Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Absent for the AB's

So I will miss this weekend's test match at Eden Park - oh that I could be there. The team has a predicatable look about it, but some points of interest, mostly in the reserves:

  • Donald gets the nod at 1st V - I think this was likely given the way he was being talked up in the media - plus he gets his chance as the incumbent with a full strength side;
  • Cowan keeps Leonard out for the moment;
  • Tialata retains his role, but what is interesting is that Afoa doesn't even make the bench. Franks had a very good debut off the bench and perhaps he is seen as the guy for this role longer term;
  • Sivivatu replaces cousin Joe, but interestingly Corey Jane is starting - you get the sense that Toeva would have started at wing had he been fit, leaving Jane on the bench - this is a ploy for the Australian kicking game - the back 3 all have experience at full back;
  • Eaton is the comeback kid (predicted on this blog) covering lock and I guess the loosies;
  • However the loosie mix (including reserves) has an unbalanced feel for me - who will cover McCaw? Obviously Rodney will, a ploy that has not worked before. Read is being rewarded for being the most compelling of the new loose forwards but overall the balance is not assisted;

This is a pretty experienced forward pack with a ton of experience and graft with an injection of newer blood (in Kaino and Ross). It is easily the best we can do (with the exception of Tialata who needs a big one). The backline restores some combinations but the yawning hole remains at 1st V. I would have picked McAlister, simply because I think he shades Donald in all departments - kicking, passing, running and tackling - and has the greater vision. But neither of them are Dan Carter. And that sadly may be the difference.

It will be 3.30am here when the game is on. I don't think I can get it live - I have found a provider who plays it 9 hours later, but I've yet to work out how I can access that! A work in progress!


Rhett said...

Finally a post on something worthwhile! ;-)

Good team for me... biggest interest was that Jane makes the side. And, since when can Sivivatu kick?

As for Donald, well, neither him nor McAlister inspires. I would have gone with McAlister too, but maybe they are looking for a "steadier" hand rather than a more dynamic one. We shall see!

BJ said...

I think Sivavatu has played a bit of fullback for the Chiefs and is seen as a little more rounded in the kicking department than his cuzzy. Its all relative mind you!

Donald comes across to me as a bit frenetic and all over the place, like he's trying to be Dan Carter but without the skills or judgment! All those stupid quick droppies and so forth. I doubt I'll get to see it, but will watch your blog keenly for your considered opinion!

BJ said...

Come quickly Lord...

Rhett said...

The rupture followed by the extened time of tribulation.