Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Modesty Aside

Because this is my blog I will just note I did top my Mates List for the Virtual NPC this year by a comfortable margin. Some will note their absence in an attempt to dilute the achievement. Others will note their rugby depth may have been challenged by the detailed focus needed on a wide range of teams across 2 divisions.

I do see this as a real achievement of head over heart - with Auckland playing so poorly, one couldn't exactly get to this point by backing your own team every week! Will be interesting to see how the AB's squad to the Northern Hemisphere performs with some form selections.

Good to see star and AB captain in the making Jamie McIntosh be rewarded for strong form. Great to see Messam there. Interesting to see Corey Jane effectively leapfrog Paul Williams in the absence of Leon MacDonald. And odd to see Corey Flynn recalled ahead of Hikawera Elliot - if you're going to take a 3rd string hooker, take a young guy who can throw straight! Rudi Wulf the unlucky fill-in wing to miss out.

Not sure I mind the Donald/Carter experiment. It somewhat comes back to the combination issue and also who is the better 'raw' player - does one prefer Donald at 1st V or Nonu at 2nd v? And perhaps its the selectors asking whether a Carter-McAlister pairing in 2009 could work if he does indeed return.


Rhett said...

So Henry has stated that it's Super 14 form which really counts, and that that is the proving ground for future All Blacks.

On that logic (since I crushed you... and everyone else) at Virtual Super 14 I think we both know who the real Virtual Rugby champion is. But I'll let you bask in your glory for the time being. The Super 14 will roll around again.

On the selections... I do wish the selectors had gone with Corey Jane ahead of Isaiah Toeava on the bench, but then, I can understand the practical reasons for wanting a utility there. I'm stoken that Gear is on the wing. Neither Tuitivake nor Wulf had that explosive form that past ABs wingers have had, evidenced by the fact that neither scored tries against significant oposition.

I don't like the Donald/Carter move for two reasons: Carter is our best First Five, and Nonu/Smit is our proven best midfield combination.

I've watched the ABs long enough to be wary of positional switches. Besides that, I know Donald had a good game against Aussie, but that was his only real spark of form and I still see him as a very solid, very average David Hill type of first five.

Anyway, it will be good to see some of the form NPC players like Gear and Jane getting a run. But I'm with you on Flyn's selection. What the?

Anonymous said...

I heard: 'blah blah blah Super 14 blah blah blah blah NPC...'

Uncle Jakey said...

My points may have sunk a little in the last round, but who cares with Poverty Bay making me proud! Certainly better than being an Auckland supporter this season!

PS: Air New Zealand Cup/Heartland Championship boys! NPC is so 2005...


BJ said...

In response to Mr Rhett's "sentence 2" view (see my original post) I offer my "sentence 3" view. Just wanted to save time by saying it up front.

Uncle Jakey - how proud you must be! I was forced into admiring my points rather than my team. Every time I picked against them I was like: well if they win, I won't mind losing the points and if they lose I'll be glad to have the comfort...

Rhett said...

It's a good thing I've always gone for Canterbury, eh?

Rhett said...

So, I was right. Fancy that.

Donald put in a stock standard performance and his averageness was shown up when Carter moved back to First Five at about the 50 minute mark.

I loved Carter's (probably sincere) statement after the game: "I think that long term I want to secure the number 10 jersey." Beautiful.

BJ said...

Yes, you should feel free to take a lead from the title of this post! Funny I was thinking about that this morning. I was a bit tired when I watched it so will watch again. The issue for me was more that none of the backs were "on" in the first half. The forwards lacked intensity and we weren't getting good set peice ball nor cleaning out the Aussies at the breakdown. Once the ref started threatening yellow cards for Aussie cheating and the forwards responded to Henry's toughen up half time talk, it all seemed to go better. Which coincided with Carter's return. For me, the interesting change at sub time was how well Nonu played. So for it was more that Nonu played better than Donald which was the comparison that I drew. Nonu also played better than Carter did at 2nd V. The good thing is that we know Donald can come on and close a match form 1st V as he did at Brisbane. But can he dominate and shape a match? On that performace "no" but then we'll never do that if the forwards aren't firing.

Rhett said...

Fair assessment.

As for the title of this post, I obviously took it as instruction!