Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

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cashead
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Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:03 am

So, here's the thread, fuckballs.

So, some talking points?

1. Will Cruden be any good? Heck, how'll the Chiefs go, with their obscenely overqualified coach?

2. How will the Chiefs and Crusaders cope without Retallick and Whitelock, respectively?

3. Have the Hurricanes got themselves a good enough 10?

4. How will Beauden go in Auckland?

5. Will the Blues finally return to the playoffs? Will they get a fair shake from the NZ refs, or do we have more displays like the one Nick Briant put on in the opening round fixture last year to look forward to?

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Cameo » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:27 am

How are the Blues shaping up? Looked at their squad and looked to have a few less top established names than the others but I'm new to the area so not up to speed.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:41 am

They've got a good set of forwards, including a full All Black front row (Tuinukuafe, Parsons and Tu'ungafasi) and Paddy Tuipulotu's coming off of a 2019 where he salvaged his test career and he'd want to maintain that. They've got a good front-line set of loose forwards. Tom "Big Red" Robinson was their stand-out forward last year, and can play both blindside and lock, Dalton Papali'i who is effectively a 6.5, and Blake Gibson, who's on the fringes of test selection for the All Blacks.

The obvious coup for them is nabbing Beauden Barrett from the Hurricanes, and they're quite stacked at 10, so you can probably expect to see either Beaudy shift to 15 for some games for Otere Black, who's another decent 10 in the squad, or Stephen Perofeta (who's got a lot of hype surrounding him, although he's yet to really live up to it) played at 15 where he regularly suits up for Taranaki. The midfield looks interesting, and I think a lot of eyes will be on Joe Marchant and Rieko Ioane.

Halfback continues to be a bit of a problem area, but Jonathan Ruru had a good season last year, and they've picked up Finlay Christie.

Like the other NZ teams, they'll be a bit short of Super Rugby experience in the wider squads but they've also supplemented the lost talent with provincial rugby veterans, especially in the forwards.

As a Harbour supporter, it's also encouraging to see a much healthier representation of the province in the selection - enough talent has left the region by virtue of being almost determinedly ignored by selectors, like Michael Little or Mike Harris.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:18 am

So scrutinising the other NZ squads:

Chiefs
Stocks are reasonably healthy in the front row, with 3 All Blacks, 1 All Black tourist, and a couple of guys who had big seasons for their respective provinces among the props, and an All Black, a provincial stalwart and an age group prospect at hooker. Kane Hames will be a loss, but it's an understandable decision, and fair fucks to him for putting his health first.
The locking stocks look a bit thin though, with a huge Brodie Retallick-sized gap which means Tyler Ardron will likely have to put in a bit of a shift with fellow veteran lock Michael Allardice, backed up by two young locks from Wellington and Waikato, and a part-timer, Pita Sowakula.
The loose forwards as usual look pretty healthy, with two All Blacks providing a bit of a spine, supported by guys like Mitch Karpik and Lachlan Boshier, who may not be test players, but are nevertheless reliable hands who can do a job for you. With the vacancy at 8, expect to see Luke Jacobson putting time in there.
Halfback and five-eights positions are also equally healthy, with Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Brad Weber both competing for the 9 jersey, and a returning Aaron Cruden and Damian McKenzie likely to share the 10 jersey, backed up by the world's oldest 22 year-old, Tiaan Falcon.
The midfield has Lienert-Brown surrounded by veterans and provincial players like Alex Nankivell, while the outside backs are largely made up of reliable hands like Sean Wainui and Shaun Stevenson.
It's pretty much what you'd expect of a team that tends to get the best out of players that would otherwise be considered limited.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:44 am

Hurricanes
They took a bit of a hit in the front row, and are in a bit of a rebuilding phase there, with Tyrel Lomax and Ben May being surrounded by very young props. They're stacked as usual at hooker, and nabbing Scott Scrafton from the Blues in the second row was a canny acquisition, to supplement Samoan international Kane Le'aupepe and one of last year's standouts Isaia Walker-Leawere.
Fifita, Savea and Gaz Evans will be supported by a couple of steady hands in Reed Princep and Murphy Taramai, and Du'Plessis Kirifi and Devan Fladers, who are both promising young players.
The halfback, midfield and outside backs are largely intact, although Matt Proctor's departure will hurt. The biggest gap is at 10, where Beauden Barrett leaves some big shoes to fill. James Marshall, Jackson Garden-Bachop and Fletcher Smith are all reliable and steady hands, but there is a significant drop-off compared to other players. That said, James Marshall has been an excellent squad member for them in the past, and his experience would be invaluable for the backline.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:53 am

Crusaders
There's been a bit of a clear-out of the fringe players and a couple of stalwarts, but there's still a feeling of good players being pumped out by the Canterbury system. After all, they are one of the best rugby nurseries around. Tim Perry's dropped out after an injury-plagued 2019, although he may be pulled back in as injury cover later, while Owen Franks' departure is covered for by Michael Ala'alatoa. The locks are obviously without Sam Whitelock's who's enjoying a bit of a payday in Japan with Panasonic.
The big departures are in the loose forwards, where for the first time in years, they'll go without a single international player in the backrow. Regardless, they've got a good set of players to work with, like Ethan Blackadder and Whetu Douglas, and a set of promising young openside flankers in Billy Harmon, Tom Christie and Sione Havili.
The midfield is the other concern area, where they'll no doubt feel the loss of Ryan Crotty, and Tim Bateman. The rest of the backline is the very picture of stability, with little movement other than in the fringes.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:04 am

Highlanders
They've probably been hit hardest by player departures, losing a big portion of their top level team. They've compensated by going for players that had good seasons with their provincial sides from up and down the country, as well as veteran journeymen like Nathan Vella. They've also managed to retain some key players like Shannon Frizzell, Liam Coltman and Dillon Hunt, who'll likely be key parts of their pack.
In the backline, their halfback stocks are pretty much unaffected, and they've covered for the departure of Marty Banks by picking up Mitch Hunt from the Crusaders, while retaining Bryn Gatland, who'll be returning from injury. While they've kept most of their midfielders, they've lost both Richard Buckman and Matt Faddes, who were quite valuable for them, and in their outside backs, they've lost Tevita Li, Waisake Naholo and Ben Smith.
Basically, Aaron Mauger has his work cut out for him with the squad he's got at his disposal, but they're also the kind of team that could potentially set up ambushes down south for any unsuspecting visitors.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Lizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:49 pm

This 50:22 rule is going to fuck it for the first few rounds.
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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Puja » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:39 pm

Lizard wrote:This 50:22 rule is going to fuck it for the first few rounds.


That law's not being trialled in Super Rugby is it? I thought it was just being tried in the Americas Rugby Championship and Italian Cup?

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Lizard » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:11 pm

Is it not? I assumed all the variations were being trialled. That’s good if they’re not.
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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Puja » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:44 pm

Lizard wrote:Is it not? I assumed all the variations were being trialled. That’s good if they’re not.


They're all being trialled, but not in all competitions at the same time. I think Super Rugby has the two high-tackle warnings and a 1 match ban, which I think just about everyone agrees is a good idea.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Cameo » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:32 am

I have read a few explanations but not sure I understand how that works. Does it replace a card etc. or is it for legal tackles that had dodgy technique?

I presume if you take someone's head off you are still getting sent off?

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby zer0 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:56 am

And that's another Blues season done and dusted.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Puja » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:11 am

zer0 wrote:And that's another Blues season done and dusted.


Just seen the match report! Still, they've got all the Australian sides to beat up on.

How did Marchant get on?

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:41 am

Puja wrote:
zer0 wrote:And that's another Blues season done and dusted.


Just seen the match report! Still, they've got all the Australian sides to beat up on.

How did Marchant get on?

Puja

Marchant played reasonably well. Linked well with TJ Faiane in the midfield. I think he's on a 1-year contract, so it's a shame he'll move on at the end of the season.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:43 am

So the Hurricanes lost the Battle of Weather Phenomena overnight in Cape Town. Watching the replay, the Canes were never in any danger of winning, and it's honestly hard to tell how good or bad the Stormers were, because the Hurricanes were just shit, and the 0 scoreline flatters them, quite frankly.

The Hurricanes had quite easily the worst pre-season out of any NZ side, losing key players and their coach, so that might have something to do with why they were so flat, but sheesh.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Puja » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:31 am

cashead wrote:
Puja wrote:
zer0 wrote:And that's another Blues season done and dusted.


Just seen the match report! Still, they've got all the Australian sides to beat up on.

How did Marchant get on?

Puja

Marchant played reasonably well. Linked well with TJ Faiane in the midfield. I think he's on a 1-year contract, so it's a shame he'll move on at the end of the season.


Yeah, it's a sabbatical for a season, then he'll go back to Quins.

Interesting to see the Hurricanes getting clumped first up.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby morepork » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:32 pm

Is Rangi playing R Ioane on the wing or at centre?

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby cashead » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:51 pm

He was on the wing against the Chiefs, and he had a decent game. Probably the sharpest he's looked in a while.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Cameo » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:04 am

Yeah, he was very good. Showed a fair bit of power for one of his tries.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby morepork » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:34 pm

Couple of early spankings being handed out in the Republic.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby Lizard » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:38 am

Blooze. LOL.

Chiefs. Fuck yeah.

Hurricane's - huge number of lineout steals and Ben Lam brilliance are apparently enough to beat a team with a backline that is ludicrously fast but can't pass and can't catch.
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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby morepork » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:55 pm

The Bloos already look dejected.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby zer0 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:06 pm

I mean, yeah. Their season was over 80 minutes after it began.

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Re: Sup, er, Rugby? 2020 thread

Postby morepork » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:29 am

zer0 wrote:I mean, yeah. Their season was over 80 minutes after it began.

You see this is the sort of attitude I am talking about. Obviously it’s not over, but...


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