Gear's 1st try but other than that he was invisible at best and had a couple of howlers as well; Jane must've been grinding his teeth.

SBW was quiet but handled himself well - Welsh gave him no room to offload like he normally does, but instead of trying to force them and just costing possession (like a rookie would do) he played a more sensible game taking the ball himself and distributing when he needed to; did very well (despite his knockers saying he had a bad game) and by the time Nonu came on the Welsh were doing their best impression of turnstyles for him.

Smith was a huge force for the backs, between him and Mils for best back on the field (Kaino was easily MOM). Carter had a pretty off night (not just at goal) but that rush defence shuts down most 10s anyway so it wasn't a game for him to shine.

Braid did well off the bench and didn't do his 2011 chances any harm whatsoever - Latimer and Lowe (arguably the only other 7's able to unseat him for the WC) will have to have a huge S15 to push past him now.

How funny did Afoa look waddling along to score his try? Very Happy

Ref was atrocious!
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeSun Nov 28, 2010 9:52 pm

I thought Toeava was actually pretty good p'rus.

Jane is still easily our best winger, but the try Ice set up for Gear just showed why the coaches have persevered with him so long. I dont know if even Jane could've beat four players while fending off both hands and then still getting the offload away.

Agree he was quiet afterwards but apparently he played through some ligament damage so that would explain things.

SBW was real quiet and although I agree he didnt do anything wrong, he really struggled to get involved and you'd expect more from someone who is such a weapon. Compare that to Smithy who's half his size but got stuck in and was right in the thick of it.

Really pleased that Nonu made a huge impact when he got his chance. I was worried he would take his demotion badly and just sulk like he has in the past but it looks like he's going to come out swinging. That'll be awesome for NZ rugby if both these monsters are going hard to win that WC spot.

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeMon Nov 29, 2010 1:20 am

Oh for sure that run Toeava did was huge, and he made a couple of other good touches through the game so he certainly wasn't weak. But beyond those couple touches he vanished which is, in this day and age, the big mistake of wings to go missing when the ball's not near them.

The main thing with Toeava atm is that he and Gear are both power runners who pop up in the midfield and try to break the line, which is great but gets a bit wasted when they're both doing it, and also the likes of SBW or Nonu already there; while Jane plays like a Wing/Fullback and is a counter-attack king.

In all fairness looking to the WC, Gear, Toeava and Jane have probably locked up 3 of the wing spots while the likes of Rokocoko, Sivivatu and Guildford are duking it out for the last one - not that Ted & co will see it that way Sad

Assuming all injured players (notably Ali Williams and Piri Weepu) are fully recovered and not notably lost form, and no drastic form changes occur from anyone between now and then - I'd pick the 30-man WC squad as:

Props: Woodcock, B. Franks, O. Franks, Afoa - next in line is Tialata but can't see him breaking through

Hookers: Hore, Mealamu, Elliot

Locks: Williams, Thorn, Whitelock, Boric/Donelly (still tough to pick from those 2)

Loosies: Kaino, McCaw, Read, Braid, Messam/Vito/Thomson

Halfbacks: Weepu, Cowan, Mathewson/Ellis (much as I hate it, Ellis is apparently in the mix Sad)

Pivots: Carter, Donald/Slade/Cruden (HUGE S15 coming up for these three - Brett could arguably be in the mix but they won't take a complete test rookie into the WC)

Midfield: Nonu, Smith, SBW, Kahui/Toeava

Wings: Gear, Jane, Rokocoko/Sivivatu

Fullbacks: Muliaina, Dagg

Due to needing extra cover for halfback and hooker (unless they use Afoa as hooker cover and whoever Carter's backup is for halfback cover) they'll only take 5 loosies - with Braid likely tying up the 7 cover leaving Messam, Vito and possibly Thomson to fight for the last spot - and either 3 midfielders or 3 wingers - of course Kahui and Toeava would both be considered utilities in that respect while Henry's got a hard-on for both Rokocoko and Sivivatu and may well desperately try to keep both in the squad, despite Roko's lost form and Sivi's lack of game time.

S15 will be VERY interesting...
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeMon Nov 29, 2010 10:27 am


Oh yea, S15 will be massive for WC places.

They already had 3 hookers and halfbacks in 07 though, they went with only 3 specialist locks to accomodate the 6th looseforward and used Reuben Thorne as lock cover if needed.

It'll be interesting to see how the squad is made up in that regard but I agree they wont risk a repeat of Keith Robinson's dramas and go with 4 specialist locks.

Sam Whitelock had a very good game at 6 for Canterbury this year and he may get a few games there for the Crusaders next year too. So if he adds looseforward cover to his CV, they can definitely afford another lock.

I'd like to see Thomson picked as McCaws backup myself. Although he's not a specialist 7 like Braid, he's still played plenty of rugby there and around the park I think he'd offer more impact. Messam/Vito fill the same role of 6/8 cover so will just come down to who plays better in the S15 I guess.

I do like the idea of Toeava picked as a specialist wing alongside Jane and Gear. Roks is definitely a long way back now and who knows with Sivi and his injuries... They're both Henry favourites for sure but the old man showed a real ruthless streak with his selections this tour.

Toeava selected as a winger means room for Kahui or Ranger in the midfield and both are dangerous players who also cover wing. Kahui especially is all class and if he's playing well, would be hard to leave out of any team.

Then there's the forgotten man McAlister. Who knows what he'll come up with next year.... but IF he somehow recaptures his 07 form, he'll add another spanner to the works.

Gees I cant wait for next season to kick off.

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeTue Nov 30, 2010 5:04 am

Hell yeah. But for noe the rugby switches off and time for the beach! (I don't watch cricket so...)
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeTue Nov 30, 2010 5:14 am

Pantherus wrote:
Hell yeah. But for noe the rugby switches off and time for the beach! (I don't watch cricket so...)

I normally do but with the way our boys have been going lately I'm reconsidering my loyalties
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeTue Nov 30, 2010 5:23 am

lol - that too Smile

It's why I didn't watch any of the NPC this year - god Wellington were bad Sad
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeWed Dec 01, 2010 6:39 am

Just a note that the Springboks are finishing their tour by playing a Barbarians outfit featuring a large number of Kiwis:

BRITISH BARBARIANS: 15 James O'Connor; 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Drew Mitchell; 10 Matt Giteau (c), 9 Will Genia; 8 Colin Bourke, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Rodney So'oialo, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Reserves: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 John Yapp, 18 Quintin Geldenhuys, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Seru Rabini.
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeWed Dec 01, 2010 9:09 pm

I don't get these barbarian teams, wouldn't it make more sense to make it out of just Northern Hemisphere players?

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand   2010 Grand Slam Tour: Wales v New Zealand Icon_minitimeWed Dec 01, 2010 9:43 pm

Meh - Nonu + AAC in the midfield = brutal! Smile
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