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

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

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