15 Nov

Scotland v All Blacks, Edinburgh
by Tracey Nelson
15 Nov 2014

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

Some notes on these stats:

First Three to the Breakdown stats are looking for those players who are getting to the tackle/breakdown quickly and are also being useful by either cleaning out opposition players or setting up ruck ball. Anyone arriving and just leaning on the ruck isn’t included, so there are times when I will only tally one or two players. Likewise, if four players arrive simultaneously and perform a clean-out and setting up of a ruck, I will include all four in the stat.

Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. as the Laws of the Game actually described the tackler), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately.

Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball runner gets away. Most importantly, I do NOT included slipped tackles in the Tackles Made stats, it gets noted as a missed tackle. Either you’ve made the tackle or you’ve missed it.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each TOTAL. An asterisk denotes a player that came on as a substitute. This week:

Team: Joe Moody, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Sam Cane, Richie McCaw (c) Victor Vito,TJ Perenara, Dan Carter, Charles Piutau, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Colin Slade, Ben Smith
Reserves: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Liam Messam, Augustine Pulu, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea

Points Scored NZ Scotland
Tries 2 1
Conversions 1 1
Penalties 4/5 3/4
TOTAL 24 16

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 7 0
Scotland 9 1
TOTAL 16 1

Goal Kicking Penalties Conversions
Carter 3/4 0/1
Slade* 1/1 1/1
Laidlaw (Scot) 3/4 1/1

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackled player Cane 1
Ruck off feet Cane, Crockett* 2
Ruck entry Thrush 1
Offside Fekitoa, Crockett* 2
Scrum Faumuina 1
TOTAL   7

Scotland Penalty Offences
Tackled player 2
Offside 5
Scrum 2
TOTAL 9

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons Bird(3), Parsons, Carter, Vito, McCaw, Perenara, B Smith 9
Pass to opposition McCaw 1
Forward pass Romano* 1
Tackle Savea, B Smith, Cane 3
Ruck   2
Maul   1
Lineout   4
TOTAL   20

Turnovers Conceded by Scotland
Knock-ons 6
Spilled ball 3
Forward pass 1
Pass to opposition 1
Tackle 4
Ruck 1
Maul 2
Scrum 3
TOTAL 21

Breakdown turnovers won by NZ
Tackle Carter, McCaw, Parsons, Cane 4
TOTAL   4

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Cane 42 19+23
McCaw 31 13+18
Thrush 22 11+11
Moody 17 10+7
Crotty 17 6+11
Faumuina 15 12+3
Fekitoa 15 11+4
Parsons 12 10+2
Romano* 11  
Bird 11 8+3
Piutau 10 5+5
Crockett* 10  
B Franks* 9  
Coles* 8  
Slade 7 4+3
B Smith 7 5+2
Vito 6  
Carter 6 6+0
Perenara 5 1+4
Messam* 4  
Williams 3  

Forward ball carries Number of carries
Bird 11
MCaw 10
Thrush 7
Cane 7
Faumuina 7
Parsons 5
Coles* 3
Messam* 3
Moody 3
Crockett* 2
Vito 2
Romano* 1
B Franks* 1
TOTAL 62

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Thrush 9 (2+7) 3 (0+3)
McCaw 9 (4+5) 2 (1+1)
Messam* 7 (1+6) 1 (0+1)
Romano* 6 1
Cane 6 (3+3) 1 (0+1)
Coles* 6 0
Bird 6 (5+1) 0
Crockett* 6 0
Moody 6 (5+1) 0
Williams* 5 2
Faumuina 5 (4+1) 0
Carter 5 (3+2) 0
B Franks* 4 1
Perenara 4 (2+2) 0
Vito 4 0
Slade 4 (1+3) 0
Savea* 3 0
Fekitoa 3 (1+2) 0
Crotty 2 (2+0) 1 (1+0)
B Smith 2 (2+0) 0
Pulu* 1 0
Piutau 1 (0+1) 0
TOTAL 98 12

Missed and Slipped Tackles
McCaw 2
Moody 1
Parsons 1
Faumuina 1
Crotty 1
Fekitoa 1
Coles* 1
Romano* 1
Williams* 1
TOTAL 10

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 5 8
Second half 4 5
TOTAL 9 13

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Messam 4 4
Thrush 1 2
Vito 1 2
McCaw 1 3
Quick throw 1 1
No footage 0 1

Scotland Line-outs Won From
First half 4 4
Second half 3 3
TOTAL 7 7

NZ Scrums Won From
First half 2 2
Second half 5 5
TOTAL 7 7

Scotland Scrums Won From
First half 1 4
Second half 2 3
TOTAL 3 7

7 Jun

Super 15 — Round 17 Preview
by WAJ
7 Jun 2013

Probably not a lot of interest on the NZ side of the ditch in this round, but the Mighty Rebels are up tonight so here we go with round 17. A bit bizarre though that after this weekend the Aus sides will have played two more rounds than anyone else? But then the structure of this season is even more bizarre than ever – wonder what it will look like in Rugby World Cup year?

Brumbies v Rebels – Both teams have a lot of changes, unfortunately for theMR notall arebecause ofthe Wallaby training camp, with Saffy andGomer also injured. So who is the worst affected by the absences? Probably straight down the middle. The Brumbies havesome quality replacements with the likes of McCabe, Rathbone and Palmer all Wallabies. This depth may be a bit much for a very inexperienced Rebels line up. The halves especially are a total contrast. Can the improving Rebels get up here – playing lists, location and momentum are all against them. Not feeling the love for the Rebels here!
Brumbies 13+

Force v Waratahs – So the Waratahs havelost all eight of their starting pack and 4 backs on top of that! That contrasts to two Force players absent on Wallabies dutiesplus about half their first choice team backing up after the farce against the Lion s on Wednesday. Did anyone see that game BTW. Totally new and raw Force back fivemeant the Lions backs and loosies were always going to have a field day. So I reckon the Waratahs will brave, but inexperience and lack of combinations will mean they battle against a much more settled side who have caused more than a problem or two against the Waratahs in the past.
Force 1 – 12

Reds v Lions – The Reds are fielding their strongest available team, and it is more than capable of providing a few concerns for the Lions. Genia will of course be hugely missed, but they have a couple of experienced campaigners at lock to replace Horwill and Simmons, and 12 other Wallabies in the 23 hints at a team that will push the Lions all the way. A blinder might also see a Wallaby call up.The Lions have named a bit of a mix and match outfit. The loosies look strong with an all Welsh combo, but a T5 blend from Wales, England and Scotland could be problematical as was shown at lineout time midweek. The Reds will be targeting Farrell as he can blow up and thus reduce his effectiveness, and I fancy will try and get amongst the Lions in general and disrupt them – the likes of Robinson to to cause the odd distraction perhaps! Should be a great spectacle.
Lions 1- 12

All Blacks v France – how could you ever preview a game with France as one of the sides – you do not know what you are going to get. The All Blacks will be all about set piece accuracy, renewing combinations and hoping some players find form blah blah blah. So this game is probably more about where the French are. They look to have a strong pack and there will be little given at set piece time by either side. And the French are blessed with some genius in the backs with Fofana especially a player of rare talent. But they have an inexperienced halves pairing and the AB’s will look to get amongst these two. I wish Smith was at fullback and we had another gas man on the wing, as Smith is everything a fullback should be but lacks the extra yard of pace to be truly effective as a winger. A comfortable win for the All Blacks.
AB’s 13+

Regards Waj

13 Nov

Game Stats: Scotland v All Blacks, Murrayfield, 11 November 2012
by Tracey Nelson
13 Nov 2012

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. Some notes on these stats follow throughout the article.

Numbers in brackets are the first half/second half breakdown for each TOTAL. An asterisk denotes a player that came on as a substitute. Note tha tas from November 2012 there are eight substitute players, with the inclusion of an extra prop. This week:

Team: Wyatt Crockett, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Scotlandm Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Dan Carter, Julian Savea, Tamiti Ellison, Ben Smith, Cory Jane, Israel Dagg
Reserves: Dane Coles, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Ma’a Nonu

Subs: Barrett for Dagg at 25 min, Coles for Hore at 60 min, B Franks for O Franks at 60 min, Kerr-Barlow for Weepu at 60 min, Williams for Whitelock at 68 min, Woodcock for Crockett at 72 min.

Points Scored NZ Scotland
Tries 6 3  
Conversions 6 2
Penalties 3 from 4 1 from 1
TOTAL 51 22

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 12 0
Scotland 7 2
TOTAL 19 2

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackled player Barrett 1
Tackler not rolling Whitelock, Hore, Vito, Crockett 4
Ruck entry ? 1
Offside general play ? 2
Offside from knock on Smith 1
Lineout McCaw 1
Maul Romano 1
Foul play (YC) Thomson 1
TOTAL   12

Scotland Penalty Offences
Tackler not rolling 1
Ruck off feet 3
Ruck hands 1
Ruck entry 1
Scrum 1
TOTAL 7

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons Crockett, ?, Ellison, Dagg, McCaw(2), Carter, Savea 8
Intercepted pass Carter 1
Ruck spill   2
Maul   1
Lineout   1
TOTAL   13

Turnovers Conceded by Scotland
Knock-ons 6
Pass into touch 1
Breakdown 3
Ruck spill 1
Accidental offside 2
Lineout 5
Scrum 1
Kick touch in goal 1
TOTAL 20

First Three to the Breakdown stats are looking for those players who are getting to the tackle/breakdown quickly and are also being useful by either cleaning out opposition players or setting up ruck ball. Anyone arriving and just leaning pointlessly on the side of a ruck isn’t included in these numbers.

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
Romano 25 15+10
Crockett 23 17+6
Thomson 22 13+9
Vito 21 13+8
McCaw 19 14+5
Whitelock 19 15+4
Hore 16 13+3
O Franks 14 12+2
B Smith 12 7+5
Ellison 9 6+3
Savea 6 2+4
Coles* 5  
Woodcock* 4  
B Franks* 3  
Barrett* 3  
Weepu 2 0+2
Jane 2 2+0
Kerr-Barlow* 2  
Dagg 1  
Williams* 1  
Carter 1 1+0

Forward ball carries and metres gained No of carries Metres
Vito 10 57
McCaw 10 28
Thomson 5 15
Hore 5 14
Crockett 4 18
Whitelock 4 12
Romano 4 9
O Franks 3 6
Coles 3 4

Completed Tackles means that player actually brought the ball carrier to ground (ie. as the Laws of the Game actually described the tackler), not assists in the tackle situation which are tallied separately.

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 11 (5+6) 1 (1+0)
Crockett 10 (6+4) 4 (2+2)
Ellison 10 (2+8) 1 (1+0)
Whitelock 9 (5+4) 2 (0+2)
Carter 9 (2+7) 2 (1+1)
Vito 8 (3+5) 8 (4+4)
Romano 7 (5+2) 4 (0+4)
O Franks 7 (3+4) 2 (2+0)
Thomson 7(4+3) 2 (2+0)
Hore 6 (2+4) 4 (3+1)
Weepu 5 (2+3) 0
Smith 3 (1+2) 1 (0+1)
Jane 3 (2+1) 1 (1+0)
Kerr-Barlow* 1 1
B Franks* 1 0
Coles* 1 0
Williams* 1 0
Barrett* 1 0
Savea 1 0
TOTAL 101 33

Missed tackles also includes slipped tackles where the ball runner gets away. Most importantly, I do NOT included slipped tackles in the Tackles Made stats, it gets noted as a missed tackle. Either you’ve made the tackle or you’ve missed it.

Missed and Slipped Tackles
O Franks 2
McCaw 2
Smith 2
Coles* 2
Hore 1
Romano 1
Thomson 1
Carter 1
Ellison 1
Williams* 1
Barrett* 1
TOTAL 15

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 3 4
Second half 4 4
TOTAL 7 8

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Thomson 2 3
Whitelock 2 2
Romano 1 1
Williams 1 1
Quick throw 1 1
TOTAL 7 8

Scotland Line-outs Won From
First half 1 3
Second half 9 12
TOTAL 10 15

NZ Scrums Won From
First half 3 3
Second half 5 5
TOTAL 8 8

Scotland Scrums Won From
First half 2 3
Second half 2 2
TOTAL 4 5

8 Jun

Test Season Starters: Review of Games
by WAJ
8 Jun 2012

Whilst the the motivation for the scheduling of the various tests throughout the Southern Hemisphere this weekend is the money, I admit to quite looking forward to test rugby, especially the AB/Wallaby/Bok games (Argentina are also playing Italy and Scotland must be lurking somewhere as well). It also gives the Blues players a chance to find form, the Chiefs and Crusaders to gather injuries, the Wallabies every chance to suffer further embarrassment and the Boks to start a total rebuild.

All Blacks v Ireland – I like the look of this AB XV – every one of them is in good form, with a question mark over Fred, but he is such a big match player that he will surly play a blinder. There are plenty of combos carried over from Soopa teams – C Smith and Savea, Fred, Guildford and Carter, 4 Crusaders forwards – as well as 6 of the 8 WC winning pack that the hope is this team should settle reasonably quickly. There is a question mark over Read/A Smith/Carter axis because they have not played together before, but hopefully we will see Smith focus on passing to Crter or the next forward up , just do the basics as he familiarises himself with test rugby. We should be fartoo strong for this Irish side which will be under huge pressure at scrum time where they have a pretty inexperienced tight 5 and we will have too many weapons out back against a set of Irish backs which would be classified as solid and nothing more. With weapons in Carter, SBW, Savea and Fred, the finishing ability of Guildford and the guile and organisation of C Smith this has the potential to be a night of great promise for the AB’s. They would expect plenty of high kicks to test Guildford and Savea, and yes there may be a question mark in that area, but then the counterattacking from Fred can equally bring huge rewards. So a typically tight first 20 – 30 minutes, and then it will probably open up.
All Blacks 13+

Wallabies v Wales – Deans is under huge pressure to get some wins on the board, a couple of losses in this series and it would be hard to see him keeping his job, even with O’Neill firmly in his corner. The Wallabies do not have a lot of time to put Tuesday behind them and get this XV gelling. The makeup of the XV is interesting with 7 starters from the Waratahs, the least successful of the Aus Soopa teams over the last 6 weeks!! How 7 of the worst team can make the team of the best players is puzzling to say the least. Wales have selected a very strong side – they are well rested and full of class, have a strong scrum, 3 good loosies and outside backs with size and pace. They won the Six Nations on the back of some really gutsy play, and never say die attitude and will really test this nervous Wallaby team. I find it very difficult to split them and can see a welsh victory 1st up.
Wales 1 – 12

Springboks v England – This is a very hard game to predict. A new Bok coach has picked a side with plenty of changes from the side that played in that WC quarterfinal, only 6 back up from the starting XV v Aus. And then only 2 forwards. The Boks will want to make a statement here and this game will be as ferocious in the opening 30 minutes as any for a while as this new set of Bok forwards endeavours to make its mark. How will the Poms respond – they have a few hard heads in the forwards themselves and won’t be taking a backward step. With Steyn Inc, Kirchner, even Capt de Villiers the Boks don’t come across as a team that is looking to play free flowing rugby,well when have the Boks ever done that of late anyway? So the Bok halves will be putting in frontof the forwards, use the likes of the Flash to chase the kicks down and dominate at set piece – yada yada yada. How the Poms get around, over or through this is their big question? They do have a more adventurous looking backline, plenty of pace and a big guy at centre who will need watching. Still a lot of unknowns on both sides and will be a game worth watching just to see how it unfolds.
Springboks 1 – 12

Regards Waj

20 Sep

RWC – Stats at the midway point
by Tracey Nelson
20 Sep 2011

Who has the best attack, best defence, has conceded the most penalties? Some quick stats from the tournament at the halfway stage of pool play.

Please note that these stats include the game played between Italy and Russia on Tuesday 20 September, so that all four pools have had five games played to make up the first 20 of the overall 40 games of pool play.

Team Points For Tries Points Against
New Zealand 124 19 17
France 93 10 40
South Africa 66 8 19
Italy 59 9 49
Samoa 59 7 29
England 54 7 19
Fiji 52 6 74
Argentina 52 6 21
Scotland 49 4 30
Canada 44 4 66
Australia 38 4 21
Ireland 37 3 16
Namibia 37 3 98
Wales 33 2 27
Tonga 30 3 66
Romania 29 3 77
Japan 28 3 130
Russia 23 3 66
USA 23 2 28
Georgia 16 1 56

Pool Total points Tries
A 319 39
B 203 21
C 180 21
D 247 27

Pool Penalties Cards
A 115 0
B 115 3
C 102 0
D 106 2

Team Penalties con Cards
Romania 28 1
England 27 2
Australia 27 0
Canada 26 0
Argentina 26 0
New Zealand 25 0
Japan 25 0
Samoa 25 1
Namibia 22 1
Russia 21 0
Fiji 21 0
Tonga 20 0
USA 20 0
France 10 0
Ireland 19 0
South Africa 19 0
Wales 19 0
Georgia 18 0
Scotland 16 0
Itlay 15 1

Referee Penalties awarded Match Av
Alain Rolland 53 26.5
Steve Walsh 51 25.5
Bryce Lawrence 39 24.5
Jonathan Kaplan 47 23.5
Craig Joubert 42 21.0
Nigel Owens 41 20.5
Alan Pearson 41 20.5
George Clancy 36 18.0
Wayne Barnes 33 16.5

20 Sep

Cup Balls: Kev & Nev’s View
by Paul Waite
20 Sep 2011

Kev and NevFollowing the surprise announcement of their robot ref, Kev Dagg and Neville Shepherd have been invited back by Haka to share some of their views on the coming week of exciting Rugby World Cup action.

Nev: We’re betting that, if you’re an Aussie fan, you’d be as sick as a dog that fell in the sheep-dip after seeing your team tipped up by Ireland like that.

Kev: Humbled.

Nev: Steady Kev. You ever seen a humble Aussie?

Kev: Good point. Anyway Genia and Cooper got done up like a dinner and a lot of folks this side of the ditch are saying ‘about time’. Looks like our Aussie cousins are going to meet South Africa in the quarters and to be honest I don’t fancy their chances there.

Nev: Could be dog tucker.

Kev: But never write those underarm bowlers off. If they get Pocock back, get the Doc to extract Digby’s thumb from his backside, teach O’Connor to kick, and really put it together they could win that and no mistake. Trouble is, a pack which couldn’t out-scrum Ireland has to get the wood on the Bokke tighties.

Nev: About as much chance of that as England players understanding The Laws. Did you see that rubbish with Georgia – what was that Kaplan joker on, valium? How many ruck penelties did he need before fishing the yellow plastic out?

Kev: Yeah that was slack. You had to admire those Georgia lads though. Hard yakka turning out to play the Poms four days after the Jocks eh? But they got stuck in alright. Some sore Pommie bodies after that one even if they did win.

Nev: So we reckon that, as usual, the Poms will play like the brown stuff on my milking shed floor but win their pool. I see in the papers they’ve already had their traditional crisis meeting where they ask each other what the bloody hell is the go with all the penalties, and then remember it’s because of the intentional cheating.

Kev: And having cleared that up they’ll come out and cheat at international standard instead of club standard and get through to the quarters and then the semis.

Nev: But that’s looking a bit too far ahead. The match of the round this week is going to be Scotland v Argentina without a doubt.

Kev: Yes it’s a do or die game this one. We fancy the Jocks to shade the Argies and put themselves in line for the pool runners up spot there.

Nev: Yeah they’ve banned bagpipes and lumped them in with those.. what’re they called Kev.. vulvazeelas?

Kev: Something like that. That’s like waving a tartan kilt at a jock that is. We think that’ll fire them up enough to get them through, whilst at the same time we do appreciate the absence of strangulated cat noises on the terraces.

Nev: England are facing off against Romania which should knock a few more dents into them. Those Romanian forwards are big units and that’s a fact. A tight first half and a Pom win by 3-4 tries by the end on that one we reckon.

Kev: The boys are playing France but we’re picking the Frogs to play it coy as usual. They’ll keep their powder dry, field a weak team, lose handsomely and not care a jot because they were always aiming to go through second so why get their perms in a tangle.

Nev: What about our lad Zac? Hung out to dry for having a few too many after the win in Auckland and the loss in Brisbane.

Kev: Would never have happened in Pinetree’s day.

Nev: Though I think most of the others might have got dropped for not drinking enough.

Kev: There is that.

Nev: Just to wrap it up, the rest of the games are pretty much business as usual stuff as far as results go, but we’ll be expecting more good footy to be played in all of them.

Kev: Yep, that’s one thing we’ve been served up plenty of this World Cup!

Thanks to Kev and Nev for that interview, and we’ll be back to hear more of their thoughts next week.

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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

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20 Sep

RWC Summary and Predictions
by Paul Waite
20 Sep 2011

Let’s have a look at the story so far in the pools at RWC2011, and then have a quick look at what might (or might not) lie ahead as we zero in on the knock-out phase.

The 2011 edition of the Rugby World Cup continues to deliver more cracking games as compared with 2007. The first weeks of pool games are normally a succession of thrashings delivered with appropriate hauteur by the ‘tier 1′ teams to the ‘minnows, with the occasional evenly contested minnow-vs-minnow encounter. Not this time around!

In fact the term ‘minnow’ is now officially defunct. Inappropriate. There are no teams at RWC2011 which deserve that condescending label, and the people who, after 2007, were suggesting we revert to the 16-team format are thankfully being shown up for the short-sighted idiots they are.

Even the All Blacks’ 83-7 rout of an under-strength Japan falls into the same perspective, given the 145-17 stomping in 1995. The Brave Blossoms competed for the full 80 minutes and were not daunted, just over-matched.

There were other examples of the massive increase in global playing standards by the tier 2 teams. England vs Georgia was a classic. Georgia were playing a team which has won the Rugby World Cup once, and been finalists twice. To say they competed is an epic understatement. Georgian forwards, most of them looking like Popeye’s nemesis, Bluto, fired themselves into the English defensive line like missiles, and their heroic efforts earned them a close 10-17 deficit at halftime. They eventually went down 10-41 as they tired and leaked points in the second half, but given they were being forced to play only FOUR DAYS after their previous pool game against Scotland (a hard-fought 15-6 defeat), that was unsurprising. England left the field looking battered by the encounter, and still utterly confused by the Laws of the game.

The game of the round was undoubtedly Australia vs. Ireland played at a rainy Eden Park. Leading up to this Ireland had suffered through a forgettable August of World Cup build-up games losing to Scotland, England and twice to France. But it was a fired-up team of Emerald-isle men who really took it to the jaunty Aussies in Auckland. Though the damp conditions probably helped, it was mainly the shutting down of play-makers Genia and Cooper which delivered the surprise 15-6 result. That and a ton of Irish passion.

To say that the Aussie World Cup plans are now derailed is over-stating it, but they have undoubtedly been severely dented. Ireland still have to make good on their leg-up, but victories over Russia and Italy would seem to be well within their scope. If that happens then Australia will come second in the pool, and probably meet South Africa in the Quarter-final. An early exit therefore looms for one of the Southern Hemisphere giants. The Wallabies need to be very worried about this as the Boks, historically, have been well suited to beating them in this kind of pressure-cooker encounter.

All the other pools seem to be on course for the following probable quarter-finals in the knock-out phase of the cup:

QF1: Ireland vs. Wales
QF2: England vs. France
QF3: South Africa vs. Australia
QF4: New Zealand vs. Argentina or Scotland

QF1 does offer Samoa an outside chance of getting there ahead of Wales, but Wales have Namibia and Fiji to play, whereas Samoa have Fiji and South Africa, so it will be very difficult.

With QF4 Argentina are 3 points behind Scotland but Scotland has yet to play England which may well result in a zero points haul and Argentina has Georgia which should get them at least 4. So the Scotland vs. Argentina pool game next week should decide which of them goes through to the knock-out stages.

Looking too far ahead is dangerous, but we love danger so let’s throw the clichéd (and boring) ‘one game at a time’ rule out of the proverbial window.

In some parallel universe, the above quarter-finals will produce these semi-finals:

SF1: Wales vs. France
SF2: New Zealand vs. South Africa

And, being an All Blacks supporter, and a lover of symmetry I can’t help but predict that the 2011 Rugby World Cup final will be the same as the inaugural World Cup held in 1987 in this country:

Final: New Zealand vs. France

And the result of that will obviously be a New Zealand victory by 29-9.

Eh bien!

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

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

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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

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)

12 Jun

First test preview – All Blacks v France
by Tracey Nelson
12 Jun 2009

Is the opening Iveco test against France threatening to be the biggest banana skin to slip on for the 2009 All Blacks? With the non-availability of Dan Carter, pre-existing injuries ruling out Richie McCaw, Ali Williams and Sitiveni Sivivatu, and a plethora of new injuries plaguing the 26-man squad, suddenly the All Blacks are looking down the barrel as they get set to face France in Dunedin this weekend.

In the first week of the squad commencing training, Richard Kahui’s shoulder injury was deemed to require surgery thus ruling him out of rugby for the next six months. With a replacement needed in the squad the NZRU invoked its discretion clause, where Luke McAlister could come directly into the All Blacks squad without having to play for the Junior All Blacks should injury rule out other players.

But it didn’t end there. Two days after the test starting lineup was named there was a training injury to Rudi Wulf, who suffered a small fracture to his shoulder that will require up to six weeks recovery and effectively puts him out of the Iveco series and the first Tri-Nations test. This has resulted in another call-up from the Juniors with Chiefs winger Lelia Masaga brought in as cover. The reshuffle now sees Cory Jane take over the right wing position with Joe Rokocoko moving over to the left wing, and Masaga taking a seat on the bench next to McAlister.

Meanwhile the French have quietly slipped into the country and based themselves in Auckland, apparently on the recommendation of Byron Kelleher who has no doubt endeared himself to his former province Otago by claiming it’s too cold and wet in Dunedin in June – although the joke is on them with Dunedin enjoying unseasonably mild weather this week while rain has persisted in Auckland. No doubt they were quite pleased to arrive to dry weather when they flew south on Thursday.

Despite claiming they are tired after a long season – funny how you never hear the All Blacks complaining as they continue to spank the Northern Hemisphere sides on their end of year tours to the UK and Europe – the French are never a side to take lightly. World Cup games aside, the French have an uncanny knack of pulling off unlikely wins and there is a certain frequency to those wins on New Zealand soil. Every 15 years or so the French manage to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand, and the last time they did so was in 1994. You do the maths.

Meanwhile, back in the All Black camp Richie McCaw has been working with Adam Thomson to school him up on the finer points of openside flanker play. This becomes more crucial than ever this weekend, not only because Thomson has not been playing regularly at openside, but because of the new interpretation at the breakdown allowing the first player on his feet to get his hands on the ball to continue to play the ball regardless of whether a ruck forms thereafter. Quite how this will be refereed will be of great interest to everyone.

There is no doubt that the French will start with fury and pace, and try to upset the All Blacks by playing a very physical, confrontational style up front. And so they should, as sides that have done so in recent years have shown the All Blacks can be rattled. It will be imperative for seasoned forwards such as Woodcock, Hore and Thorn to lead the way and ensure the hard yards are put in to allow a loose trio that have only played one test (v Scotland 2008) to function as a combination.

With no less than three new caps on the bench and one in the starting lineup, this is a very inexperienced All Black side. The importance of Brad Thorn lasting as much of the 80 minutes as possible cannot be understated. The new midfield pairing of Nonu and Toeava will be tested by the hard running Matheiu Bastareaud – a fearsome brute of a young man far removed from the silky runners France has traditionally played in the 13 jersey over the years. While this will be his first test cap, half back Julien Dupuy has been great form with Leicester in the Heineken Cup this season and is a dangerous runner from the base of the scrum.

So it becomes an exciting prospect not quite knowing how an early-season test match is going to unfold. All eyes will be on the All Blacks and how they function without the likes of Carter and McCaw – remembering that it was without McCaw that the All Blacks lost two test matches last year, one of which was at Carisbrook in Dunedin. In theory the All Blacks should win. But theory can’t compete with passion.

All Blacks: Mils Muliaina(c), Cory Jane, Isaia Toeava, Ma’a Nonu, Joe Rokocoko, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Kieran Read, Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Bryn Evans, Tanerau Latimer, Piri Weepu, Luke McAlister, Lelia Masaga.

France: Maxime Medard, Cedric Heymans, Mathieu Bastareaud, Vincent Clerc, Damien Traille, Francois Trinh-Duc, Julien Dupuy, Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Romain Millo-Chluski, Pascal Pape, Sylvain Marconnet, William Servat, Fabien Barcella. Reserves: Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Thomas Domingo, Sebastien Chabal, Remy Martin, Julien Puricelli, Dimitri Yachvili, Yannick Jauzion, Alexis Palisson (two to be omitted).