16 Jul

How Easy Is This
by WAJ
16 Jul 2007

Hawkes Bay’s Clint Newland gets 10 weeks I see, entirely appropriate that he doesn’t play again
this year I reckon.

And what about the crap flying around in the Aussie media of late. On one side we have Greg Growden reporting on all sorts of issues amongst the Wallabies coaching and support staff, and on the other Wayne Smith in The Australian saying there is no disharmony at all, just a bit of
robust discussion from time to time. All has gone quiet now, the Wobblies are in a 5 day survival camp (strange timing I would have thought 4 weeks out from the WC), but quite bizarre that 2 journo’s should square off in this manner. Who knows what to believe – can’t be helping though:-)

And I see Williams and Robinson, amongst others, sat out yesterdays practice game. Great, Williams plays 2 games and he gets injured. With Robinson injured again I wonder if Henry is wishing he had Flavell in his 30?

And don’t expect to see the selectors much this weekend – they will be
off scouting Romania v Neath and Portugal v Canada XV – wouldn’t want
any WC surprises!

So to round 3.

Bay of Plenty v Northland – Northland have been going very well so far
this season, perhaps, with Hawkes Bay, the surprise packet. Bay continue
to struggle with a lot of new faces, the loss of experience a telling
factor. Holwell in and Castle out swings it to Northland for me, but not
much in it.
Northland 1 – 12

Counties Manukau v North Harbour – CM will battle all season, no depth,
lack class in the inside backs, and Masaga and Ormsby can do little to
stem the tide. I think Harbour will cut loose this week after 2 tight
games. Either way it is an indicator of where Harbour are heading this
season, an unimpressive showing here will not augur well for the big
guns they have yet to face.
Harbour 13+

Tasman v Hawkes Bay – This game is a bit dependent on whether Jack is
playing. Both sides have had good starts, especially HB and more than
anything this will give them confidence. But the opposition will be
primed for them now. I think these 2 teams are pretty evenly matched,
Jack (in his final game for Tasman – so that makes it what 5 or 6 – a
great buy in the end) would definitely swing it, and on the basis he is
playing am going Tasman in a tight one.
Tasman 1 – 12.

Wellington v Manawatu – A thrashing. Nothing more or less will surfice
in Tana’s last game in NZ. Wellington need to start putting consistent
form on the board. Manawatu have nothing.
Wellington 13+

Auckland v Waikato – now we’re talking. Finally a game to attract some
interest. You would hope a crowd turns up for this, and I mean 25k plus,
or what does that say about the ANZC. We have two pretty evenly matched
sets of forward packs, the battle between the loosies should be a beaut.
Auckland look to be stronger in the backs, and this will be a good test
for some of the emerging players in the Waikato backline. The key will
be Waikato’s ability, or not, to shut down the free flowing Auckland
game and if Donald can dominate and Lauaki run a bit they could well
win. A better performance by Auckland last week though, and with the
addition of Braid to the starting lineup, and big Troyser off the bench,
means they will send Howlett off to the WC with a good win.
Auckland 13+

Otago v Canterbury – It wouldn’t surprise me if Canterbury rested some
players for the harder games to come in this match. Even at Carisbrook
Otago will struggle to be in this at halftime and will continue the
downward spiral, down, down, down……
Canterbury 13+

Taranaki v Southland – a top game for Sunday afternoon viewing, bound to
pull in spectators from all over the place. Sky must cringe when this
sort of game pops up on a Sunday. Southland have been a real
disappointment so far, a better performance last week against Waikato,
but still 0 for 2. Taranaki really took it to Harbour, and that form
should see them home but not by much
Taranaki 1 – 12

Regards Waj

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