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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

[Sport] Holah back at cha!

Let’s talk rugby. The All Blacks were announced on Sunday after the “big” NPC final. Is that the dumbest idea or what? Right before the biggest game of the season players have to worry that their performance in this one game may mean they are dropped from the national squad.

Of course the selectors have already made their decisions but the media and all the surrounding hype don’t believe it. Announce the squad on the Friday before the game and then everyone can just play their game and not have to worry about impressing anyone but the fans.

Note Otago first-five Nick Evans doing crazy kicks when his team needed ball-in-hand (snigger). Possibly he was trying to show that he should be selected as another option at first-five/fullback. Anyway, Nick’s team lost and he didn’t get picked. Mils Muliaina did get picked and coincidently his team won.

Prediction: Nick Evans will soon announce his plans to play overseas.

The team itself is fairly basic. Marty Holah isn’t there but he hasn’t been for a while and I suspect that he has made himself unpopular somehow. Kevin Senio isn’t in the squad (which would have made him the sole inclusion from Bay of Plenty*). Shit, maybe Canterbury shouldn’t buy him any more if he’s only 4th best in the country?

It does seem, like nearly every single team we send on a European tour, to be a development squad. It is building to the 2007 World Cup. But shit, can’t we just send a full strength “Blitz Team” and just nail the Northern Hemisphere teams to the wall?

I still think Jerry Collins needs to beef up a bit. Especially if he wants that hitting-the-line thing he does to work. He’s 5kg heavier than Ma’a Nonu but he’s 10cm taller. It’s time to increase your steak and tuna intake Jerry, until you look like this:

In other rugby news: the Black Ferns destroyed the English in the only time an international test has been the pre-game to the NPC final. For those who don’t know, the Black Ferns are the New Zealand Women’s Rugby team. They are actually more successful than their male counterparts and are made up of women who are the backbone of New Zealand “heartland rugby”. I hadn’t meant to go down this path but…

Statistics on women’s rugby in NZ aren’t collected as well as they should but numbers are growing. The women (especially Mäori women [pdf]) who play have a great passion for the game and seem to support it at a greater level than the men at the provincial level.

* The Bay and Northland are the only NPC first division teams with no All Blacks. They ended at 8th and 10th (last) respectively.


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