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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ben Tameifuna Pushes Referee Glen Jackson - Should He Be Punished?

Video : www.rugbydump.com

Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna is facing the judiciary for "acting against the spirit of good sportsmanship" when he pushed referee Glen Jackson in the North Harbour vs Waikato match, should he be punished? Ironically, Tameifuna was yellow carded for a different offence. I always thought that referees should be sacred and protected species. Should Tameifuna be punished when he fronts the judiciary?

Monday, September 01, 2014

Wallabies Rugby Championship Squad For Springboks

Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps have been named to start for the Wallabies against the Springboks.  Is this a good call?  The Wallabies have named Kurtley Beale and Nick White on the bench as the only two back reserves to face the powerful Springboks.  What do you think of this team?  Do you think it is fine to experiment with the first five eighth position in a tough competition like the Rugby Championship?

Full squad:
1. James Slipper
2. James Hanson
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Sam Carter
5. Rob Simmons
6. Scott Fardy
7. Michael Hooper
8. Wycliff Palu
9. Nick Phipps
10. Bernard Foley
11. Rob Horne
12. Matt Toomua
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Israel Folau
Saia Fainga’a, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Nic White, Kurtley Beale

ITM Cup Round 4 Preview Part 1

The ITM Cup Round 4 starts on Wednesday with ITM Cup Championship teams Manawatu and Bay of Plenty playing each other.  Both of these teams have a double round and so it is difficult to know how they will go out the other end of the round.  We will preview their second games of the round in Part Two.  Last round Taranaki left many punters looking like fools with two massive wins in ITM Cup Round 3, but many people didn’t know if they were able to do it twice in the one round.

There are some other exciting matches with traditional rivals Auckland and Wellington playing, although given Wellington’s bad form, this game may not be as close as originally anticipated.  Otago has a second derby game in a row, this time against the impressive Canterbury.  Tasman and Taranaki should record comfortable home wins against Waikato and Southland.  The margins in ITM Cup rugby have been large, so these two margins could be bigger than expected.  Both Tasman and Taranaki are suddenly in the running for the semi-finals with other Premiership teams like Waikato, Wellington and Counties-Manukau struggling.  I love the Taranaki vs Southland teams as they previously played a forward orientated style, but both have modernised their style of play.  Traditionally this is the cow vs sheep farming areas.      

Not only will the resting and rotating of players start in earnest this round as teams balance consistency of selection.

For margin and upset analysis you can buy the Super Rugby Tips newsletters here!

Expect comfortable wins for Taranaki, Tasman, Auckland and Canterbury, while Manawatu should almost confirm a semi-finals spot in the ITM Cup Championship with a win over the disappointing Bay of Plenty.  It will be interesting to see if Hawke’s Bay can recover from the Ranfurly Shield hangover against Northland.

Super Rugby Tips Picks For Round 4:

Date and time
Your pick
[23] Manawatu v Bay of Plenty
3 Sep 19:35 (local)
3 Sep 19:35 (your time*)
[24] Otago v Canterbury
4 Sep 19:35 (local)
4 Sep 19:35 (your time*)
[25] Tasman v Waikato
5 Sep 18:05 (local)
5 Sep 18:05 (your time*)
[26] Northland v Hawke's Bay
5 Sep 20:05 (local)
5 Sep 20:05 (your time*)
Hawke's Bay 
[27] Auckland v Wellington
6 Sep 14:35 (local)
6 Sep 14:35 (your time*)
[28] Taranaki v Southland
6 Sep 16:35 (local)
6 Sep 16:35 (your time*)

Should We Return to the All Blacks Trials? Check These Teams Out - Probables vs Possibles

The All Blacks team that will take the field against Argentina in The Rugby Championship match will be almost at full strength, but if all players were fully fit, then what would be in your All Blacks team to play in the Rugby World Cup 2015 final, if the All Blacks were in it?  Do you think we should return to an All Blacks trial between the Probables and Possibles?  I think this game would be brilliant.

The reason I mention this is because we have seen the emergence of younger players like Ryan Crotty, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charles Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa in recent seasons, yet there will be several former greats returning to New Zealand rugby in 2015 to have a shot at making the All Blacks.

Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui and Hosea Gear will return to play rugby in New Zealand, but would you pick all, none or some of these guys in your All Blacks squad or team for the Rugby World Cup 2015?
In the good old days they used to have an All Blacks trial to decide such matters where the Probables would play against the Possibles.  This was from the days before tactical substitutions.  Both of these teams would be world class in my opinion.

Probables backline would be Ben Smith, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Dan Carter and Aaron Smith.

The next best fifteen players should be in the Possibles XV with TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, SBW, Richard Kahui, Hosea Gear, Charles Piutau and Israel Dagg likely to be in this backline.

Unfortunately this would leave Malakai Fekitoa, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and a bolter like Frank Halai or Patrick Osborne to fight over bench spots.

In the forwards, the first choice All Blacks pack would probably be Woodcock, Coles, Owen Franks, Whitelock, Retallick, Kaino, McCaw and Read. 

The Possibles forward pack would include Crockett, Mealamu, Faumuina, Romano, Tuipulotu, Messam, Cane and Vito.

It is an embarrassment of riches, although there will definitely be injuries at some stage.

The All Blacks have three great fullbacks, six great midfield backs and four quality first five eighths at their disposal heading into the Rugby World Cup 2015.  Unfortunately there is no way of fitting them all into the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad of 31.

I think there is a scarcity of world class wingers in the All Blacks outside of Julian Savea.  Gear would offer a backup, but would only be required if blockbusting winger Savea gets injured.  Jane is good, but missing that top end speed these days.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Piutau, Ben Smith or even Kahui got some game time on the wing.

Behind Dane Coles and Keven Mealamu there is a lack of quality hookers which is probably the only problem area.  There is depth in most other positions which has developed in recent seasons. 

Who would be your first choice All Blacks team at Rugby World Cup 2015?
Probables XV
15. Ben Smith
14. Cory Jane
13. Conrad Smith
12. Ma’a Nonu
11. Julian Savea
10. Dan Carter
9. Aaron Smith
8. Kieran Read
7. Richie McCaw
6. Jerome Kaino
5. Sam Whitelock
4. Brodie Retallick
3. Owen Franks
2. Dane Coles
1. Tony Woodcock
16. Nathan Harris
17. Ben Franks
18. Joe Moody
19. Jeremy Thrush
20. Matt Todd
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22. Beauden Barrett
23. Malakai Fekitoa
Possibles XV
15. Israel Dagg
14. Charles Piutau
13. Richard Kahui
12. Sonny Bill Williams
11. Hosea Gear
10. Aaron Cruden
9. TJ Perenara
8. Victor Vito
7. Sam Cane
6. Liam Messam
5. Patrick Tuipulotu
4. Luke Romano
3. Charles Faumuina
2. Keven Mealamu
1. Wyatt Crockett
16. Quentin MacDonald
17. Kane Hames
18. Ben Tameifuna
19. Steven Luatua
20. Ardie Savea
21. Bryn Hall
22. Colin Slade
23. Ryan Crotty

Rugby World Cup 2015 : Team Talk Advertisement

Watch this Rugby World Cup 2015 Team Talk Advertisement. There is definitely a lack of All Blacks in this advertisement.  Are you inspired for the Rugby World Cup?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ITM Cup Round 3 Review : Who's Hot and Not?

The ITM Cup Round 3 saw the star studded Hawke's Bay Magpies win the Ranfurly Shield off Counties Manukau Steelers, not bad for an ITM Cup Championship team!  Three rounds is now long enough to get a gauge on the relative quality of teams.  

ITM Cup Premiership - It looks like Auckland, Tasman and Taranaki are favourites to join the unbeaten Canterbury in the ITM Cup Premiership semi-finals.  Taranaki have suddenly sprung into life with two massive wins, although both Waikato and Bay of Plenty have been disappointing this season.  Losing the Ranfurly Shield might actually be a blessing for Counties Manukau as it seems to have inspired their opponents and made things harder for them.  Waikato and Wellington have been disappointing.  Their inexperienced squads just don't seem to be clicking which is disturbing after both of these teams lost disappointingly in ITM Cup Round 3.  How are Hurricanes fans feeling knowing that the Wellington ITM Cup team coach will be involved with the Hurricanes Super Rugby campaign in 2015.

In the ITM Cup Championship, Hawke's Bay are odds on to win the ITM Cup Championship, although winning the Shield may make it harder for them to win the ITM Cup Championship title.  I am amazed at how many quality players are in this Hawke's Bay and the Taranaki teams, yet they both fit under the salary cap.  

Otago took Southland on at their traditional style own game when beating them in Invercargill.  The dewy conditions weren't handled well by the Stags who have now adopted a more open style of play.  Hayden Parker outplayed Lima Sopoaga and was on fire with his kicking for territory.  Southland had more experience in their pack, yet Otago's unheralded team went back to basics and were deserved winners against the Stags.  Otago now get a Ranfurly Shield challenge, while the Stags who should still make the semi-finals.

Manawatu upset the disappointing Wellington Lions and should have a good shot at making the semi-finals ahead of Northland, North Harbour and Bay of Plenty.

It is funny how we thought that Waikato were going to be good this season based on them beating Wellington in ITM Cup Round 1, but it ends up that Waikato were the best of a bad bunch.  Hawke's Bay and Otago would actually be at home in the ITM Cup Premiership based on their performances so far, but they aren't.    

Who's Hot
Canterbury as always, Hawke's Bay, Otago, Taranaki, Tasman, Auckland and Manawatu. 

Who's Not
North Harbour, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Waikato.

In the Super Rugby Tips SuperBru conference Trish has a healthy lead.  Rolstelli took the yellow cap.  Interestingly there were only two out of eight wins for home teams and there were some massive margins with Canterbury's 45 point win over Northland the biggest.  More than half of the games were upsets, while the margins were very erratic with four games having margins of six points or less.

Which teams are hot and not in your opinion?

Watch ITM Cup 2014 Round 3 video highlights here
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