20 Dec

RWC Hosting Venues Announced
by Tracey Nelson
20 Dec 2009

Twenty-three New Zealand centres – 16 in the North Island and seven in the South Island – will host at least one of the 20 participating teams.

There are 20 teams particpating in RWC 2011, four of which have yet to qualify. The teams will be based in 23 centres, ten of which are non-match centres – Bay of Islands, Rodney, Taupo, Tauranga/Mt Maunganui, Gisborne, Wanganui, Masterton, Blenheim, Ashburton and Queenstown.

A range of criteria was applied to assess each option, such as:

  • all accommodation options on match days will be no more than 50 minutes drive from the match venue
  • all training facilities will be a maximum of 30 minutes drive from team accommodation
  • enduring benefits (how much of a catalyst for facility improvement as a result of the allocation of a team)
  • cost containment (minimising cost of domestic air travel)

The duration of stay in each centre varies from 2 to 25 nights. Teams will be based at 47 training venues, which inlude 18 rugby clubs and 7 schools. The allocation of accommodation and training venues for the knock-out stage of the tournament will be determined by ballot for the teams that qualify, and will be located in the cities hosting these matches (Wellington and Christchurch for the quarter finals, and Auckland for the semis, Bronze Final and Final).

Centres and the teams they will host are listed below, with the total number of nights a team will stay there in brackets.

Centre Hosted Teams
BAY OF ISLANDS Canada (6), Tonga (4), Asia qualifier (3)
 
WHANGEREI Tonga (10), Canada (3), Asia qualifier (2)
 
RODNEY Asia qualifier (11), Samoa (5), Namibia (3)
 
NORTHSHORE France (25), South Africa (4)
 
AUCKLAND New Zealand (15), Fiji (8), England (7), Ireland (6), Samoa (7), Scotland (5), Tonga (5), Australia (4)
 
HAMILTON Wales (13), New Zealand (7), Asia qualifier (3), Samoa (2), Fiji (2)  
TAUPO South Africa (9), Wales (5), Irealand (4)
 
ROTORUA Namibia (7), Samoa (6), Irealand (4), Fiji (2), Europe 2 (2)
 
TAURANGA/MT MAUNGANUI Fiji (9), Samoa (4), Europe 2 (3)
GISBORNE Namibia (12)
 
NAPIER Canada (15), Asia qualifier (2), France (3)
 
NEW PLYMOUTH USA (10), Ireland (4), Namibia (4), Wales (3), Europe 2 (3)
 
WANGANUI USA (6)
 
PALMERTSON NORTH Argentina (7), Europe 1 (7), Play-off winner (3)
 
MASTERTON Europe 1 (7)
 
WELLINGTON South Africa (17), Wales (9), New Zealand (8), Fiji (7), Australia (6), Tonga (6), USA (5), France (3), Canada (3)
 
NELSON Itlay (21), USA (4), Europe 2 (2)  
BLENHEIM Europe 2 (10)
 
CHRISTCHURCH Argentina (23), England (19), Australia (16), Scotland (11), Italy (7), Europe 2 (6), Europe 1(3)
ASHBURTON Play-off winner (6)
 
DUNEDIN Europe 1 (11), Play-off winner (8), Ireland (7), Scotland (5), Italy (3), England (3)
 
QUEENSTOWN Ireland (6), Play-off winner (4), England (3)
 
INVERCARGILL Play-off winner (7), Scotland (4), Argentina (3)

20 Dec

New Domestic Competition for 2011
by Tracey Nelson
20 Dec 2009

Air-NZ-Cup-Logo3A new domestic competition structure and player contract agreement has been announced for the 2011 season.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have agreed settlement terms for a new Collective Employment Agreement for 2010 to 2012, and decided upon the structure of the domestic competition.

The competition will remain at 14 teams for 2010, with a full round robin followed by semi-finals and a final exactly as the 2009 competition was played. But in 2011 the 14 teams will split into two divisions of seven teams, based on their fiinishing positions in the 2010 competition. The top seven sides from 2010 will form the 2011 Premiership, and the bottom seven will form the Championship.

Within the Premiership and Championship, each team will play the other teams in their division plus four teams from the other division (a total of 10 games). The process on how teams will select their cross-division opponents will be finalised early next year. All ten matches will carry full competition points. There will also be automatic promotion/relegation, with th winner of the Championship receiving automatice promotion to the Premiership while the seventh placed side in the Premiership will drop down to the Championship for the following season.

So this will create a lot of interest in the 2010 ANZC season, with all games having a huge bearing on deciding the split of teams into the two divisions for 2011. However, the first season of the Premiership and Championship format will be restricted to an eight week window due to the hosting of the Rugby World Cup. This will result in three mid-week matches over the eight weeks of the compeition, and there will be no semi-finals that year. From 2012 the competition will commence mid August and be played over 12 weeks.

Player contracting and the salary cap will also change. The Provincial Union Salary Cap will no longer include notional values, but discounts for All Blacks, veteran players and injuries will continue. The level of the new Salary Cap will be set at the lesser of:

  • $1.35m; or
  • 36% of a Province’s commercial revenue based on prior years.

This is a reduction on the current cap of $2.2 million (which included notional values).

The revenue sharing model introduced in 2005 will continue, with the Player Payment Pool to be used for Player payments and initiatives agreed at 36 per cent of the Player Generated Revenue (this inludes all NZRU broadcasting revenue, sponsorship and match-day revenue). Franchise Revenue above a total revenue level across the five New Zealand Franchises of $24 million per annum will also added to the PPP from 2011.

The maximum amount provinces will be able to play an individual player will be capped at $60K, with the exception of two marquee players who will be capped at $90K. Any exisiting provincial union contracts in excess of $60K will be added to that player’s NZRU contract and become payable out of the Player Payment Pool.

Franchises will be allocated a budget from within the Player Payment Pool with a maximum amount that a Franchise will be able to pay a player to be agreed. The existing Wider Training Group of a further eight players per Franchise will remain.

The settlement terms will now be drafted into a full Collective Agreement which will be presented to the respective stakeholders for final ratification. Further details of the agreement will be announced once those processes are concluded.

11 Dec

ANZC Competition to remain unchanged
by Tracey Nelson
11 Dec 2009

The NZRU Board has decided that the current 14-team premier competition and 12-team Heartland Championship will be retained in the same formats as the 2009 season for the forthcoming 2010 season.

The current collective employment negotiations still underway with the NZ Rugby Players’ Asoociation, and the threat of several of the provincial unions lodging appeals and potential legal action were major factors in the board’s deliberations yesterday at NZRU headquarters in Wellington. The overall decision was based on a recommendation from NZRU Management to maintain the status quo for next year, following many months of consultation and fact finding on how to make the the new competition format viable. NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs said that with the competition formats now being a key component of the collective employment negotiations, it was unlikely that any resolution would have been found before March of 2010.

The combination of appeals lodged by the Tasman and Counties-Manakau unions, and the likelihood of legal action from other unions has essentially left the NZRU with no room to manoeuvre. With supporter numbers up in the non-Franchise unions across New Zealand, the ground swell to keep the current 14 team Premier Division as it is reached a fever pitch towards the end of this year’s competition and to cull the top division of four sides would have seen an ill-afforded backlash against the NZRU. Many of the smaller unions have also disupted that there was blanket approval from them to change the domestic competition, despite NZRU CEO Steve Tew noting that the intial call for change came from the nine non-Franchise provincial unions back in April this year.

However, the problem of the window for the competition remains – exacerbated by the lengthening of the TriNations series into October and end of year tours that see the All Blacks only making token appearances in the national competition. Along with a realistic competition structure, there will need to be an affordable and sustainable player payment model and a salary cap. It is unfeasible for the domestic competition to continue to play out until early November, and player welfare along with viewing numbers will have to come into force. Meanwhile, the Board’s previous decision to structure the domestic competition as a 10-6-10 format in 2011 and 2012 remains, subject to continued negotiations with the NZ Rugby Players’ Association and the NZRU.

While the outcome may not be what the NZRU had in mind, there will no doubt be plenty of celebration at the grass roots of the game. This year proved to many that the lifeblood of our national game still lies in the provinces, and with unions such as Northland, Manawatu and Tasman all finding ways to get their finances out of the red this season (unlike many of the bigger, Franchise unions) they now have the chance to continue to foster the next generation of All Blacks in their home regions. Indeed, a victory for the game itself.

30 Nov

Game Stats: France v All Blacks, Marseille, 28 November 2009
by Tracey Nelson
30 Nov 2009

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game, being the First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums.

Please note Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. halting the movement and being the tackler according to the laws of the game), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately. Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball carrier isn’t stopped. Most importantly, I do NOT call a slipped tackle a tackle, it gets noted as a missed tackle.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each total. An asterisk denotes a player who came on as a substitute.

Team: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Tom Donnelly, Brad Thorn, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Cory Flynn, Owen Franks, Anthony Boric, Tanerau Latimer, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Luke McAlister.

Substitutions were: Franks for Tialata and Boric for Thorn at 65 min, Flynn for Hore, Latimer for Read, Donald for Carter and McAlister for Nonu all at 70 min, and Ellis for Cowan at 74 min. Tialata came back on at the 77min mark to cover tighthead prop for the sinbinned Owen Franks.

Points Scored NZ France
Tries 5 0
Conversions 4 0
Penalties 2/2 3/5
Drop goals 0/1 1/1
Total 39 12

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 12 2
France 5 0
Total 17 2

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Nonu(2), Franks 3
Ruck Tialata, McCaw(2) 3
LIneout Thorn 1
Scrum Front row, Kaino, McCaw, Woodcock 4
Foul play Franks 1 + YC
Total   12

Opp Penalty Offences
Tackle 2
Ruck 2
Scrum 1
Total 5

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 3
Spilled 1
Pass to opposition 2
At the ruck 1
Accidental offside 1
Total 8

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
McCaw 28 19+9
Woodcock 24 12+12
Hore 23 11+12
Read 21 10+11
Thorn 20 14+6
Donnelly 19 9+10
Tialata 18 12+6
Kaino 16 8+8
Sivivatu 10 3+7
Mulinaina 9 3+6
Smith 9 2+7
Carter 8 4+4
Nonu 7 4+3
Jane 6 4+2
Cowan 3 0+3
Boric* 2  
Donald* 2  
McAlister* 2  
Flynn* 1  
Franks* 1  
Latimer* 1  

Ball carries
McCaw 8  
Read 7
Hore 6
Donnelly 5
Woodcock 5
Kaino 3
Thorn 2
Tialata 2
Franks* 1
Boric* 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 15 (4+11) 5 (4+1)
Smith 13 (7+6) 2 (1+1)
Read 9 (6+3) 3 (2+1)
Kaino 8 (5+3) 1 (1+0)
Woodcock 7 (4+3) 4 (4+0)
Hore 7 (6+1) 2 (1+1)
Tiatlata 6 (3+3) 2 (2+0)
Donnelly 5 (5+0) 2 (2+0)
Nonu 4 (3+1) 1 (1+0)
Muliaina 3 (2+1) 1 (0+1)
Thorn 3 (3+0) 1 (1+0)
Carter 2 (2+0) 1 (0+1)
Boric* 2 0
Donald* 2 0
McAlister* 2 0
Sivivatu 2 (1+1) 0
Latimer* 1 1
Flynn* 1 0
Franks* 1 0
Cowan 1 (1+0) 0
Jane 0 2 (2+0)
Total 94 28

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Hore 2
McCaw 2
Carter 2
Tialata 1
Read 1
Muliaina 1
Total 9

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 6 7
Second half 7 7
Total 13 14

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Kaino 3 3
Read 3 3
Donnelly 2 2
Thorn 2 2
Quick throw 3 3

France Line-outs Won From
First half 2 3
Second half 7 9
Total 9 12

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 2 3
Second half 2 4
Total 4 7

France Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 3 4
Second half 4 4
Total 7 8

23 Nov

Game Stats: England v All Blacks, London, 21 November 2009
by Tracey Nelson
23 Nov 2009

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game, being the First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums. (NOTE: Dan Carter became the highest points scorer for New Zealand with the 14 points he scored taking him to 979, over taking Andrew Merhtens’ previous record tally of 966 points).

Please note Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. halting the movement and being the tackler according to the laws of the game), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately. Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball carrier isn’t stopped. Most importantly, I do NOT call a slipped tackle a tackle, it gets noted as a missed tackle.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each total. An asterisk denotes a player who came on as a substitute.

Team: Mils Muliaina, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Sitiveni Sitivatu, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw(c), Adam Thomson, Tom Donnelly, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Cory Flynn, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Jerome Kaino, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Tamati Ellison.

Substitutions were: Afoa for Franks, Boric for Donnelly, and Kaino for Thomson all at 57 min, Ellis for Cowan at 70 min.

Points Scored NZ England
Tries 1 0
Conversions 1 0
Penalties 4/6 2/2
Total 19 6

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 8 1
England 9 5
Total 17 6

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Nonu, McCaw(2) 3
Offside Thorn 1
Scrum Whole scrum, Woodcock 2
Taking player off ball Read 1
Foul play Cowan 1
Total   8

Opp Penalty Offences
Tackle 5
Ruck 2
Scrum 1
Foul play 1
Total 9

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock on 9
Forward pass 1
Spilled 1
Touch in goal from penalty 1
Accidental offside 1
Total 13

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
McCaw 35 22+13
Woodcock 30 23+7
Franks 25 18+7
Hore 25 16+9
Thomson 23 17+6
Donnelly 19 14+5
Thorn 19 7+12
Read 17 10+7
Nonu 13 7+6
Smith 11 8+3
Carter 10 7+3
Guildford 8 5+3
Muliaina 5 3+2
Afoa* 4  
Kaino* 4  
Boric* 3  
Sivivatu 2 1+1
Ellis* 1  

Ball carries
McCaw 7  
Thomson 5
Hore 5
Read 4
Franks 3
Thorn 3
Woodcock 1
Donnelly 1
Boric 1
Kaino 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Carter 13 (6+7) 2 (1+1)
McCaw 12 (5+7) 5 (1+4)
Read 12 (7+5) 0
Thomson 7 (7+0) 2 (0+2)
Franks 7 (4+3) 1 (1+0)
Thorn 6 (5+1) 3 (1+2)
Woodcock 6 (4+2) 2 (2+0)
Nonu 5 (4+1) 2 (2+0)
Smith 5 (2+4) 0
Hore 4 (2+2) 3 (2+1)
Guildford 4 (1+3) 1 (1+0)
Donnelly 3 (3+1) 2 (1+1)
Kaino* 3 0
Afoa* 1 0
Ellis* 1 0
Sivivatu 1 (0+1) 0
Muliaina 1 (0+1) 0
Cowan 0 3 (2+1)
Total 91 26

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Cowan 2
Carter 2
McCaw 1
Thorn 1
Nonu 1
Guildford 1
Total 8

Tackle turnovers won
McCaw 1
Hore 1
Thomson 1
Smith 1
Total 4

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 4 4
Second half 6 6
Total 10 10

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Donnelly 2 2
Read 2 2
Thomson 2 2
Kaino* 2 2
THorn 1 1
Not seen 1 1

England Line-outs Won From
First half 6 7
Second half 10 12
Total 16 19

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 3 3
Second half 5 7
Total 8 10

England Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 7 8
Total 11 13

20 Nov

Match preview: England v All Blacks
by Tracey Nelson
20 Nov 2009

Obviously the most important thing for the All Blacks to achieve this weekend is a win over England. Anything less will relegate the entire end of year tour as a failure. But there are some additional boxes that could do with some ticks too.

Thankfully the coaches have selected the same forward pack I would have, which is always a good start in my books. The naming of Thomson, McCaw and Read points to a desire for dominance at the breakdown and the combination of McCaw and Thomson on the flanks should provide the speed to outgun England there. I also like the options both Thomson and Read provide in the lineout.

The tight five are exactly that – a tight five who won’t roam about getting in the way of the backs, and all of them have shown willingness and ability to get to the breakdown in numbers and not shirk their duties in the ball security stakes. If there is one thing that would play into England’s hands this weekend, it would be the All Blacks reverting to the Fatties in the Backline style of play we saw the game against Italy degenerate into last weekend – they key to beating England and beating them well is to provide clean, fast, front foot ball and let our backline rip into it without having to sidestep their own forwards.

The first tick box I would like to see fulfilled (well, the second after actually winning the game of course) is for the backs to score tries. So far in the two test matches against Wales and Italy it has been the hookers who have scored the tries – and just one each, leaving a sad tally of one try per test. This needs to change, and Twickenham is the ground to do it on.

The other tick box is the requirement to keep our line unbreached. A win against England will be badly tarnished if they score a try against us, particularly with the way England have been travelling so far. They have selected a very defensive-oriented side, so it would be all the more galling to concede 5 points to them.

Of interest will be the shift of Zac Guildford over to the right wing – a position he feels is not uncomfortable for him, and one he opted to take in deference to his more senior counterpart Sitiveni Sivivatu who offered him the left wing spot. England have a Kiwi amongst their ranks in hooker Dylan Hartley (born in NZ but shifted to England as a teenager) in just his fourth run-on start. Hartley played in the same Rotorua Boys’ High School 1st XV with Liam Messam. They are also starting Ayoola Erinle at 2nd 5 this weekend which makes for a new pairing in the England midfield, and he will be head to head with Ma’a Nonu.

England have been slammed by their own press (and fans) as being boring and lacking any skills to play attacking rugby after losing to Australia and only just beating Argentina this month. Some of their better attacking players have been relegated to the bench (Mathew Tait, Shane Geraghty, Tom Croft), and whilst Simon Shaw is back from injury at lock the entire line-up looks remiscent of siege-mentality in what is likely to be an attempt to prevent he All Blacks from getting their running game going more than having a clue how to attack to win the game.

That doesn’t mean that powerful forward play should take a back seat, and I hope the All Blacks can also illustrate some good scrummaging (thankfully Stuart Dickinson isn’t refereeing this week!) and physical dominance at the breakdown. The All Blacks owe it not just to themselve and their fans, but to world rugby to ensure ball through the hand dominates the now in-vogue kicking game that has brought rugby union to the sorry state of being a kick-fest at international level.

16 Nov

The Italian Job
by Tracey Nelson
16 Nov 2009

With a total of 8 penalties awarded against the All Blacks at scrum time on Saturday night, the blame is flying back and forth between the New Zealanders and the Italians. We take a look at what was going on in the dark, dirty world of the scrums.

The Italians had 15 scrum feeds during the test and only two of those resulting in the halfback clearing the ball without a scrum reset, while the rest of the scrums involved at least one reset (one first half scrum resulted in three). More importantly, the All Blacks conceded 8 penalties and one free kick – all but one penalty going against the loosehead prop. What was going on that first Wyatt Crockett and then Neemia Tialata (who switched to the loosehead side when John Afoa subbed on for Crockett in the 59th minute) bore the brunt of the referee’s whistle?

From the very first Italian scrum it was game on, and following two resets Australian referee Stuart Dickinson awarded a free kick against Crockett for not binding. The next three Italian scrums resulted in penalties against Crockett, again for either not binding correctly or slipping his bind bringing the scrum down on that side. Crockett was up against the impressive Italian tighthead prop Martin Castrogiovanni, who had previously made mincemeat of the Springbok front row the prior weekend when premiership side Leicester had beaten the touring South Africans.

The All Black coaches claimed the Italians were boring in, so we decided to take a closer look and see if there was any truth behind this claim. In particular, we looked at the scrum set in the 45th minute of the game on the All Blacks’ 22m line. As the two packs ready themselves to engage, Crockett is standing slightly behind hooker Cory Flynn, while tighthead Tialata is standing level with his hooker. Meanwhile the Italian pack have aligned themselves so that their tighthead prop and openside flanker are slightly angled in towards Flynn.

On the engage call from the referee the Italians adjust their hit so that their loosehead and blindside flanker also angle in on Flynn, while both locks push their angle at our tighthead Tialata. This effectively means both sides of the front row are boring in on Flynn and pinning him – a technique known as "the wedge". The wedge puts the entire force of the Italian scrum onto Tialata and while he manages to hold his ground at first thanks to his lock (Tom Donnelly), the other side of the scrum isn’t faring as well.

Crockett has packed high and angled under Flynn while his lock, Anthony Boric, splinters away from his fellow locking partner either due to his flanker (Liam Messam) not binding tight and straight or in an attempt to adjust to the pressure he can sense coming through Flynn. The upshot of this is that Boric and Messam essentially wheel the scrum towards and onto Crockett, resulting in Crockett getting popped out of the scrum unable to hold his bind any longer.

The mechanics of the All Black scrum on the Italian feeds meant that only Tialata and Flynn were managing to maintain a straight angle, because the rest of the pack were flying helplessly and wheeling onto their own loosehad. It was very clever manouevering by the Italian pack, and worked effectively because while the wedge was driving Crockett inwards, the middle row of the Italian scrum still drove forward and for all intents and purposes looked straight to the referee. The Italian halfback also managed to delay his feed until the wedge was formed.

Further confirmation of what is going on can be seen by checking the Italian blindside flanker. He is stopping his prop from popping by leaning on his reat and pushing in a manner similar to the way you would attempt to push a car uphill. The two All Black flankers were not pushing in on their props, and therefore that resulted in the locks splintering and the scrum wheeling on the loosehead side.

It was some great artistry by Italy, and its difficult for a referee to detect, except… he missed the requirement for the Italian tighthead prop to bind to the opposition loosehead’s arm. Castrogiovanni (and his replacement later in the game) both let go of their bind, lift the shoulder and arm and slide under Crockett and Flynn, which should have resulted in a penalty against him. As far as we can see, Tialata was doing a very good job at TH and holding his ground but a combination of a couple of illegalities, a wonderful wedge driving forward and the All Blacks seeming to screw the scrum did us in.

Thanks to the ever-wise John Cawston for his knowledge on all things scrum-like, and confirming our suspicions that the Italians certainly did a job on us.

16 Nov

Game Stats: All Blacks v Italy, Milan, 14 November 2009
by Tracey Nelson
16 Nov 2009

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game, being the First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums.

Please note Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. halting the movement and being the tackler according to the laws of the game), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately. Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball carrier isn’t stopped. Most importantly, I do NOT call a slipped tackle a tackle, it gets noted as a missed tackle.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each total. An asterisk denotes a player who came on as a substitute.

Team: Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison, Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mike Delany, Andy Ellis, Rodney So’oialo(c), Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Tom Donnelly, Anthony Boric, Neemia Tailata, Cory Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Jason Eaton, Richie McCaw, Jimmy Cowan, Stephen Donald, Mils Muliaina

Substitutions were: Afoa for Crockett and Cowan for Ellis at 59 min, Donald for Delany at 63 min, and Muliaina for Jane at 67 min.

Points Scored NZ Italy
Tries 1 0
Conversions 0 0
Penalties 5/8 2/3
Total 20 6

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 13 1
Italy 12 0
Total 25 1

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Tialata, Ellison 2
Ruck Crockett, Latimer, Flynn 3
Scrum Crockett(4), Messam, Tialata(2 +YC), Front row 8
Total   13

Italy Penalty Offences
Tackle 5 (+1YC)
Ruck 2
Offside 4
Scrum 1
Total 12

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 7
Forward pass 3
Incorrect tap 1
In the tackle 3
At the ruck 2
Lineout 1
Total 17

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Latimer 28 14+14
Boric 26 13+13
Donnelly 23 12+11
Messam 19 12+7
Crockeett 22 15+7
So’oialo 21 10+11
Tialata 15 10+5
Flynn 15 8+7
Ellison 6 2+4
Smith 6 0+6
Sivivatu 5 1+4
McAlister 4 3+1
Ellis 4 2+2
Afoa* 3  
Jane 3 2+1
Delany 2 1+1
Donald* 1  

Ball carries
Boric 6  
Flynn 5
Tialata 5
So’oialo 4
Messam 3
Latimer 3
Donnelly 2
Afoa* 1
Crockett 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Latimer 9 (5+4) 1 (0+1)
Tialata 4 (3+1) 0
Smith 4 (1+3) 0
Donnelly 4 (0+4) 0
Afoa* 3 0
So’oialo 3 (1+2) 3 (3+0)
Flynn 3 (3+0) 0
Delany 2 (0+2) 1 (0+1)
Crockett 1 (1+0) 3 (1+2)
Cowan* 1 0
Donald 1 0
Messam 1 (0+1) 0
Ellis 1 (0+1) 0
McAlister 1 (0+1) 0
Ellison 1 (0+1) 0
Sivivatu 0 1 (0+1)
Total 39 10

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Donnelly 1
So’oialo 1
Ellis 1
Sivivatu 1
Total 4

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 6 6
Second half 6 7
Total 12 13

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Donnelly 6 6
Boric 3 3
Messam 1 2
Latimer 1 1
So’oialo 1 1

Italy Line-outs Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 4 7
Total 9 12

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 4 4
No. of resets   1

Italy Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 9 10
No. of resets   15

16 Nov

Game Stats: All Blacks v Italy, Milan, 14 November 2009
by Tracey Nelson
16 Nov 2009

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game, being the First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums.

Please note Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. halting the movement and being the tackler according to the laws of the game), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately. Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball carrier isn’t stopped. Most importantly, I do NOT call a slipped tackle a tackle, it gets noted as a missed tackle.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each total. An asterisk denotes a player who came on as a substitute.

Team: Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison, Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mike Delany, Andy Ellis, Rodney So’oialo(c), Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Tom Donnelly, Anthony Boric, Neemia Tialata, Cory Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Jason Eaton, Richie McCaw, Jimmy Cowan, Stephen Donald, Mils Muliaina.

Substitutions were: Afoa for Crockett and Cowan for Ellis at 59 min, Donald for Delany at 63 min, and Muliaina for Jane at 67 min.

Points Scored NZ Italy
Tries 1 0
Conversions 0 0
Penalties 5/8 2/3
Total 20 6

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 13 1
Italy 12 0
Total 25 1

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Tialata, Ellison 2
Ruck Crockett, Latimer, Flynn 3
Scrum Crockett(4), Messam, Tialata(2 +YC), Front row 8
Total   13

Italy Penalty Offences
Tackle 5 (+1YC)
Ruck 2
Offside 4
Scrum 1
Total 12

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 7
Forward pass 3
Incorrect tap 1
In the tackle 3
At the ruck 2
Lineout 1
Total 17

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Latimer 28 14+14
Boric 26 13+13
Donnelly 23 12+11
Messam 19 12+7
Crockeett 22 15+7
So’oialo 21 10+11
Tialata 15 10+5
Flynn 15 8+7
Ellison 6 2+4
Smith 6 0+6
Sivivatu 5 1+4
McAlister 4 3+1
Ellis 4 2+2
Afoa* 3  
Jane 3 2+1
Delany 2 1+1
Donald* 1  

Ball carries
Boric 6  
Flynn 5
Tialata 5
So’oialo 4
Messam 3
Latimer 3
Donnelly 2
Afoa* 1
Crockett 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Latimer 9 (5+4) 1 (0+1)
Tialata 4 (3+1) 0
Smith 4 (1+3) 0
Donnelly 4 (0+4) 0
Afoa* 3 0
So’oialo 3 (1+2) 3 (3+0)
Flynn 3 (3+0) 0
Delany 2 (0+2) 1 (0+1)
Crockett 1 (1+0) 3 (1+2)
Cowan* 1 0
Donald 1 0
Messam 1 (0+1) 0
Ellis 1 (0+1) 0
McAlister 1 (0+1) 0
Ellison 1 (0+1) 0
Sivivatu 0 1 (0+1)
Total 39 10

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Donnelly 1
So’oialo 1
Ellis 1
Sivivatu 1
Total 4

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 6 6
Second half 6 7
Total 12 13

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Donnelly 6 6
Boric 3 3
Messam 1 2
Latimer 1 1
So’oialo 1 1

Italy Line-outs Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 4 7
Total 9 12

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 4 4
No. of resets   1

Italy Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 5 5
Second half 9 10
No. of resets   15

13 Nov

Itlay v All Blacks: Match Preview
by Tracey Nelson
13 Nov 2009

There are 12 changes to the side that beat Wales last weekend after the All Black coaches named the team to take on Italy this weekend at the San Siro Stadium in Milan.

Mike Delany, Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith will all make their All Black debuts, with 61 test cap Rodney So’oialo named to captain the side for the fifth time from Number 8. Delany has been named to start at 1st 5 ahead of Stephen Donald, who again takes a seat on the reserves bench with Daniel Carter not considered due to his one week suspension for a high tackle in the test match against Wales. Ellison will play at centre, with Luke McAlister named at 2nd 5. Ben Smith takes his place on the right wing with Sitiveni Sivivatu back from his suspension after the Tokyo test starting on the left wing, while Cory Jane shifts from wing to fullback.

Crockett and Tialata start their second test in a row and are joined at hooker by Cory Flynn. Anthony Boric gets his first All Black game since 2008 joining Tom Donnelly as the locking duo. Liam Messam starts at blindside, and Tanerau Latimer makes up the loose trio at openside flanker. Only Boric (10), Tialata (39) and So’oialo (61) have double figure test caps, with the combined caps of the other starting forward only tallying 15.

With three uncapped backs starting, Sivivatu is the most experieced player with 40 test caps followed by McAlister (28), Ellis (11) and Jane (10). But while the average number of caps in the starting lineup is only 14, the reserves more than make up for it with an average of over 40 caps per player. The very strong bench should ensure a more than handy rescue mission should any problems be encountered by the inexperienced starting fifteen.

The All Blacks have played Italy 10 times and have won on all occasions. The last Test between the two sides was in June this year in Christchurch, where the Azzuri pushed the All Blacks hard for the full 80 minutes before the New Zealanders won 27-6. The All Blacks have played in Italy three times: in Bologna in 1995 (won 70-6), Genova in 2000 (won 56-19) and Rome in 2004 (won 59-10).

The team is:

1.Wyatt Crockett (2 Tests)
2.Corey Flynn (5)
3.Neemia Tialata (39)
4.Tom Donnelly (3)
5.Anthony Boric (10)
6.Liam Messam (2)
7.Tanerau Latimer (3)
8.Rodney So’oialo (61, captain)
9.Andy Ellis (11)
10.Mike Delany – uncapped
11.Sitiveni Sivivatu (40)
12.Luke McAlister (28)
13.Tamati Ellison – uncapped
14.Ben Smith – uncapped
15.Cory Jane (10)

Reserves:

16. Andrew Hore (45)
17. John Afoa (21)
18. Jason Eaton (15)
19. Richie McCaw (78)
20. Jimmy Cowan (29)
21. Stephen Donald (17)
22. Mils Muliaina (79)