Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wild is the Weekend

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  • Tom Semmens,

    Saying "Islanders can't kick" or "white men can't jump" is as stupid as saying "All Germans are good soldiers."

    Anyone can jump, anyone can kick. What I am saying is the system used by the NZRFU to identify elite players has a rational bias in favour of a particular style and type of player.

    To me, being a professional goes like this:

    To be a surgeon, you must first master the profession. There are plenty of surgeons who are geniuses, but no genius is automatically a surgeon.

    Same with professional rugby. The likes of Nonu are not good professionals, because they haven't mastered all the skills of their profession. They have a thrilling physical genius, but physical genius doesn't win professional sports encounters at the very highest level. As long as we have a talent identification system biases towards big, one dimensional Islander type players, our system won't produce properly professional players.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    They have a thrilling physical genius, but physical genius doesn't win professional sports encounters at the very highest level.

    Sure, I mean look at Lomu. I always said he wasn't a good professional, and he certainly was no gamebreaker.

    Has to be the silliest statement I've read all month. All players in any sport have a range of skills, very few have all of them. You don't remember Maradona for the marvellous headers, do you? Likewise somebody like Nonu may not have the kicking game of Mauger, but neither did Mauger have the running skills of Nonu. You can say that we're developing too many players in the same mould - say, big and bruising - and that makes sense, but to say that Nonu is not a professional is bizarre.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7360 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    I have heard Wayne Smith state on more than one occasion that Nonu can kick, however kicking seems off limits in Test matches, coaches orders perhaps.
    I have seen him kick the ball some distance during warm ups at the cake tin.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    ... an Alastair Cooke documentary I'd downloaded...

    Are you talking about __The Unseen Alistair Cooke__ ?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    You don't remember Maradona for the marvellous headers, do you?

    I do; except it wasn’t his head that touched the ball...

    I do find it odd that Mains is running around barking that a #12 must be able to kick, given that he picked Eroni Clarke there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the officials inexplicably failed to award a penalty try

    Has there ever been a rugby game which NZ lost (or failed to win by a suitable overwhelming margin) where people haven't whinged about the ref?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4459 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Anyone can jump, anyone can kick. What I am saying is the system used by the NZRFU to identify elite players has a rational bias in favour of a particular style and type of player.

    No it doesn't. The same system that produced Nonu, produced Dan Carter, who's about as multi-skilled as you get. Certain player types fit into certain positions is all.

    Under your theory we never would have picked Jonah Lomu, because his kicking game was bad, and his defence in certain areas (eg, receiving kicks) was suspect, despite him being probably the most lethal attacking player of a generation.

    Nonu can kick - like Umaga he developed a pretty decent through kick for his outside backs to run onto. He's also worked on his passing game for the Hurricanes and often puts his outside man into the gap.

    Personally I don't think he's a 2nd five. He's a 13. His physical strength is more likely to be bust the line further out where he'll hit a 2nd five or centre rather than further in where there's more likely to be forwards tackling him.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6172 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    But, is there a decent 2nd five in NZ who can kick?

    Stephen Brett?

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I don't understand rugby..never have, never will and I don't care

    But I do understand The Turnaround..you lucky bastard Russell...I always try to time my trips to Auckland to coincide. It feels like family.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I am afraid, yet again, that obnoxious gloater Stephen Jones has hit the nail on the head in the The Times...

    "...New Zealand were once again revealed as possessing terrific effort and commitment, yet very little in terms of true world class. They were also shown to be a one-trick pony, as all they had was a game of endless passing and movement without reference points..."

    Why do we continually play like that? I hold it is because our system produces players who play like that. Players who would have won the 1995 RWC.

    Kyle, time to wake up. Lomu would have been a phenomena of any time, but today he would be less effective. The Terry Wright/John Kirwin combo was 75 and 96kg respectively. Lomu weighed in around 115-120kg and was running over 80-90kg opponents like, famously, Mike Catt.

    Nowadays Lote Tuqiri and Sivivatu are both in the 100-105kg range, and that is nothing remarkable. "Small" is relative these days, Brian Habana looks like a midget on the paddock but he is 96kg or so.

    The idea that one dimensional players like Sivivatu or Nonu can still have a place at the very top of professional rugby - surely, where the All Blacks should be - is now rapidly becoming out of date.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Ahh, come in Christchurch… (although you have a point.)

    I only live here, I don't even support Canterbury OR the Crusaders. But Tuiali'i just gets on and does the job asked of him and doesn't swan around with the ball in one hand, just asking to have it taken off him.

    The Press had a front-page article about the number of people in Canterbury supporting the Wallabies as if this was a perfectly natural thing to do. Think I'll borrow another Aussie term to go with Dingo Deans and call them all Deans' Drongoes

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle, time to wake up. Lomu would have been a phenomena of any time, but today he would be less effective.

    In his prime he'd absolutely make this team (or indeed last year's world cup team, which was much better), and be one of the best five players on it. If a player is so good at one dimensional, that they're still one of the top players in the world, that doesn't make them a bad player. Coaches know what they're getting when they pick these players, they choose the advantages and acknowledge the disadvantages. If you can swap 10 greats of offence, for one defensive lapse, that's probably a pretty good swap.

    The idea that one dimensional players like Sivivatu or Nonu can still have a place at the very top of professional rugby - surely, where the All Blacks should be - is now rapidly becoming out of date.

    Sivivatu made what... three clean line breaks the other night? One of which he just about tripped himself up trying to find an open player to pass to for the try line. And he was denied a likely looking try by being tackled early.

    According to Tracey Nelson's stats, Sivivatu missed one tackle. A multi-talented player like Ali Williams (kicks as well as a lot of international level first-fives) missed four, as did Conrad Smith (on for less than one half of the game), who's supposed to be a defensive stalwart. Nonu missed one.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6172 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Why the...

    Why was Braid replaced in the 50th minute?

    Up until that point the game was messy with lots of turnovers which seemed to be a trend, because afterwards it was messy with lots of turnovers - pity we didn't have an openside.

    Our refusal to kick it out meant multiple phases left forwards in the defensive line, so breaks occured in the midfield which could have been remedied by cover from the ruck - pity we didn't have an openside.

    Our halfback was injured which removed our quickest ruck based player, we substituted off the second quickest.

    Why did we not change "THE PLAN"?

    We play a wide ranging game structured to incorporate a world class number 7 (which is great when McCaw plays). Unfortunately McCaw was not available and someone called G. Smith plays for Australia (Note to Graham Henry - he's quite good). We played a game plan ideally suited to the world's best (fit) number 7, who plays for Australia. This seemed stupid.

    Stop bashing on Sione.

    Sione Lauaki is a very good player, he is ideally suited to breaking structured defences and providing defence close to the ruck. He was asked to sub for openside flanker in a game where we did not take line-outs, they did not take scrums and their loose forwards turned the ball over too quickly for the defence to set. He truly had a crap game, because our coach put him on as a game breaker for a play structure that Did Not Exist.

    Start bashing Graham Henry.

    Seriously bad.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Don't get me wrong, I would never support another team over NZ.

    TV3 sent at least two camera crews to Canterbury last week trying to find Kiwis supporitng Australia - they came up short both times.

    And on Luaki - someone needs to tell the human wrecking ball he needs to start wrecking the other team...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Sione Lauaki is awful, and has always been awful. Before this match, whenever he comes on, I've said to my partner: "How many tackles before he loses the ball?" You can turn it into a drinking game because he does it EVERY match. He insists on holding the ball in one hand so he can get a pass away, which is all well and good, except he often just coughs it up. This game was his worst ever. I counted him losing possession five times, and I think he only touched it six. Not to mention his utter inability to move and tackle Rocky Elsom. Just totally out of his depth.

    Also, what's wrong with complaining about the ref? No one's saying the ABs played well and were robbed (they didn't and weren't), but if a referee performs badly, he should be called on it. And that was clearly a penalty try.

    On the bright side, the Dark Knight is really good.

    Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    On the bright side, the Dark Knight is really good.

    Although Christian Bale's Deep Growly Batman Voice is so ridiculous that I can't quite handle it.

    (Still, seeing the Dark Knight on Saturday was a great substitute for enduring the other Dark Night: the one at my house. We lost power for six hours. Oh, and now we have no hot water. So, awesome. Did this used to happen so much in my grey Stalinist government-regulated two-TV-channel early 80s childhood? I don't remember our power supply being so unreliable back then...)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3655 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    The Jacquie Brown Diaries works -- it really works!

    I wouldn't go quite that far. It has promised and some really good bits but seemed to try a little hard in places. Doesn't "New Zealand's best light news presenter" smell a little like "New Zealand's 4th best comedy folk duo"?

    We are definitely going to give it another go - There were some genuinely funny bits but it just seemed a little flat in places.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sione Lauaki is a very good player, he is ideally suited to breaking structured defences

    He carried the ball six times and lost it five of them. That's simply hopeless, and it was really the final nail in the coffin.

    and providing defence close to the ruck.

    He was on the field long enough to miss four tackles too ..

    He was asked to sub for openside flanker in a game where we did not take line-outs, they did not take scrums and their loose forwards turned the ball over too quickly for the defence to set. He truly had a crap game, because our coach put him on as a game breaker for a play structure that Did Not Exist.

    No, he had a crap game because he gave away the ball nearly every time he received it. Literally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18876 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But I do understand The Turnaround..you lucky bastard Russell...I always try to time my trips to Auckland to coincide. It feels like family.

    It really did. My old friend Mere waved me through the door (with a +1) when we arrived, and when I mentioned to her that it was my birthday night out the security guards wished me happy birthday. You don't get that at your average smelly nightclub.

    It was nice to hear some dubstep loud too. It's a kind of music that doesn't really work for me at home, but it sure did on the big stereo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18876 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    They are big and one dimensional, and everyone is their size at international level - only the other guys are mentally tougher and have a greater skill set.

    Bollocks. Nuf said. There's simply too many players who prove this wrong to respond further.

    Lauaki had a bad game, he's had good games before, but he's never been a regular and frankly the Aussies were exerting a lot of pressure on us and had the better back three on the day. He may well be dropped however (so too was Kaino a while back). Braid played ok, but didn't dominate (then again, the pack wasn't as dominant either) so who'll play 7 if McCaw's still unfit?

    Nonu didn't have a great game but I'm pleased that someone's posted the stats and noted that the AB gameplan was to spin it wide plus both defences were regularly set offside.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Dubstep is my heaven, on Friday we will have a couple of dubstep acts, (Jason George, Future one and Maybe, just maybe Andy Qroniq up on the decks) over a reinforced sound system (thanks to SPL Sound) down at Fu and Zen for the Wall of Sound.

    Also looking forwards to when Dirtycash and beat merchants bring over Loefah, bought my ticket on Friday avo.

    Who was dropping dubstep at the Turnaround? What tunes?

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Personally I don't think he's a 2nd five. He's a 13. His physical strength is more likely to be bust the line further out where he'll hit a 2nd five or centre rather than further in where there's more likely to be forwards tackling him.

    Nonu has also become a better winger as a result of his time in the centre. It is a pleasure to see him out wide these days.

    Still, 13 seems like a good compromise...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Lauaki had a bad game, he's had good games before

    Not many.

    But it’s not a Pacific Island thing, it’s a Waikato thing.

    They’ve produced so many loose forwards who are unable to make the step up. A recent former All Black coach being an example that springs to mind.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    He carried the ball six times and lost it five of them.

    As a Waikato and Chiefs fan, I do have to admit that Luaki was pretty crap on Saturday. When he is good, he is very good; when he is bad, he is appalling.

    But no one has mentioned Richard Kahui. who was very good. The Herald nominated him as the best in the line-up.

    Maybe if they had subbed on Stephen Donald as well, the bumbling might have been fixed.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2309 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This rather good assessment from the Aussie sports site The Roar includes the following:

    Then on came Lauaki for Braid.

    Ellis was also subbed off for Jimmy Cowan, in the first of no less than three All Black halfback swapsies in the second half that the Wallabies looked justifiably angered by. The increasingly butter-fingered replacement hooker Keven Mealamu took the dependable Hore’s place, too, but the Lauaki-Braid swap was fundamental to the outcome from this point.

    Inneffectual at the first breakdown, cleaned out easily by George Smith… watching idle ten feet away at the next turnover, then a missed tackle on Luke Burgess… blind when the Wallabies went open, open when they went blind… watched first Ashley-Cooper then flanker Rocky Elsom stroll past him for the go-ahead try… Lauaki’s first five minutes may as well have been spent still watching from the sideline. There were only fourteen functioning All Black neocortexes on the field.

    Lauaki then immediately lost possession the first time he handled after the try. His first and only useful act since entering the fray came soon afterwards, when he won possession back with an aggressive tackle… but only after someone hospital-passed the Wallaby hooker, with Lauaki practically offside and Joubert asleep again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18876 posts Report Reply

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