28 Nov

Game Stats: Wales v All Blacks, Cardiff, 27 November 2010
by Tracey Nelson
28 Nov 2010

RWC2007_C2_056The usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums. Daniel Carter’s first penalty goal took him to 1179 test points to overtake Jonny Wilkinson’s record, and he ended the game with 1188 points. Brad Thorn played his 50th test match.

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: Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, San Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Dan Carter, Hosea Gear, Sonny Bill Williams, Conrad Smith, Isaia Toeava, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Ma’a Nonu.

Substitutions were: Braid for Read at 35 min, Boric for Whitelock at 55 min, Afoa for Franks at 63 min, Hore for Mealamu at 75 min, Ellis for Cowan and Donald for Carter at 77 min.

Points Scored NZ Wales
Tries 5 1
Conversions 2 1
Penalties 2/4 6/7
Total 37 25

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 16 1
Wales 8 0
Total 24 1

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Muliaina(2), Toeava, Gear, Thorn, Smith, Braid(YC), Carter 8
Ruck/Breakdown Franks, Mealanu 2
Scrum Woodcock, Front Row (2) 3
Foul play Thorn, Gear 2
Kick 10m offside Unknown 1
Total 16

Wales’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 5
Ruck 2
Scrum 1
Total 8

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 8
Spilled ball 1
Breakdown 2
Lineout 1
Kick into touch on full 2
Total 14

NZ Linebreaks
Toeava 1
Muliaina 1
Kaino 1
Boric 1
Afoa 1

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Thorn 32 16+16
MCaw 31 17+14
Woodcock 23 11+12
Mealamu 21 11+10
Franks 19 14+5
Whitelock 19 12+7
Kaino 17 7+11
Smith 14 7+7
Braid* 10
Williams 10 7+3
Boric* 9
Read 9
Muliaina 9 1+8
Afoa* 7
Nonu* 5
Gear 4 2+2
Hore* 3
Toeava 3 1+2
Carter 2 1+1
Donald* 1
Cowan 1 0+1

Ball carries
Kaino 13
McCaw 7
Mealamu 7
Braid 6
Thorn 5
Whitelock 4
Woodcock 3
Franks 3
Boric 3
Read 2

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 14 (10+4) 6 (1+5)
Smith 11 (6+5) 1 (0+1)
Carter 10 (4+6) 0
Thorn 9 (2+7) 2 (1+1)
Kaino 8 (4+4) 3 (3+0)
Woodcock 8 (3+5) 2 (0+2)
Whitelock 6 (4+2) 1 (0+1)
Mealamu 6 (2+4) 0
Franks 6 (3+3) 0
Braid* 5 5
Nonu* 4 1
Read 3 0
Williams 3 (2+1) 1 (1+0)
Toeava 3 (2+1) 1 (1+0)
Muliaina 3 (1+2) 0
Gear 2 (2+0) 1 (0+1)
Boric* 1 0
Cowan 1 (1+0) 0
Total 103 24

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Franks 1
Thorn 1
Kaino 1
McCaw 1
Carter 1
Braid 1
Nonu 1
Donald 1
Total 8

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 2 4
Second half 4 5
Total 6 9

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
McCaw 2 2
Read 1 1
Thorn 1 1
Kaino 1 1
Whitelock 0 3
Quick throws 1 1

Wales Line-outs Won From
First half 3 5
Second half 5 5
Total 8 10

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

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

21 Nov

Game Stats: Ireland v All Blacks, Dublin, 20 November 2010
by Tracey Nelson
21 Nov 2010

This test match saw Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina become the most capped All Blacks as they played their 93rd tests. It also saw Graham Henry rack up 100 test wins as a coach (for Wales, the British & Irish Lions, and the All Blacks). The usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including 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: Tony Woodcock, Hikawera Elliot, Owen Franks, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, Hosea Gear, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Alby Mathewson, Stephen Donald, Sonny Bill Williams.

Substitutions were: Whitelock for Donnelly at 40 min, Hore for Elliot, Mathewson for Ellis, and Williams for Nonu at 58 min, Afoa for Franks at 66 min.

Points Scored NZ Ireland
Tries 4 2
Conversions 3 1
Penalties 4/4 2/2
Drop Goals 0/0 0/1
Total 38 18

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 10 2
Ireland 13 0
Total 23 2

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Woodcock, Boric 2
Ruck/Breakdown McCaw(2), Kaino(2)  
Offside Read, Carter 2
Scrum Woodcock 1
Lineout Read 1
Total   10

Ireland’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 6
Ruck 2
Offside 1
Scrum 4
Total 13

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 7
Spilled ball 2
Breakdown 2
Lineout 2
Forced into touch 3
Total 16

NZ Linebreaks
Muliaina 2
Gear 2

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Boric 32 21+11
Franks 31 24+7
MCaw 31 21+10
Read 28 20+8
Kaino 27 18+9
Woodcock 25 18+7
Elliot 20 18+
Nonu 12 11+1
Smith 11 7+4
Whitelock* 10  
Donnelly 10  
Jane 10 7+3
Gear 9 7+2
Hore* 7  
Muliaina 6 3+3
Carter 5 5+0
Williams* 3  
Afoa* 1  
Ellis 1 0+1

Ball carries
Kaino 10
Read 9
McCaw 8
Boric  
Woodcock 6
Donnelly 5
Elliot 5
Franks 4
Whitelock* 2
Afoa* 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 14 (2+12) 2 (2+0)
Read 12 (4+8) 1 (0+1)
Kaino 10 (4+6) 0
Boric 9 (3+6) 2 (0+2)
Whitelock* 7 2
Woodcock 7 (3+4) 2 (2+0)
Smith 6 (3+3) 1 (0+1)
Carter 4 (1+3) 5 (4+1)
Nonu 4 (3+1) 1 (1+0)
Williams* 3 2
Hore* 3 1
Donnelly 3 1
Elliot 3 (2+1) 1 (1+0)
Franks 3 (1+2) 0
Ellis 3 (1+2) 0
Muliaina 3 (2+1) 1 (1+0)
Gear 3 (2+1) 0
Afoa* 2 0
Mathewson* 1 0
Total 102 22

Missed and Slipped Tackles
McCaw 2
Nonu 2
Woodcock 1
Franks 1
Donnelly 1
Read 1
Smith 1
Williams 1
Total 10

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 2 2
Second half 3 5
Total 5 7

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Boric 2 2
Read 1 1
Kaino 0 1
Quick throws 2 2

Ireland Line-outs Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 6 8
Total 10 13

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

Ireland Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 2 2
Second half 4 5
Total 6 7

14 Nov

Game Stats: Scotland v All Blacks, Edinburgh, 13 November 2010
by Tracey Nelson
14 Nov 2010

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums. In this game Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina equalled Sean Fitzpatrick’s record of 92 test appearance for the All Blacks.

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: Tony Woodcock, Hikawera Elliot, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Dan Carter, Hosea Gear, Sonny Bill Williams, Conrad Smith, Isaia Toeava, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Ma’a Nonu.

Substitutions were: Donald for Carter at 51 min, Afoa for Franks at 53 min, Braid for McCaw and Boric for Thorn at 58 min, Ellis for Cowan and Hore for Elliot at 59 min.

Points Scored NZ Scotland
Tries 7 0
Conversions 7 0
Penalties 0/0 1/3
Total 49 3

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 12 1
Scotland 6 3
Total 18 4

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Messam(2), Muliaina, Read, Woodcock 5
Ruck/Breakdown McCaw 2
Scrum Front row, Woodcock(2), Afoa 4
Restart obstruction McCaw 1
Total   12

Scotland’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 2
Ruck 3
Offside 1
Total 6

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 5
Spilled ball 1
Tackle 1
Lineout 2
Scrum 2
Touch in goal from penalty 1
Forced into touch 2
Total 14

NZ Linebreaks
Toeava 3
Gear 2
Carter 1
Smith 1
Donald 1

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
MCaw 27 22+5
Whitelock 27 14+13
Thorn 22 14+8
Woodcock 21 13+8
Messam 19 11+8
Elliot 18 12+6
Williams 18 10+8
Franks 17 11+6
Read 15 5+10
Smith 9 5+4
Boric* 7
Carter 7 4+3
Afoa* 6
Hore* 6
Muliaina 6 5+1
Braid* 5
Toeava 5 0+5
Cowan 3 0+3
Gear 3 0+3
Ellis* 2

Ball carries
Read 13
Messsam 8
Elliot 6
Franks 5
McCaw 4
Braid* 3
Woodcock 2
Afoa* 1
Whitelock 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Read 17 (11+6)  
Smith 16 (10+6) 2 (0+2)
Whitelock 14 (6+8) 6 (4+2)
Williams 11 (6+5) 1 (0+1)
McCaw 10 (8+2) 1 (1+0)
Woodcock 9 (2+7) 2 (1+1)
Messam 8 (4+4) 0
Braid* 7 0
Gear 7 4+3) 0
Franks 6 (5+1) 0
Elliot 5 (4+1) 1 (1+0)
Boric* 4 1
Thorn 4 (2+2) 1 (1+0)
Carter 4 (4+0) 0
Toeava 4 (3+1) 0
Donald* 3 2
Hore* 2 0
Ellis* 2 0
Cowan 2 (1+1) 1 (0+1)
Muliaina 1 (0+1) 0
Total 136 19

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Franks 1
Messam 1
McCaw 1
Carter 1
Williams 1
Toeva 1
Muliaina 1
Donald 1
Total 8

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 3 3
Second half 2 4
Total 5 7

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Messam 1 2
Read 1 1
Thorn 1 1
Boric 1 1
Whitelock 0 1
Unsighted 1 1

Scotland Line-outs Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 3 6
Total 8 11

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 6 6
Second half 5 5
Total 10 12

Scotland Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 2 3
Second half 5 7
Total 7 10

7 Nov

Game Stats: England v All Blacks, London, 6 November 2010
by Tracey Nelson
7 Nov 2010

The usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including 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: Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Alby Mathewson, Dan Carter, Hosea Gear, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Josevata Rokocoko, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Hika Elliot, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Liam Messam, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.

Substitutions were: Ellis for Mathewson at 50 min, Toeava for Rokocoko at 58 min, Boric for Whitelock at 67 min and Afoa for Franks at 76 min.

Points Scored NZ England
Tries 2 1
Conversions 2 1
Penalties 4/5 3/4
Total 26 16

Tries scored directly from set piece
New Zealand 2
England 0

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 15 1
England 9 1
Total 24 2

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Nonu, Woodcock, Williams, Kaino, McCaw 5
Ruck/Breakdown McCaw, Read 2
Maul Kaino + yellow card 1
Offside Nonu 1
Scrum Front row 5
Holding player back Carter 1
Total   15

England’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 4
Ruck 3
Offside 1
High tackle 1
Total 9

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 7
Spilled ball 5
Tackle 2
Ruck 1
Scrum 2
Drop out touch on full 1
Forced into touch 3
Total 21

Turnovers Conceded by Eng
Knock-ons 10
Spilled ball 3
Forward pass 1
Tackle 2
Maul 1
Lineout 3
Total 20

NZ Linebreaks
Muliaina 2
Gear 1
Rokocoko 1
Carter 1
Toeava 1

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Thorn 27 15+12
MCaw 24 14+10
Whitelock 21 14+7
Franks 18 12+6
Kaino 16 11+5
Woodcock 16 10+6
Read 15 11+4
Mealamu 13 8+5
Williams 10 5+5
Nonu 8 4+4
Muliaina 6 3+3
Mathewson 4 3+1
Carter 4 2+2
Ellis* 3
Boric* 2
Rokocoko 2 0+2
Gear 2 0+2

Ball carries
Read  
McCaw 9
Mealamu 7
Woodcock 5
Whitelock 3
Franks 3
Kaino 3
Thorn 2

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 21 (13+8) 1 (0+1)
Read 11 (5+6) 2 (0+2)
Woodcock 10 (4+6) 2 (2+0)
Mealamu 10 (4+6) 0
Nonu 9 (6+3) 1 (1+0)
Carter 9 (3+6) 1 (1+0)
Franks 8 (4+4) 0
Williams 8 (4+4) 0
Whitelock 7 (6+1) 2 (2+0)
Thorn 7 (4+3) 0
Toeava* 5 0
Gear 5 (1+4) 0
Ellis* 4 0
Kaino 4 (4+0) 0
Rokocoko 3 (1+2) 1 (0+1)
Mathewson 3 (3+0) 0
Muliaina 3 (2+1) 0
Boric* 2 1
Afoa* 1 0
Total 130 11

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Nonu 4
Thorn 3
Carter 3
Franks 2
Williams 2
Muliaina 2
Woodcock 1
McCaw 1
Rokocoko 1
Gear 1
Ellis* 1
Total 21

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 8 8
Second half 3 3
Total 11 11

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Whitelock 3 3
Read 3 3
Thorn 1 1
Kaino 1 1
Quick throw 3 3

England Line-outs Won From
First half 6 8
Second half 7 8
Total 13 16

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 6 7
Total 10 12

England Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 1 1
Second half 4 4
Total 5 5

31 Oct

Game Stats: All Blacks v Wallabies, Hong Kong, 30 October 2010
by Tracey Nelson
31 Oct 2010

RedCardThe usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums. This test loss to Australia has ended the All Blacks’ 15 match winning streak, and also ends their hunt for the world record of 18 consecutive test wins (bizarrely held by Lithuania).

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: Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Tom Donnelly, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Josevata Rokocoko, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Hika Elliot, John Afoa, Sam Whitelock, Daniel Braid, Alby Mathewson, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.

Substitutions were: Toeava for Jane at 51 min, Afoa for Franks and Donald for Carter at 60 min, Whitelock for Donnelly at 67 min, and Mathewson for Cowan at 72 minutes.

Points Scored NZ Australia
Tries 3 4
Conversions 3 3
Penalties 1/4 0/4
Total 24 26

Tries scored directly from set piece
New Zealand 0
Australia 2

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 13 2
Australia 7 1
Total 20 3

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Kaino(2), Thorn, McCaw/Mealamu, Mathewson 5
Ruck Nonu(2), Thorn, McCaw, Rokocoko, Muliaina 6
Offside Thorn 1
Scrum Woodcock 1
Total 13

Australia’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 2
Ruck 1
Lineout 1
Scrum 3
Total 8

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 6
Forward pass 3
Spilled ball 4
Lineout 3
Scrum 2
Ruck 4
In the tackle 2
Total 24

Turnovers Conceded by Aus
Knock-ons 6
Spilled ball 1
Pass to opposition 1
Touch in goal 2
Lineout 2
Scrum 4
Ruck 2
In the tackle 1
Total 19

NZ Linebreaks
Nonu 3
Smith 2
Read 1
McCaw 1
Whitelock 1

Aus Linebreaks
Beale 3
Ashely-Cooper 1
Mitchell 1
Barnes 1
Cooper 1

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
MCaw 28 13+15
Thorn 22 7+15
Woocock 19 6+13
Read 16 10+6
Smith 14 5+9
Donnelly 13 4+9
Muliaina 11 5+6
Mealamu 11 2+9
Kaino 11 2+9
Franks 8 5+3
Jane 7 4+3
Rokocoko 5 3+2
Carter 4 2+2
Nonu 4 3+1
Afoa* 3
Whitelock* 3
Cowan 3 2+1
Toeave* 2

Ball carries
Read 12
Mealamu 8
Kaino 8
Thorn 6
McCaw 5
Woodcock 3
Franks 2
Afoa* 1
Whitelock* 1
Donnelly 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 14 (3+11) 5 (3+2)
Read 14 (4+10) 1 (1+0)
Thorn 10 (6+4) 4 (3+1)
Mealamu 10 (3+7) 2 (2+0)
Smith 10 (2+8) 1 (1+0)
Kaino 8 (4+4) 2 (0+2)
Nonu 7 (3+4) 2 (1+1)
Woodcock 7 (4+3) 1 (1+0)
Muliaina 5 (2+3) 1 (0+1)
Franks 4 (2+2) 1 (1+0)
Jane 4 n(2+2) 0
Cowan 4 (2+2) 1 (1+0)
Rokocoko 4 (3+1) 0
Whitelock* 3 1
Afoa* 3 0
Donnelly 3 (0+3) 1 (1+0)
Carter 3 (1+2) 1 (0+1)
Toeava* 2 0
Donald 1 1
Mathewson 1 0
Total 118 26

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Thorn 5
Kaino 4
Muliaina 3
Woockock 2
Carter 2
Nonu 2
Toeava* 2
Mathewson* 1
Donald* 1
Donnelly 1
McCaw 1
Read 1
Smith 1
Rokocoko 1
Total 27

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 1 4
Second half 7 7
Total 8 11

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Donnelly 3 5
Read 2 3
Thorn 1 1
Kaino 1 1
Quick throw 1 1

Australia Line-outs Won From
First half 3 3
Second half 1 3
Total 4 6

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 2 3
Total 6 8

 

31 Oct

Duck Soup
by Paul Waite
31 Oct 2010

marxbrosThe basic story of the test reads: Rusty All Blacks concede 12 points, then right the boat, run in some tries and go in 17-12 at half-time. In the second half they get on top with the Aussies whipped and stuffed into a bag, but then Henry subs Stephen Donald (aka The Duck) for Dan Carter and he single-handedly loses a 12 point lead, and the game.

Let’s not beat about the bush, there was a lot wrong with this All Black performance apart from the end-game debacle brought about by the substitutions. In 2007 Graham Henry’s ideas about resting players from rugby back-fired on him big-time when they turned up to the World Cup way off the pace. It seems that nothing has been learned, and resting players after the recent Tri-Nations garnered us a similar result, if less important in the scheme of things.

The All Blacks took the field looking more or less the same as they did at the start of the season’s international campaign, playing in a loose disjointed fashion. All the usual culprits were there in their game, players getting isolated going to ground too fast providing easy pickings for the likes of Pocock, fumbled passes, poor passing in general, shonky lineout and so forth.

This reaped the reward of a 12-0 deficit in the first quarter, before they finally managed to get their systems firing on all eight cylinders again, and replied with a creditable 17 unanswered points to go in 17-12 at half-time. After the restart, the team started really putting it together. The forwards were doing some excellent work, especially Kaino and Read, aided by the ever-present McCaw. At scrum time the Aussies were also in disarray, the looks on their front row priceless as the referee was forced to penalise them several times. In the backs Dan Carter had the team humming and probing for gaps.

In this phase of the test the Aussies were a whipped force. The television cameras showed pained, beaten faces. Then, with twenty minutes or so to go Henry made some key replacements which were to lose us the test, just like that.

On came Toeava for an injured Cory Jane on came Stephen Donald for Dan Carter. John Afoa also came on in the front row. On the plus side Whitelock’s replacement of an out-of-sorts Donnelly at lock was a win.

Right away the subs had an effect, but overall it wasn’t the one Henry was looking for. From a scrum Genia spun the ball wide with a miss-out pass and Toeava, who was standing well out of position too far in-field was suddenly out-flanked. Turning he slipped, and a track the width of two bus lanes opened up down the Aussie left wing. Goodnight nurse. The seven-pointer brought the Wallabies within 5 points. A resurgent Australian outfit was sniffing a change in the wind.

They didn’t have to sniff very hard to catch that scent. The All Blacks were full of fight on defence, but there was one piece of the machinery which was misfiring. A foray up-field from some hard forward driving resulted in an Australian penalty infringment. A kickable penalty to take the points-margin to eight.

Now, many of us on these Aotearoan shores have despised the selection of Stephen Donald for this tour, ahead of up-and-coming Canterbury first-five Colin Slade. More on the whys and wherefors of that later, but one point his supporters were certain of was his goal-kicking. He might run an appallingly stilted backline, he might opt to do badly-executed grubbers and chip-kicks at inappropriate moments, but at least he can nail the goals.

Well he couldn’t even do that. A nice, kickable penalty which would have relieved the pressure and more or less assured the win was missed. Still a 5-point margin.

Fired up by their good fortune the Aussies fetched the sink from their changing shed and hurled it at the All Black lines. The men in black toiled on defence. We were treated to more bad signs from Donald however. Let’s dwell on one of these, because it is instructive to study his methods. The All Blacks were defending in their 22m and got possession of the ball. With the Aussies all packed between the half-way and the 22m Donald looked up and had a decision to make.

Now, as an aspiring All Black test player what would you have done? Would you have hoofed it out into touch perhaps? Or maybe you would have gone to your support and taken it up into contact, to retain possession? Either of those options would have been sane. What did Donald do? Well, all things considered, he thought it would be best to stab a grubber out from the 22m so that the Australians could just pick it up and bring it right back at us. Unbelievable, but more was to come.

A similar situation arose a few minutes later. This time, presumably learning from his last mistake, Donald decided to hoof the ball. Only he kicked it right to a man wearing yellow who didn’t even have to move to catch it just inside his half and run it right back.

But these were just minor points. Indicators of something badly wrong. This all came to a head in the pivotal moment of the test. Once again the All Blacks were encamped on defence in their own 22m, right where Donald seemed to want them, and the Australians were slavering like a pack of rabid Dobermans trying to get the ball over the line. Heroic defence drove them back, and the pressure forced a turnover. It was the 79th minute, possession had been regained at a critical moment, and the ball was in Donald’s hands.

All he needed to do was hoof it into the stands out beyond the 22m.

But Donald’s brain seems to work on a frequency different from the rest of us. It’s the same band as Radio BOZO, which I’ve heard, plays nothing but static.

Instead of kicking a safe touch he kicked it upfield straight to an Australian who, surprise surprise, ran it back in what was the final wave of attacks which unsurprisingly brought a try which O’Connor converted for a two point victory.

Why all the Donald-bashing? The reason is simple – he shouldn’t be in the squad.

When Dan Carter was out last season recovering from his achilles rupture, we went through this process of trying Stephen Donald as All Black first-five replacement. He showed then that although he’s not a bad player at Super Rugby level, and might look godly to some at Provincial level, he has neither the skillset nor temperament for test rugby. He simply can’t think and execute in the timeframes that test rugby demands. I thought we’d asked those questions, and got the answers already.

But instead, as with poor lumbering Sione Lauaki who also kept being selected despite numerous games showing he simply wasn’t a test player, we are stuck with The Duck for a whole Grand Slam Tour.

To add insult to injury the lad who should be touring, Colin Slade, who came on for Aaron Cruden and did the business under severe pressure in the recent Bledisloe Cup winning test match and showed that maybe he does have what it takes to play test rugby, is languishing back at home playing in a Provincial competition.

What a waste. Slade is missing out on a key development tour which may have seen him rise to be the obvious backup for Dan Carter for 2011.

With Sitiveni Sivivatu out with injury there is a spare squad place. If Henry had any sense he would be giving Slade the call right now, swallowing his pride and admitting he and his other selectors got it wrong. With Cory Jane under an injury cloud he can even justify Slade’s call-up on utility value as he covers full-back and wing.

I’d rather watch a Marx Brothers movie than watch Stephen Donald trying to play test rugby again for the All Blacks. At least I’d be able to laugh at a parade of stupidity and ineptitude and feel good about it.

New Zealand 24 (Jimmy Cowan, Cory Jane, Ma’a Nonu tries; Dan Carter 3 cons, 1 pen)

Australia 26 (Quade Cooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, James O’Connor tries; Matt Giteau con; O’Connor 1 con)

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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18 Oct

Over-cautious, or over Cruden?
by Tracey Nelson
18 Oct 2010

Have the All Black coaches just wasted a precious four months and nine test matches in re-selecting Stephen Donald ahead of Aaron Cruden, and to a lesser extent Colin Slade? Or is it a case of pre-World Cup jitters?

The All Black touring squad for the Hong Kong Bledisloe test and tour of the UK was announced yesterday, and despite having spent most of 2010 experimenting with new talent at 1st 5 to back up Dan Carter, the All Black coaches appear to have succumbed to nerves and have gone back to the previously discarded Stephen Donald. Having taken a punt at the start of the year in selecting Aaron Cruden, they then proceded to have him ride the pine for the majority of the June-September test matches – giving him one sole start in the dead rubber against the Wallabies in Sydney last month.

Having had limited chances in the Super 14 for the Hurricanes Cruden yet showed enough on-field skill – and more importantly the on-field communication skills – that prompted the All Black coaches to name him in their first squad of the year. The hope was that under the guidance of Wayne Smith and Dan Carter, Cruden would be able to build on his game and gain valuable skills in the All Black environment. But with only 1 start and just 60 minutes played, and a total of 61 minutes off the bench in the other 8 test matches, there were limited chances to gain any significant experience. Playing 121 minutes of rugby over two months is never going to provide form either.

Cruden’s opportunities at All Black level were also partly thwarted by Piri Weepu being first choice back-up goal kicker to Carter this year. You can’t help but feel Cruden’s chances to go on the end of year tour were dealt a death blow by the horrific ankle dislocation and break suffered by Weepu in Wellington’s ITM Cup game against Taranaki on Saturday night.

Suddenly the coaches were faced with their second choice goal kicker being out of all rugby for 6 months, and the additional worry that Dan Carter would not be fit to play the Bledisloe test match in Hong Kong after undergoing ankle surgery in September. With Cruden’s goal kicking stats only sitting around the 70% mark and his lack of starts this year, the need for a proven reliable goal kicker became paramount. Despite having selected Colin Slade as 1st 5 cover for Cruden in Sydney, and he certainly performed in the 20 minutes he had on the field, nerves have obviously won the day and Stephen Donald has been re-called.

There is no doubt Donald has been playing well for Waikato in his come-back from a lengthy injury break, but he has been tried before at All Black level and wasn’t considered the answer. Yes he is a good goal kicker (excluding the one appalling S14 game he had this year), but as we look to the Rugby World Cup next year is he going to be the back-up to Carter? The question that needs to be asked is, if the unthinkable happened and Carter suffered a serious injury that put him out of the World Cup, just who would we want running our backline?

There seems to be a little too much juggling with the options at the moment, and basing current form on the ITM Cup is not really a good measure of how players will perform at international level. Should Donald fail on this end of year tour, we are left with the Super 15 campaign to decide who will be Carter’s back up for the World Cup. The coaches said they toyed with taking three 1st 5s but decided against it as with only 5 tests it would mean one player would not get much game time. Perhaps thinking outside the square and playing Carter off the bench to allow his understudies some desperately required game time may have been an option.

The full squad for the end of year tour is:

Backs: Daniel Carter (Canterbury), Jimmy Cowan (Southland), Stephen Donald (Waikato), Andy Ellis (Canterbury), Hosea Gear (Wellington), Cory Jane (Wellington), Alby Mathewson (Wellington), Mils Muliaina (Waikato), Ma’a Nonu (Wellington), Joe Rokocoko (Auckland), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Conrad Smith (Wellington), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury).

Forwards: John Afoa (Auckland), Anthony Boric (North Harbour), Daniel Braid (Auckland), Tom Donnelly (Auckland), Hikawera Elliott (Hawke’s Bay), Ben Franks (Tasman), Owen Franks (Canterbury), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Jerome Kaino (Auckland), Richie McCaw (Canterbury, captain), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Liam Messam (Waikato), Kieran Read (Canterbury), Brad Thorn (Canterbury), Sam Whitelock (Canterbury), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour).

14 Sep

Game Stats: Wallabies v All Blacks, Sydney, 11 September 2010
by Tracey Nelson
14 Sep 2010

A bit late this week sorry, due to a combination of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake and being in Wellington for meetings. The usual analysis of the All Blacks game,including First 3 to the Breakdown, ball carries, tackle stats, penalties conceded, turnovers, the lineouts, and scrums. Richie McCaw captained the All Blacks for the 52nd time in Tests, which moves him past Sean Fitzpatrick as the most capped test skipper in All Blacks history.

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: Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Tom Donnelly, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina.
Reserves: Cory Flynn, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Jerome Kaino, Jimmy Cowan, Colin Slade, Rene Ranger.

Substitutions were: Flynn for Mealamu at 11min, Kaino for Vito at 49 min, Afoa for Franks, Boric for Donnelly and Slade for Cruden at 60 min, Ranger for Jane at 68 min, and Cowan for Weepu at 77 min.

Points Scored NZ Aus
Tries 2 2
Conversions 2 0
Penalties 3/3 4/6
Total 23 22

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 10 0
Aus 10 1
Total 20 1

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Nonu, Flynn 2
Ruck Weepu, McCaw(3), Flynn}5
Offside Mealamu, Flynn 2
Lineout offside McCaw 1
Total   10

Australia’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 4
Ruck 4
Offside 1
Scrum 1
Total 10

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 8
Forward pass 1
In the tackle 3
Ruck 2
Miss touch from penalty 1
Total 15

Linebreaks
Muliaina 1
Vito 1
Dagg 1
Smith 2

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
McCaw 40 24+16
Thorn 26 13+13
Woodcock 25 14+11
Franks 19 15+4
Flynn* 19 9+10
Read 17 9+8
Vito 14 11+2
Kaino* 12  
Smith 12 6+6
Afoa* 7  
Boric* 7  
Donnelly 7 6+1
Slade* 6  
Cruden 6 4+2
Weepu 6 4+2
Nonu 6 4+2
Muliaina 6 5+1
Dagg 5 2+3
Mealamu 4  
Jane 4 1+3
Ranger* 1  

Ball carries
Read 12
Vito 7
McCaw 7
Flynn* 5
Franks 5
Mealamu 4
Kaino* 3
Thorn 3
Donnelly 2
Woodcock 1
Boric* 1
Afoa* 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Nonu 12 (6+6) 3 (3+0)
Smith 12 (6+6) 0
Franks 11 (6+5) 0
Cruden 8 (2+6) 0
Read 8 (4+4) 0
Flynn* 7 (2+5) 3 (1+2)
McCaw 7 (3+4) 6 (3+3)
Vito 6 (4+2) 1 (1+0)
Donnelly 6 (5+1) 1 (1+0)
Woodcock 6 (2+4) 1 (1+0)
Slade* 4  
Weepu 4 (3+1) 0
Kaino* 3 0
Dagg 2 (1+1) 1 (1+0)
Thorn 2 (2+0) 3 (1+2)
Muliaina 2 (1+1) 0
Mealamu 1 0
Afoa* 1 0
Boric* 1 0
Jane 0 2 (1+1)
Total 103 21

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Smith 4
Read 4
McCaw 2
Nonu 2
Jane 2
Muliaina 2
Woodcock 1
Franks 1
Thorn 1
Donnelly 1
Vito 1
Flynn* 1
Total 22

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 7 10
Total 11 15

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Boric 3 3
Thorn 2 3
Donnelly 3 3
Read 1 3
Quick throws 2 2
Unknown (no camera view) 1 1

Ausland Line-outs Won From
First half 2 3
Second half 3 3
Total 5 6

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 1 1
Second half 3 3
Total 4 4

Australian Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 4 5
Second half 2 3
Total 6 8

12 Sep

IRB Control Freaks
by Paul Waite
12 Sep 2010

hakabuckThe IRB, bless them, are doing what they do best – coming up with stupid laws which detract from the game, and enforcing them.

This recent stuff.co.nz article is another example of the control-freakism that the IRB holds dear.

Apparently one or more of the gin-swilling denizens of the International Rugby Board have decided that ‘confrontations of the haka’ are a bad thing for the sport.

What gave them that idea? Historically there have only been a few times that teams have actively stood up to the All Blacks doing the haka, and each time it has excited the fans on both sides, and added to the mystique and legend of rugby. Ask Maori whether it’s appropriate to stand up and respond and they will tell you that it absolutely is.

At no time has anyone ever been harmed, or has there ever been a hint of violence in any of these confrontations. They are part and parcel of laying down the gauntlet, two prize-fighters staring each other out promising much for what’s to come, and that’s it.

Here are some YouTube links for some previous haka confrontations or responses:

History shows that the IRB have absolutely no grounds for this nonsense. Trying to ‘tone it down’ is just another way of taking more of the game away from the fans. At Rugby World Cups, which should be a celebration of the game, we already have to suffer the iron fist approach to anything which might remotely be seen as an attempt to ‘steal’ monies away from IRB coffers.

So an event in the country or countries unlucky enough to be chosen to host the thing is run like a prison, where everything is “don’t do that..”, “you can’t do this..”. The IRB ought to wake up to the fact that by relinquishing control a bit more, and letting people and businesses in the country key in to the event the Rugby World Cup would be a bigger thing, and much more vibrant. Sure they wouldn’t control everything, but contrary to what they currently think, they wouldn’t make any less money either, and in fact would stand to make more.

With this latest Haka nonsense, apparently the Australian girls at the recent women’s Rugby World Cup in England had the temerity to confront the Black Ferns doing their Haka, and were fined as a result. Turns out the Aussies hadn’t read the fine print in their RWC contract. God’s above, you need a fucking lawyer to play rugby in a competition these days!

So get off the grass IRB, and TRY to connect with the fans of the sport you are meant to be running. Rugby is confrontational at its very essence, and fans and players alike want to feel that they have an ownership of the game they play.

Stop control-freaking us all to death already!

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

Haka editor-in-chief. Please do not feed.

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12 Sep

The Winning Habit
by Paul Waite
12 Sep 2010

The first opponent that the All Blacks had to subdue was themselves, and their own worst enemy put up a great fight for 55 minutes whilst the Wallabies ran rampant. Once that was out of the way we had 25 minutes of both teams playing rugby, and the All Blacks once again emerged the winners.

This defeat must be the most gutting of all the losses the Wallabies have suffered at All Black hands this season. To give credit where credit is due they played some great rugby for those 55 minutes. As hungry as sharks, and as quick and mean as rattlesnakes, they swarmed across the field knocking All Black attacks back, and fizzing at running their own ball.

It was evident right at the outset that the Wallabies were out for blood, and were slavering to taste victory in this one.

The All Blacks by contrast looked out of sorts. They went through the motions we have already seen this season but it lacked cohesion and focus. Perhaps it was the distraction for many of them of having family and friends involved in the Christchurch earthquake, the amount of time since the previous test (3 weeks), or maybe it was just the fact that the Tri-Nations was already won; we can only speculate. Often these things work in the sub-conscious and even the players themselves don’t know.

Other factors added to the negative mix. You can’t take the likes of Dan Carter, arguably the best No. 10 in the World, out of a team and replace him with a young rookie in the form of the diminutive Aaron Cruden and expect the team will run the same. Cruden will put this test in the experience bank, but probably won’t take much pride in it. He looked pretty much as if he was floundering in the deep end of the pool, and couldn’t impose any kind of structure or pattern to the All Blacks play. Given he also had trouble with restarts, and doesn’t do the place-kicking, it wasn’t a surprise that the team looked to be on a firmer footing once Colin Slade came on. Slade is arguably less intuative and gifted at running the ball than Cruden, but the team looked the better for his more orthodox hand on the rudder.

Victor Vito, playing at number 6 also had a mixed bag of a game. He didn’t combine that well with McCaw and Read, and acted more like Rodney So’oialo did, as an individual unit. Great at running with the ball, but lacking in all other departments. He also directly cost the team a try with a mistake on defence from a scrum in the first half, leaving a lane the Wallabies could have driven a bus down to the try-line. Once Kaino came on and the All Blacks had their first-choice trio back in action we saw some awesome driving which resulted in tries, and ultimately the winning of the test.

The final problem was that the All Blacks lost Mealamu to a blown calf very early on which took away the ball-carrying options he brings to the game.

With all of the above, plus the out-of-sorts mindset we saw the All Blacks largely fumbling around for the first half, watching the Wallabies playing all the rugby. It was incredible that the scoreline was only 14-6 when they went in for a half-time rub-down, largely attributable to the execrable goal-kicking of Matt Giteau (thanks Matt).

All Black fans would have hoped that a half-time rev-up might have made a difference, but not a bit of it. Basically it remained the same for 15 minutes until the substitution of Cruden and Vito which changed the complexion of the All Blacks play markedly. With Slade providing a steadying influence from hand and boot, the team looked a lot more balanced, but it was Kaino who made the biggest difference and together the pack and loose-forwards gave the All Blacks the forward momentum they had been lacking.

One other factor may also have been a tiring Wallaby forward pack, due to their recent travel back from South Africa because in the final 25 minutes despite numerous fresh legs being substituted, the gaps started to open. The All Blacks won the second half 17-3 and scored 14 points in the last 20 minutes to crush the Wallaby heart, stamp on it, and grind the heel.

The loss must be a gut-wrencher of immense proportions to Deans’ men. Looking back on it, to a man they were slavering for the taste of victory over the All Blacks in this one, and the commitment levels were red-lined. They threw the kichen sink at it, and came away losing and that must hurt. But defeat usually makes teams grow stronger, and the Wallabies are now well positioned for next season’s lead-up to the Rugby World Cup.

For the All Blacks the hunt is still on for a Dan Carter replacement and back-up. Cruden seems to be very raw, and the more orthodox Colin Slade looked to be a better fit. Perhaps some thought will be given to starting Slade with Cruden on the bench for the next few tests. Aside from the learning curve Cruden is embarked on for running a test match, his presence currently dictates that the All Black halfback is Piri Weepu, for place-kicking duty. Having to play Weepu is an obvious selection problem, as Jimmy Cowan does offer the team more when he is on form.

This test marks the end of the Tri-Nations. The next test is the money-making junket against the Wallabies in Hong Kong (assuming ticket sales pick up) and after that the End Of Year Grand Slam Tour to the UK.

A final note. Contrary to the tongue-in-cheek title of this article, winning is not, and never has been, a "habit". Wins have to be grafted for, and the All Blacks grafted for this one. Well done to them and the coaching team for winning the Tri-Nations so emphatically.

New Zealand 23 (Kieran Read, Richie McCaw tries; Piri Weepu 3 pen, 2 con)

Australia 22 (Adam Ashley-Cooper, James O’Connor tries; Matt Giteau 3 pen, Kurtley Beale pen)

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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