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Monday, June 13, 2005

[Sports] All Black selection HOWLer

Hadyn: There's a good article in the Herald about how pissed of Waikato supporters are that Marty Holah isn't in the team. One guy mentioned that McCaw has had a lot of concussions recently and it would be stupid not to have a back up.

Gibbs: I think its pretty gash, this "squad" idea. If Richie gets injured or whatever, Marty will go straight into the starting 15 for the next test. Its all about the reserve bench make-up and on-field cover. I think they do have it right in that sense. Having a dedicated openside on the bench does narrow it [the bench] slighty. And rodney or jerry can cover openside reasonably well. It's interesting though, cos Hen-dog said at the start they've got very little chance of matching the Lions physically. Their game plan was going to be about mobility. So why then is Sione Lauaki in the team? and Ali Williams ahead of Gibbes. Having James Ryan on the bench as your only lock cover (none of the backrow can play there) is a bit suspect as well.
I'll contradict myself a little and say while an opensider does narrow the bench,
Australia proved that having two opensiders on the field can be pretty effective.

And still on mobility, How is Dog Howlett in there again?? (sorry about the title pun)

I think Joe Rokocoko can feel pretty hard done by. He and Howlett played in the same average blues team. Behind a pack that was going backwards and a backline that was never the same week in week out. I’d like to know more about the season the blues had (hadyn – can you chip in with some stats?). I don’t think it was as bad as it was made out to be. They got beaten by better teams on the day, ie Hurricanes, but a couple of results their way and they would have made the play-offs.

Anyway, so Joe and Doug had virtually the same seasons. If they, actually no, if Joe had been playing for Canterbury he would have scored 12 tries just like Rico (Actually I think they would have scored a dozen apiece). So All black trial comes along, Dog gets a spot, presumably cos hes an incumbent, while Joe gets shipped off to Rugby bootcamp, for 4 weeks with the hardest taskmaster in all of sports, Sevens Guru Gordon Teijtens. He scores a bootload of tries, increases his fitness and confidence. He watches Dog have a so-so trial, sees him fall forward over the line twice for tries in a training run, poorly disguised as a test match, then, watches him pinch his test jersey or at least his place in the squad.

No wonder the English scribes are shaking their heads and the B I L backs are giving thanks to the rugby gods. If I had the choice of chasing down, or at least attempting to, a 105 kg win who’s faster than a greyhound and has scored 27 tries in 23 tests and a 90kg wing who’s had his day and is on the way out, I know who I’d chose and it wouldn’t be Joe. And if I was Jason Robinson, I know who I’d rather be running at.

Sivivatu deserves his place. Blinding pace, a big fend, defense (Doug cant even spell the word), confidence and enthusiasm mean Sivivatu will be a frightening prospect for the Lions. The starting wings should, on form and talent, be Gear and Sivivatu. I imagine they want an old hand around for some reason, but I think Gear has proved on the end o season trip last year, hes more than capable of rising to the occasion. Hes quicker than Doug and a damn sight more reliable.

And Doug’s just a pretty boy Aucklander.

As we speak the Spurs, who I at the end of the second round of the play-offs when they beat The Sonics (my fav team - Damnit) are looking good for the NBA title leading 2-0. They have held the supposedly super defence team to two scores of less than 80 and piled on 90 odd themselves in both games. The series moves to the cauldron of Detroit for the next games. So we may see the results turn, but I just don’t think so. Tim Duncan is the Pete Sampras of basketball. Boringly consistent, lacking in any type of appeal, but totally bankable.

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