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 Post subject: The All Blacks backrow
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:31 am 
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Whoever takes over as the AB's Head Coach must prioritise re-building the AB backrow. Without an established and balanced backrow there is no chance that the AB's will regain that mantle of being the world's best team.

Kieran Read's retirement creates a big hole at no.8. And it's imperative that his replacement is found and given plenty of time and support to bed down the position. People have mentioned Ardie Savea as his successor, and certainly there are aspects of Ardie's game that are very appealing. In particular his running game. The biggest problem I have with Ardie Savea replacing Read is the diminished lineout winning ability involved with this swap. Over the past decade Kieran Read won more lineout ball than Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick combined. If Savea is going to replace Read then we need to think about the ramifications for the lineout, which is a crucial part of the game. Other contenders for no.8 moving into 2020 and beyond will be Akira Ioane, Shannon Frizell, Gareth Evans, Whetu Douglas and Devan Flanders. Our depth is extremely shallow.

That brings us to the flankers.

Moving into the RWC tournament Steve Hansen seemed to favour a Cane/Save combination at 7/6. Personally I don't think this combination was ever big enough to compete with the top international packs in an attritional test match. And going by Hansen's selection for our ill-fated semi final against England, neither did he. So it seems that we have a glaring vacancy at blindside flanker, regardless of whether Ardie Savea moves to no.8 or not. Luke Jacobsen, Shannon Frizell, Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita will all be competing for the AB no.6 jersey in 2020 and beyond. If the new AB coach decides to beef up his pack then players such as Jackson Hemopo and Scott Barrett may get a look in. I just hope we can get this position sorted soon, because until we do our pack will lack balance and cohesion.

Sam Cane was our first choice no.7 since the retirement of Richie McCaw in 2015. Right up until last week's semi final, when Steve Hansen lost faith in him as a player. Turning 28 in a few months, Sam Cane is still young enough to be a viable longterm option at 7, although it could be argued that his best days are behind him. With Matt Todd leaving NZ our depth at 7 is diminished, although it is Ardie Savea's best position and I wouldn't rule out Savea making the position his own moving forward. Talented youngsters such as Dalton Papali'i, Dillon Hunt, Mitchell Karpik and Lachlan Boshier will be in the mix and competing for the AB no.7 jersey moving into the next RWC cycle.

Overall I believe that bedding down an effective and balanced backrow is the no.1 priority for our incoming coach. We simply cannot have another 4 years mixing, matching and experimenting to try and find the right trio, this needs to be sorted out asap.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:37 am 
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6 and 8 seems like a massive gaping chasm to NZ Rugby now. Savea and Cane are clearly opensides and should always be looked at as such.
I reckon it'll take several seasons to sort that out, and probably likely the Springboks should take a few wins as a result between now and 2023.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:44 am 
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Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:48 am 
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sonic_attack wrote:
6 and 8 seems like a massive gaping chasm to NZ Rugby now. Savea and Cane are clearly opensides and should always be looked at as such.
I reckon it'll take several seasons to sort that out, and probably likely the Springboks should take a few wins as a result between now and 2023.


The Cane/Savea combination was a failure and must never be repeated. Steve Hansen severely compromised his pack by playing two openside flankers. I understand why he did it. Ardie Savea's form for the Hurricanes was irresistible but Steve Hansen also didn't want to drop one of his favourites in Sam Cane. He needed to make a tough call one way or the other.

I see blindside flankers getting bigger and taller, not smaller and lighter. For me, Pieter-Steph du Toit is the best 6 in world rugby right now, and is the standard bearer for blindside flanker play. He's 120+ kg and 2 metres tall. Moving forward the Springboks are going to select 3 x 2 metre tall locks in their XXIII and du Toit at blindside flanker. We need to be able to match their size ad grunt.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:51 am 
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naki wrote:
Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


That's been our problem for the past 4 years, Hansen mucked around trying to find his best backrow but never did. Ardie Savea and Cane lacked balance at 6/7 and will still lack balance at 7/8. Steve Hansen needs to pick one of them at 7 and the other can wear no. 20.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:52 am 
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Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


That's been our problem for the past 4 years, Hansen mucked around trying to find his best backrow but never did. Ardie Savea and Cane lacked balance at 6/7 and will still lack balance at 7/8. Steve Hansen needs to pick one of them at 7 and the other can wear no. 20.


There are no 8 candidates. Literally no one who can currently play international rugby there right now. Hopefully one will emerge over the next couple of seasons, but during this transition phase Ardie will do a job.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:54 am 
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naki wrote:
Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


That's been our problem for the past 4 years, Hansen mucked around trying to find his best backrow but never did. Ardie Savea and Cane lacked balance at 6/7 and will still lack balance at 7/8. Steve Hansen needs to pick one of them at 7 and the other can wear no. 20.


There are no 8 candidates. Literally no one who can currently play international rugby there right now. Hopefully one will emerge over the next couple of seasons, but during this transition phase Ardie will do a job.


Uncle FB will lose his shit when he reads this post :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:56 am 
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I don't think Squire is particularly bad, he'd be a better 8man than Ardie. He's the straight running hard tackling traditional 6/8. I think he's ordinarily an 8man anyway.
That way Ardie can stick to a role he needs to play without taking on duties for lack of elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:56 am 
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Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


That's been our problem for the past 4 years, Hansen mucked around trying to find his best backrow but never did. Ardie Savea and Cane lacked balance at 6/7 and will still lack balance at 7/8. Steve Hansen needs to pick one of them at 7 and the other can wear no. 20.


There are no 8 candidates. Literally no one who can currently play international rugby there right now. Hopefully one will emerge over the next couple of seasons, but during this transition phase Ardie will do a job.


Uncle FB will lose his shit when he reads this post :lol:


I'm done with Akira. I was on board late last year and early in the season when it looked like he was turning things around. He's been sinking further into the mud since then.

Still, he's young enough to rebound


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:02 am 
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sonic_attack wrote:
I don't think Squire is particularly bad, he'd be a better 8man than Ardie. He's the straight running hard tackling traditional 6/8. I think he's ordinarily an 8man anyway.
That way Ardie can stick to a role he needs to play without taking on duties for lack of elsewhere.


We wasted the entire last RWC cycle trying to turn Liam Squire into an AB backrower and I'm not keen to repeat that folly. Liam Squire needs to force his way into the AB team based on consistently great SR performances. I'm sick of hearing about his potential and about how hard he is. He needs to show how good he is on the field.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:04 am 
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Hasn't Liam Squire gone to Japan?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:06 am 
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His performances on field for the Highlanders is what got him into the All Blacks, and the All Black games he played he didn't let anyone down. If form in first class rugby was the benchmark then a bunch of All Blacks would have stayed home.

Agreed though. IMO it's wide open from Super Rugby kickoff 2020.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:07 am 
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naki wrote:
I'm done with Akira. I was on board late last year and early in the season when it looked like he was turning things around. He's been sinking further into the mud since then.

Still, he's young enough to rebound


It will be very interesting to see how Akira Ioane presents at the start of next season.

2020 is a brilliant opportunity for him. The incumbent All Black no.8 has retired, and there is no likely successor. Just as importantly, Steve Hansen has retired, with whom Akira Ioane had obviously burned all bridges. If I was Akira Ioane I would be approaching 2020 like it was a career defining season. For the first time ever he has the chance to claim the All Black no.8 jersey if he is good enough and works hard enough. I'd be abstaining from fast food and alcohol over summer and be looking to get as fit and powerful as possible for the start of the next SR season.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:08 am 
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I'm picking Cane will get the armband, so he's locked in at 7. Ardie is not really beefy enough to be 6 or 8, but is a great bench option, or 7 if Cane doesn't play. Squire needs to get his head in the right place. As does Jacobsen (HIA magnet). Akira is a lazy dickhead. Hemopo would be a good 6 option at this point, but isn't he going offshore?

I am sure there will be some newbies put their hand up in the next year or two. The backrow will need 40 or 50 caps together by 2023, so the search starts now. Having Ardie and Cane in the mix is a good start for now.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:29 am 
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At different times Savea has been clearly the best all black on the park, but fitting him in with cane doesn't really work.

If they put cane at 7 and savea at 8 it means our 6 has to be a fantastic lineout option while also being a heavy hitter close to the ruck. Is Jacobsen that guy and will the coaching panel potentially throw everything into that basket in the hope it works- similar to the failed squire situation.

If savea and cane are only seen as 7s it means we need a ball runner / bruiser and a lineout option but not one amazing player to do both.

Unfortunately can't see players to fill any if those spots, how is Luatua's contract up north?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:56 am 
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Savea is, as off the weekend, currently our best loosie. Play him in his best position, 7. Cane can revert to what he has done very well for years.

We have several excellent blindside candidates, which leads us back to the OP, having to find an 8.

It's a shame that Ioane and Fifita haven't kicked on, the latter has all the attributes to slot into 8..... but, the Premise being that, as the cupboard is bare, we will have to convert tallish a 6, at least in the short term.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:03 am 
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Did the Same Cane/Savea really fail though?

They started the Eden Park test, the Bok pool game, and the Irish quarter final. And then Hansen ridiculously benched Cane for Barrett.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:16 am 
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rugga. wrote:
Did the Same Cane/Savea really fail though?

They started the Eden Park test, the Bok pool game, and the Irish quarter final. And then Hansen ridiculously benched Cane for Barrett.

I dont think so, we never got to find out how good it was against England because Cane didn't start and the team were not in the right head space.

Akira is a waste of breath and his ship has sailed.


Last edited by les@mooloolaba on Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:24 am 
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rugga. wrote:
Did the Same Cane/Savea really fail though?

They started the Eden Park test, the Bok pool game, and the Irish quarter final. And then Hansen ridiculously benched Cane for Barrett.


No it didn't. Unfortunately for Cane I see his AB career ending in the way it started. Coming off the bench behind a better 7


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:52 am 
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I think Ardie is a better 7 than Cane at this point but the problem is without Cane on the field there is nobody else in in the backrow mix making the Jerry Collins/Jerome Kaino tackles. So we gotta stick with a Cane/Savea combo and develop one more starting backrow player - either 8 or 6. Or have Cane on the bench and develop two more backrowers - pref in the Collins/Kaino model...

Akira’s ship has likely sailed and Jackobson has ongoing health issues so I’m not sure what they gonna do


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:55 am 
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rugga. wrote:
Did the Same Cane/Savea really fail though?

They started the Eden Park test, the Bok pool game, and the Irish quarter final. And then Hansen ridiculously benched Cane for Barrett.



No, it was quite successful, but that was with Read at 8. As Ali has pointed out, we need another lineoute option, preferably at both 6 and 8, but I would accept one or the other, as Savea can be chucked up too.

For those wishing to have a big block busting tackler at 7, that assumes we don't have one and 6 and/or 8, which has been the AB's way for ever. We don't usually have crash tackling 7s, the exception was one M Jones. What we need is accuracy in the tackle and a good completion rate, with the 7 still able to spring back to his feet and get back into the line or compete for the ball, rather than dusting himself off.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:01 am 
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I hope Jacobson doesn't have any long term concussion effects - but I also hope he comes right soon.

The Chief's renaissance this year was largely due to his return, not Sam Cane's (although Sam is bloody awesome at 7).

Luke tackles as hard as Cane but pilfers better. At 1.91m he isn't short but nowhere near PSdT.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:18 am 
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Is there any chance of getting Cane on a bulking programme. Adding extra kilos to have an even bigger impact in the tackle?

I’d also try to get Luatua back to NZ.

Akita’s best bet would be to move out of home and Auckland and put home self out of his comfort zone.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:35 am 
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Paul Culley of Stuff did an opinion piece on the RWC2023 team - which I have copied in because it has the loosies that we are discussing:

15. Will Jordan (Crusaders, 25*): Looks every inch an All Blacks fullback-in-waiting, although may be integrated into the side on the right wing. Has already developed the knack for big plays.

14. Caleb Clarke (Blues, 24*): One of New Zealand's historical advantages has been pace and size out wide and the 105kg Clarke fits the bill. There is lots of improvement left in him but he has a kicking game and Sevens campaign alongside fellow rising star Etene Nanai-Seturo in 2020 won't do him any harm.

13. Jack Goodhue (Crusaders, 28*): Should be at his prime at the next Rugby World Cup and the English reality check after uninterrupted success at the Crusaders may be beneficial in the longer run.

12. Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes, 30*): Did we all get swept away by the romance of the ALB-Goodhue partnership? Wrecking ball Laumape will be at the peak of his powers in 2023 and don't forget the Ma'a Nonu precedent – Nonu missed out on the 2007 RWC but won in 2011 as a 29-year-old.

11. Rieko Ioane (Blues, 26*): Will be bitterly disappointed at how this season played out but that just might spur him on during the coming years. Beauden Barrett's move to the Blues next year could revitalise him. Also worth asking if a shift to No 14 might suit him.

10. Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders, 29*): There are some hard calls ahead for the next ABs coach at No 10 – Mo'unga or Barrett? – but by 2023 the Crusaders playmaker will no longer feel like the new kid on the block.

9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Chiefs, 28*): Has a pass to rival Aaron Smith's and will now come under the guidance of Warren Gatland, who should lift his game management.

8. Ardie Savea (Hurricanes, 30*): Will be a senior, hardened All Black in four years' time and may specialise at No 8 in the post-Kieran Read era.

7. Sam Cane (Chiefs, 31*) – captain: Can Sam Whitelock last another four years? If not the All Blacks should turn to Cane's calm demeanour and hard-nosed attitude.

6. Luke Jacobson (Chiefs, 26*): Every All Blacks fan has their fingers crossed Jacobson gets over his concussion issues because the tough Cambridge product is the future of the All Blacks' back row. The Blues' Tom Robinson is also one to watch but his history of knee injuries is a worry.

5. Pari Pari Parkinson (Highlanders, 27*): A bit of a Hail Mary because he has a lot to learn, yet at 128kg this young man is a monster who can move big bodies. No coincidence this Rugby World Cup final will be contested by the two teams with the most physical packs.

4. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs, 32*): Knocked off his perch at world's best but still remains integral to the All Blacks' chances in France 2023. Departs New Zealand for the next 18 months to recharge his batteries and hopefully returns refreshed.

3. Alex Fidow (Hurricanes, 26*): If his scrummaging improves he can be the destructive ball-carrying prop the All Blacks are looking for. If the ABs want to fight fire with fire in test rugby they'll have a look at Wellington's bruising trio of young front rowers.

2. Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes, 26*): Already the most dynamic and hardest-hitting hooker in New Zealand. Has some rough edges and needs to keep on top of conditioning but the right coach can polish this rough diamond.

1. Atu Moli (Chiefs, 28*): Has barely scratched his surface in terms of his potential and has the size and mana to be the front row leader at the next Rugby World Cup.

​Reserves:

Codie Taylor (Crusaders, 32*): Important to retain experience from 2019 campaign and Taylor should have enough in the tank to see off challenges from the likes of Samisoni Taukei'aho.

Karl Tu'inukuafe (Blues, 30*): Power scrummager has had some hurdles to overcome but time is still on his side and will surely be back in black next year.

Tyrel Lomax (Hurricanes, 27*): Will likely start ahead of Fidow at the Hurricanes next year due to set-piece strength and is another big athlete on the rise.

Scott Barrett (Crusaders, 29*): Blameless in the semifinal defeat and clearly has a huge All Blacks future ahead of him in the engine room.

Dalton Papali'i (Blues, 26*): All bets are off if the new coach can solve the Akira Ioane enigma but until then Papali'i is a great prospect who could be moulded into an enforcer.

Ere Enari (Crusaders, 26*): Despite his bad luck with injuries he's probably the most promising of the young halfbacks coming through, although the field looks a bit thin. Reads the game well.

Beauden Barrett (Blues, 32*): Will be heading towards the back end of his career by the next Rugby World Cup and may find his utility value off the bench is a blessing and a curse.

Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs 28*): Like Barrett, his ability to play two positions is treasured by coaches but complicates his own desire to start. But still likely to play a big role in 2023 in a squad that would have a great age profile – experienced but not old.

Coaches: Dave Rennie (head coach), Tony Brown (attack), Scott McLeod (defence), John Plumtree (forwards), Clarke Dermody (scrum). Selector: Wayne Smith

*Age at time of 2023 Rugby World Cup


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:58 am 
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Reads like a bid to keep all franchise fans happy. Will likely please none of them.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:06 am 
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Highlanders fans won't be happy with that team


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:32 am 
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They get a lock ahead of Scott Barrett, which was already pushing their luck.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:12 am 
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The thing about Cane/Savea is that it lacked balance even with Kieran Read at 8. Not only was he the best loose forward lineout target the AB's have had in the modern era, but he was also a very strong defender close to the ruck. So even if we were to replace Read with someone who was just as good as a lineout target, and was just as good defensively, the backrow will still be unbalanced.

The incoming coach needs to decide on a 7, either Savea or Cane. Has playing twin openside flankers ever been successful for an international team?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:04 am 
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Cullen wrote:
Is there any chance of getting Cane on a bulking programme. Adding extra kilos to have an even bigger impact in the tackle?

I’d also try to get Luatua back to NZ.

Akita’s best bet would be to move out of home and Auckland and put home self out of his comfort zone.


Sam Cane is about as big as he can be given his frame, whilst still allowing for some mobility. He's been much the same size for years, and I doubt he would be able to suddenly pack on extra muscle without risking injury.

Akira Ioane has never shown the slightest inclination that he is prepared to remove himself from his comfort zone. He seems very happy living with his parents and doing what he's always done. It's a shame, but we need to stop pretending that Akira Ioane is the victim of a NZR or Steve Hansen led conspiracy against him. He needs to man up, sort out his body and his fitness and then play consistently well for the Blues for the duration of the 2020 SR season. He needs to show that he isn't just a one trick pony with ball in hand, because he is looking to replace Kieran Read, who had lots of strings to his bow.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:10 am 
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Monkey Magic wrote:
At different times Savea has been clearly the best all black on the park, but fitting him in with cane doesn't really work.

If they put cane at 7 and savea at 8 it means our 6 has to be a fantastic lineout option while also being a heavy hitter close to the ruck. Is Jacobsen that guy and will the coaching panel potentially throw everything into that basket in the hope it works- similar to the failed squire situation.

If savea and cane are only seen as 7s it means we need a ball runner / bruiser and a lineout option but not one amazing player to do both.

Unfortunately can't see players to fill any if those spots, how is Luatua's contract up north?


I agree that the problem with a Cane/Savea combination, whether at 6/7 or 7/8 means that the 3rd player in the backrow needs to have too many core roles. They need to be big and tall for winning lineout ball, lifting and countering mauls, a big bruising defender who can compete against the big Springbok and English forwards, but also offer something with ball in hand. That's asking a lot from what will be effectively a new player into the All Black setup. I'm also not sure we have anyone who fits that bill at the moment. Shannon Frizell possibly as a no.6 or 8? Devan Flanders in a few years?

Whetu Douglas is potentially someone who will come into the reckoning. He's very hard working and at 190cm and 110kg he has the potential to play 6 or 8.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:19 am 
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Tbh if your coach had from the start picked a back row against England we wouldn't have this thread.
His selection of the back row and in the back line was terrible not to mention his tactics.
Wtf was he thinking? Dropping Cane against England :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:21 am 
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Cullen wrote:
Is there any chance of getting Cane on a bulking programme. Adding extra kilos to have an even bigger impact in the tackle?

I’d also try to get Luatua back to NZ.

Akita’s best bet would be to move out of home and Auckland and put home self out of his comfort zone.

Whats the point? He already is a good tackler, arguably the best in the AB's. Bulking up will slow him down.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:25 am 
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Enzedder wrote:
Paul Culley of Stuff did an opinion piece on the RWC2023 team - which I have copied in because it has the loosies that we are discussing:

15. Will Jordan (Crusaders, 25*): Looks every inch an All Blacks fullback-in-waiting, although may be integrated into the side on the right wing. Has already developed the knack for big plays.

14. Caleb Clarke (Blues, 24*): One of New Zealand's historical advantages has been pace and size out wide and the 105kg Clarke fits the bill. There is lots of improvement left in him but he has a kicking game and Sevens campaign alongside fellow rising star Etene Nanai-Seturo in 2020 won't do him any harm.

13. Jack Goodhue (Crusaders, 28*): Should be at his prime at the next Rugby World Cup and the English reality check after uninterrupted success at the Crusaders may be beneficial in the longer run.

12. Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes, 30*): Did we all get swept away by the romance of the ALB-Goodhue partnership? Wrecking ball Laumape will be at the peak of his powers in 2023 and don't forget the Ma'a Nonu precedent – Nonu missed out on the 2007 RWC but won in 2011 as a 29-year-old.

11. Rieko Ioane (Blues, 26*): Will be bitterly disappointed at how this season played out but that just might spur him on during the coming years. Beauden Barrett's move to the Blues next year could revitalise him. Also worth asking if a shift to No 14 might suit him.

10. Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders, 29*): There are some hard calls ahead for the next ABs coach at No 10 – Mo'unga or Barrett? – but by 2023 the Crusaders playmaker will no longer feel like the new kid on the block.

9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Chiefs, 28*): Has a pass to rival Aaron Smith's and will now come under the guidance of Warren Gatland, who should lift his game management.

8. Ardie Savea (Hurricanes, 30*): Will be a senior, hardened All Black in four years' time and may specialise at No 8 in the post-Kieran Read era.

7. Sam Cane (Chiefs, 31*) – captain: Can Sam Whitelock last another four years? If not the All Blacks should turn to Cane's calm demeanour and hard-nosed attitude.

6. Luke Jacobson (Chiefs, 26*): Every All Blacks fan has their fingers crossed Jacobson gets over his concussion issues because the tough Cambridge product is the future of the All Blacks' back row. The Blues' Tom Robinson is also one to watch but his history of knee injuries is a worry.

5. Pari Pari Parkinson (Highlanders, 27*): A bit of a Hail Mary because he has a lot to learn, yet at 128kg this young man is a monster who can move big bodies. No coincidence this Rugby World Cup final will be contested by the two teams with the most physical packs.

4. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs, 32*): Knocked off his perch at world's best but still remains integral to the All Blacks' chances in France 2023. Departs New Zealand for the next 18 months to recharge his batteries and hopefully returns refreshed.

3. Alex Fidow (Hurricanes, 26*): If his scrummaging improves he can be the destructive ball-carrying prop the All Blacks are looking for. If the ABs want to fight fire with fire in test rugby they'll have a look at Wellington's bruising trio of young front rowers.

2. Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes, 26*): Already the most dynamic and hardest-hitting hooker in New Zealand. Has some rough edges and needs to keep on top of conditioning but the right coach can polish this rough diamond.

1. Atu Moli (Chiefs, 28*): Has barely scratched his surface in terms of his potential and has the size and mana to be the front row leader at the next Rugby World Cup.

​Reserves:

Codie Taylor (Crusaders, 32*): Important to retain experience from 2019 campaign and Taylor should have enough in the tank to see off challenges from the likes of Samisoni Taukei'aho.

Karl Tu'inukuafe (Blues, 30*): Power scrummager has had some hurdles to overcome but time is still on his side and will surely be back in black next year.

Tyrel Lomax (Hurricanes, 27*): Will likely start ahead of Fidow at the Hurricanes next year due to set-piece strength and is another big athlete on the rise.

Scott Barrett (Crusaders, 29*): Blameless in the semifinal defeat and clearly has a huge All Blacks future ahead of him in the engine room.

Dalton Papali'i (Blues, 26*): All bets are off if the new coach can solve the Akira Ioane enigma but until then Papali'i is a great prospect who could be moulded into an enforcer.

Ere Enari (Crusaders, 26*): Despite his bad luck with injuries he's probably the most promising of the young halfbacks coming through, although the field looks a bit thin. Reads the game well.

Beauden Barrett (Blues, 32*): Will be heading towards the back end of his career by the next Rugby World Cup and may find his utility value off the bench is a blessing and a curse.

Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs 28*): Like Barrett, his ability to play two positions is treasured by coaches but complicates his own desire to start. But still likely to play a big role in 2023 in a squad that would have a great age profile – experienced but not old.

Coaches: Dave Rennie (head coach), Tony Brown (attack), Scott McLeod (defence), John Plumtree (forwards), Clarke Dermody (scrum). Selector: Wayne Smith

*Age at time of 2023 Rugby World Cup

I like the idea of Tony brown there, he certainly made japan look good in attack.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:30 am 
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This thread is a sobering read. There have been a few criticisms of Read's form for the past couple of years, but now his career is in the rear view mirror there is the stark reality that he is effectively impossible to replace in a way that even McCaw or Carter weren't, because no 8s with Read's broad range of skills just simply don't come along again for a very very long time.

We aren't losing too many players in this cycle, but this one is gonna hurt, and the backrow is now effectively a building site.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:37 am 
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Seneca of the Night wrote:
This thread is a sobering read. There have been a few criticisms of Read's form for the past couple of years, but now his career is in the rear view mirror there is the stark reality that he is effectively impossible to replace in a way that even McCaw or Carter weren't, because no 8s with Read's broad range of skills just simply don't come along again for a very very long time.

We aren't losing too many players in this cycle, but this one is gonna hurt, and the backrow is now effectively a building site.


Break the bank to bring Vito back.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:46 am 
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c69 wrote:
Tbh if your coach had from the start picked a back row against England we wouldn't have this thread.
His selection of the back row and in the back line was terrible not to mention his tactics.
Wtf was he thinking? Dropping Cane against England :lol:


It's always easy to criticise selection in hindsight. But in hindsight Steve Hansen spent far too long over the past 4 years experimenting with different combinations of players, and rotating match time and opportunities, when he would have probably been better off bedding down combinations. We went into this tournament with a new front row, backrow, halves combination, midfield, back three and fullback. And our bench was also new. That's just not good enough given he has had complete control over all levels of NZ Rugby for the past 8 years.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:47 am 
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Zakar wrote:
Seneca of the Night wrote:
This thread is a sobering read. There have been a few criticisms of Read's form for the past couple of years, but now his career is in the rear view mirror there is the stark reality that he is effectively impossible to replace in a way that even McCaw or Carter weren't, because no 8s with Read's broad range of skills just simply don't come along again for a very very long time.

We aren't losing too many players in this cycle, but this one is gonna hurt, and the backrow is now effectively a building site.


Break the bank to bring Vito back.


Not a bad idea.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:53 am 
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Victor Vito turns 33 years old next March. He won't be a realistic option for the 2023 RWC so I don't see any point in investing time, money or test caps in his now. Steven Luatua would be a better option, IMO.

The incoming coach needs to stop thinking with a short term mindset. He needs to think about the kind of Rugby he wants to play at the next RWC, and the kind of team he needs to have to play that Rugby, and start developing the squad now. We cannot go into the next RWC with a team littered with new combinations like we did this year. The lessons from our successes 2011 and 2015 were about selection continuity. Steve Hansen forgot those lessons for this tournament.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:05 pm 
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Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Ali's Choice wrote:
naki wrote:
Luke Whitelock's heart inside Akira Ioane's body. Sorted.

Blindside? I'm backing Jacobson, though more on a hunch than anything concrete yet.

Ardie will be the default 8, you would suspect. He will do for now


That's been our problem for the past 4 years, Hansen mucked around trying to find his best backrow but never did. Ardie Savea and Cane lacked balance at 6/7 and will still lack balance at 7/8. Steve Hansen needs to pick one of them at 7 and the other can wear no. 20.


There are no 8 candidates. Literally no one who can currently play international rugby there right now. Hopefully one will emerge over the next couple of seasons, but during this transition phase Ardie will do a job.


Uncle FB will lose his shit when he reads this post :lol:

I can't believe that naki has overlooked Whetu Douglas.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:56 pm 
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Ali's Choice wrote:
Victor Vito turns 33 years old next March. He won't be a realistic option for the 2023 RWC so I don't see any point in investing time, money or test caps in his now. Steven Luatua would be a better option, IMO.

The incoming coach needs to stop thinking with a short term mindset. He needs to think about the kind of Rugby he wants to play at the next RWC, and the kind of team he needs to have to play that Rugby, and start developing the squad now. We cannot go into the next RWC with a team littered with new combinations like we did this year. The lessons from our successes 2011 and 2015 were about selection continuity. Steve Hansen forgot those lessons for this tournament.


Steven Luatua had all the tools.. just needed to move down to Christchurch to refine his game... a shame he is probably lost now.. as why would he come back?

The closest I can see to a Kieran Read type would be Tom Robinson. Tall, athletic with a good engine. Another one that would develop incredibly in the Crusaders environment (and I am saying that as a lifelong Blues fan).

Also, isn't it a shame about Charlie Ngatai's concussions... there was a powerful, skilful player that could have been an All Black midfield linchpin...


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