Saturday, May 22, 2010

2010 First AB Squad

Its time to start to draw some conclusions from Super 14 form, the areas we struggled in through 2009 and the need for depth for the 2011 World Cup.  In some areas, its very tricky with little back up as was revealed when Dan Carter fell over last year and Maa Nonu has demonstrated this year.  There have also been some big form slumps - what do you do with that?  My initial thought is to treat the June tests as a bit of a one-off and play some players into form.  So anyway, here it is...


Ben Franks (can play both sides), Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, John Afoa.  I am over Tialata.  Crockett is good around the field but is not there for the scrum.  I would start Owen Franks and Woodcock, with Ben Franks on the bench.  If Woodcock doesn't front up then Ben Franks gets a start.


Keven Mealamu, Hikawera Elliot (he has the most promise...)  You've got to like the attitude of a guy like Jason Rutledge but at 32 you can't pick him - de Malmanche can't throw so unless you go back to Flynn what can you do?


Brad Thorne, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelley, Sam Whitelock (for the future)


McCaw, Thompson, Kaino

No 8

Reid, Messam

Half Backs

Cowan, Fotuali'i (this guy is great...)

1st V

Carter, the hardest selection is for the back up - Donald and McAllister have been tried and found wanting - so you have to go to the best of the rest.  So its down to Cruden and Robinson.  Cruden has had the best of the selection opportunities with the Highlanders using Berquist and Hobbs as well as Robinson.  So on that basis, pick Cruden now.

2nd V

Who ever you pick here is warming the bench for Nonu.  But you have to have someone who is part of your long term plans in order to build depth.  Ditto the above comment on Donald and McAllister.  But the remainder is not great either.  Bowden appeals but has been swapping the role with Bateman and Crotty all season position and is heading overseas.  Stanley is solid and wouldn't be a bad option.  If Toeva is fit he'd get the nod for me as he would be in my wider group.  There is no standout for this role so I would go with Toeva to start as one of the likely bench players in a fully fit team, with Stanley as backup in the squad.


Conrad Smith with Toeva as back up


Joe R, Zac Guildford with Jayne as cover


Mils, Jayne

Alright it ain't perfect but it shows the lack of depth right now in some key positions.  It would help if Super 14 teams with some talent would give some of the guys a decent run.  I am thinking in particular of Highlanders rotating Hobbs, Robinson and Berquist and Crusaders rotating Crotty, Bateman and Bowden.  Same goes for Chiefs - give Hika a decent go so he can push for the AB's.

It would also mean the forward pack I pick would have 4 Crusaders which isn't going to hurt...still prepared to be swayed on selections...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Both Franks?

Wow, could the Crusaders be parading a new look AB propping combo this weekend?  Both Frank's brothers?  It appeals if it can work.  These boys are strong and take no prisoners.  With Woodcock underperforming and Tialatte just not there for me...a double Franks option could be just what we need for the world cup...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Musing

So in recent weeks we have the Ethical Spending Bill before Parliament, seeking to regulate government sponsored investment in unethical organisations - for examples arms/munitions manfacturers, companies with a dodgy environmental record etc.  The usual suspects clamouring that its not sustainable to force people to do the due diligence on ethical investment.  Excuse me?

On the other hand, you have the Gambling Commission dismissing the appeal of the Dunedin-based Southern Trust against a five-day suspension of gaming-machine business imposed by the Department of Internal Affairs. The problem: when a gaming trust uses about $120,000 of charity money to renovate pokie rooms

it starts to look like a money-go-round.

Traditionally many Christian organisations have looked askance at the use of monies derived from gambling or alcohol to fund its own social programmes.  It is an interesting issue given that the stated purpose of much of this funding is to ameliorate the social damage caused by abuse of these things.  Not many are prepared to do the due diligence on the sources of this funding, preferring instead to rest (poor) in the knowledge of avoiding guilt by association.

It just struck me as kind of congruent and incongruent...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Maybe It's Just Me

I found this week interesting:

  • First the leaked Law Commission report on the alcohol age leads to instantly increasing taxes on alcohol and cigaretttes
  • Then the biggest drug bust in a while involving the Switched On Gardener (everybody knows "switched on" means stoned right?)
  • Finally, The Red Door brothel gains all sorts of attention for being across the road from a school
Maybe its just me, but I'm finding some dissonance with all this:

  • Suddenly, its not OK to drink alcohol as an 18 year old, but it is OK to be a prostitute;
  • Its not OK to sell cigarettes to minors...but it is OK to sell sex across the road from the school;
  • Or you could turn that one around: its socially not OK to sell sex across the road from a school (in a place kids never go inside), but it is OK to sell cigarettes in a dairy across the road (which 99% will visit at some point on the way home...);
  • We tax cigarettes and alcohol but we prosecute cannabis growing and supply - both signal some level of disapproval and attempt to influence behaviour...
  • Its OK to lose a part of yourself in prostitution but not through cannabis use and only moderate lung damage is permitted from smoking;
  • You can sell sex without a license in some cases but you can'tt sell alcohol without one;
  • It is now possible to say legally "I'm just popping out for a [insert option] [fag] [shag] [flag(on)]" but not a bag...

Thank You Jesus...

...for the Highlanders...