7 Sep

Getting there..
by Zand Moloney
7 Sep 2004

Another good, but certainly not great performance by Wellington and one that suggests that they can win the important ones. After that dreadful start I was thinking ‘Here we go again..” but thankfully that new character came throught again.
The forwards dominated in the loose and the tight and despite two very soft tries to Bates and Kelleher a half time score of 17-13 must have looked pretty good to Wellington.
The second half was a revelation, the loose trio snaffling huge amounts of loose ball, Rodney So’oailo playing like a number 7. The pick and go worked well, and with the centre combination of Nonu and Smith again to the fore Wellington were rampant in the second half.
Problems? Well, although he didn’t play badly Riki Flutey is not the sort of player we need at first five eighth, his positional and tatical kicking is no existant but he does have a good running game. Sad to say I think he will be a perennial bench player, he is great to have coming off the bench as he covers first five and halfback well but is not specialised enough to start in either position. In my humble opinion Jimmy Gopperth is the man to take over from Holwell when he goes to Leinster with Flutey the perfect backup.
Other than that Wellington really just need to get it together in one game, that hasn’t happened yet, but they are still second on the table, it’s nice to think they still have more left in the tank for the end of the season.
I must also add, putting on my Hurricanes hat, how happy I am with the play of Taranaki. Not only is the forward pack doing the business, but they seemed to have unearthed some very talented backs. Someone should sign up Brock James and Shayne Austin needs to be brought into the ‘Canes for next year. Hopefully the Hurricanes will have two franchise members in the Semi’s!
As for this week, well it is the game I always dread, Wellington always struggle against Auckland, especially when they are playing badly. C’mon boys show a bit of character and composure and we should be alright..

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