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

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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29 Jun

Pet projects and all-rounders – All Black squad for Tri Nations
by Tracey Nelson
29 Jun 2010

The recall of Liam Messam and John Afoa, the dropping of Zac Guildford and the non-selection of form winger Hosea Gear were the key talking points when the All Black squad for the 2010 Investec Tri Nations was named on Sunday.

The 28-man squad is split into 15 forwards and 13 backs. While the squad named was mostly expected, there were still a couple of surprises from the selectors.

Props: John Afoa, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock

Tony Woodcock is a proven performer at test level, and showed his experience against Wales when he came on in the first test and shored up the All Black scrum on the loosehead side. Owen Franks has proven he is the best tighthead prop in New Zealand and continues to impress with his workrate around the field, including a huge tackle rate. His brother Ben is ranked behind Woodcock at loosehead but can play on both sides of the scrum, and like Owen has a praiseworthy work ethic at the breakdown. John Afoa joins the squad at the expense of Neemia Tialata, and he will be groomed as a potential cover for hooker which – if successful – could see him become the ultimate bench player.

Hookers: Keven Mealamu, Cory Flynn

Mealamu retains the No 1 spot and is back to his best form in the opening test series of 2010, but Aled de Malmanche makes way for Cory Flynn – subject to fitness. Flynn has been dogged by bone fractures to his forearms over the past few seasons, and further injuries to ankles haven’t helped his cause. The question remains as to whether he can remain fit enough to play, and in all reality if Andrew Hore was available he would be the second hooker.

Locks: Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly, Sam Whitelock

The only question here is whether four locks is a luxury. Thorn, Boric and Whitelock have all shown good form in the opening tests, while Donnelly finally recovered from his injury to take the field against Wales in Hamilton. While not doing anything spectacular, he performed the basics well and was a proven performer on the end of year tour in 2009. Thorn is an automatic starter, his all round abilities and fitness making him the consumate professional rugby player. Boric and Whitelock would appear to be the best bets to contest and win opposition ball, so it seems likely that they will be vying for the other starting position. Whitelock becomes an official squad member having been named only as cover for the series against Ireland and Wales.

Loosies: Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, Liam Messam, Kieran Read.

A bizarre mix, with one specialist opensider in McCaw and then four players who are all essentially blindside/No 8s. Read has been tagged as back up to McCaw, which is somewhat intriguing given I don’t see him having the fetching abilities of an opensider although he does run good support lines. Kaino is a blindsider who can cover No 8. Vito is also a blindsider, but with ball running abilities that may one day see him become a great No 8.Messam comes into the squad at the expense of Adam Thomson, who was a blindside/openside option. Messam showed some good form for the Maori in their centennial series yet I still have doubts that he has removed the errors from his game and the question still remains over which position is his best. Currently that would be blindside, and I don’t see him as big enough to be an international No 8.

So it would appear that the selectors areaiming to have generic loose forwards in response to the new law interpretation at the breakdown, which has seen fewer turnovers won this year. However, this may come back to bite them as the out and out speed to the breakdown of a specialist opensider is still a key factor in securing possession even under the new interpretation. I would have preferred Adam Thomson to remain in the mix as he can cover openside/blindside from the bench, and with either Kaino or Vito starting at blindside you have adequate cover for No 8 should Read go off injured.

Halfback: Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu

No problem with Cowan, but you have to wonder whether Weepu would be in the squad if he wasn’t an exellent goal kicker. Nothing I have seen of his halfback play so far has led me to believe he is a superior option to the likes of an Alby Mathewson, and his two-step-then-pass combo is unlikely to do us any favours against a rushing Springbok defence. You can only hope that Graham Henry was speaking in jest when he suggested that Aaron Cruden may be the third halfback option.

1st 5: Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden

Nothing more need be said in praise of Dan Carter. With injuries to both Stephen Donald and Mike Delany, who were back ups to Carter on the end of year tour, Cruden got the call up ahead of Stephen Brett and Colin Slade for the Ireland and Wales tests and maintains his place in the squad. I have no problem with this, as neither Brett nor Slade are of true international class. Stephen Donald did not have a happy Super 14 so it may have been fortunate that he was injured as he may well have been dropped in favour of Cruden anyway. What Cruden contributes to this squad is some raw talent but an extremely well organised play-maker, and while it may be a year too early in the overall scheme of his rugby career it is better that he is slowly introduced to top level rugby now than thrown in the deep end during a RWC year. With Carter and Wayne Smith to guide him, I am sure we will see him develop quickly and successfully – assuming nobody follows through with the halfback idea!

Midfielders: Ma’a Nonu, Benson Stanley, Conrad Smith, Richard Kahui

Benson Stanley performed with aplomb in his first three tests, and as a true 2nd 5 he has complemented Carter well. Nonu returns from injury, but will have strong competition from Stanley for the 12 jersey. Conrad Smith remains everyone’s first choice as centre, but Kahui is a more than adequate back up and can also play inside at 2nd 5 and on the wing with his good pace. There was no place in the squad for Luke McAlister, despite him finally finding some of his old form for the Maori and performing well as a goal kicker – but you can’t help but feel the intercept pass he threw against England took the coaches’ minds back to the test against France in Dunedin last year where he did the same thing and cost the All Blacks the test match.

Wingers: Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Rene Ranger

Hmmm. This is the one that probably bugs me more than the loosie mix. No problem with Jane, the guy istalented and more importantly has a rugby brain. He makes a line break nearly every time he gets the ball in hand, and has a phenomenal workrate both on attack and defence. Rokocoko seems to be flavour of the month with the selectors, and many consider him lucky to retain his place in squad given the workrate and skills of other wingers such as Guildford (who had limited game time in the first three tests) and Hosea Gear, who has been on fire for the Maori and is possibly the best finisher of all the current NZ wingers.

The argument from the coaches is that Rokocoko is the quickest winger (but over what distance?), and that there simply isn’t room for another specialist winger. They see Jane as a winger first and foremost, despite the fact he is equally accomplished playing fullback – ergo, doesn’t that add up to two specialist wingers?? Anyhow, that means the likes of Guildford and Gear have missed out to Rene Ranger, a player who is certainly not short of flash and dash, but has already shown his lack of nous by bombing a three on one overlap and going for the line himself in his first 30 minutes of test rugby. Apparently Ranger can cover centre though quite why you would need that when you have Smith and Kahui not to mention Muliaina – who was touted as capable of playing centre last year by the same three coaches – in your squad.

Gear has been labelled as "unlucky", whilst Guildford has been told to go away and work on the key aspects of being a winger. One would assume that scoring tries in the black jersey isn’t one of those given Rokocoko only managed two in his eight test outings last year, and despite the backline running riot against Ireland this year he still didn’t cross the line. Ranger is the new pet "project", so we’ll watch this one with interest. I can’t see it working myself, and with the calibre of talent already in the squad I’m not sure that raw "wow" factor is required.

Fullback: Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg

Muliaina as the incumbent is struggling to get his form back after a lengthy lay-off due to injury. My concern with Muliaina is that he seems to have lost a yard of pace, and is lacking fluidity in his game – notably there were times against Wales in Hamilton where he should have given the pass yet chose to take the ball into contact. Hopefully he will regain the form that made him the best fullback in the world in 2007/08, but should he not then there is a very able replacement in Dagg who is the new up-and-comer. Dagg had a dream debut in the black jersey with four clear line breaks against Ireland, and he demonstrated some exceptionally clever running lines and angles. He is positionally strong, good in the air, deceptively fast with good acceleration, and his combination first up with both Dan Carter and Cory Jane was a delight to watch.

28 Jun

Game Stats: All Blacks v Wales, Hamilton, 26 June 2010
by Tracey Nelson
28 Jun 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. A record of note during this match was Dan Carter racking up 150 points against Wales (in just 8 test matches).

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, Neemia Tialata, Brad Thorn, Tom Donnelly, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Dan Carter, Benson Stanley, Richard Kahui, Zac Guildford, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina
Reserves: Aled de Malmanche, Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thomson, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Rene Ranger.

Substitutions were: Piri Weepu for Jimmy Cowan and Adam Thomson for Tom Donnelly at 49 min, Owen Franks for Neemia Tialata at 54 min (plus 5 min in first half as blood bin substitution for Tony Woodcock), Rene Ranger for Benson Stanley at 54 min, Sam Whitelock for Kieran Read at 63 min, Aled de Malmanche for Keven Mealamu and Aaron Cruden for Dan Carter at 70 min.

Points Scored NZ Wales
Tries 2 1
Conversions 2 1
Penalties 5/6 1/3
Total 29 10

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 10 0
Ire 11 2
Total 21 2

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Jane, McCaw 2
Ruck Donnelly, Kaino, de Malmanche 3
Scrum Wheeling, not square and collapsing 4
Foul Play Whitelock (holding player) 1 + YC
Total   6

Wales’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 2
Ruck 2
Offside 2
Maul 1
Obstruction 1
Foul play 3 + 2 YC
Total 11

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 10
Spilled/pass to opp 2
In the tackle 1
Ruck 4
Kick out on full 1
Kick touch in goal 1
Total 19

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
MCaw 39 23+16
Mealamu 31 19+12
Thorn 29 16+13
Woodcock 27 13+14
Kaino 18 8+10
O Franks* 15 7+8
Donnelly 14 13+1
Read 13 10+3
Thomson* 12  
Tialata 11 8+3
Stanley 6 5+1
Kahui 5 2+3
Jane 4 4+0
Muliaina 3 3+0
Carter 3 2+1
Weepu* 2  
Ranger* 2  
Whitelock* 1  
de Malmanche* 1  

Ball carries
McCaw 8
Read 6  
Mealamu 6
Tialata 6
Thorn 5
Kaino 4
Woodcock 4
Donnelly 4
O Franks* 2
Thomson* 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
McCaw 19 (5+14) 1 (1+0)
Woodcock 10 (6+4) 1 (0+1)
Kaino 10 (3+7) 1 (1+0)
Thorn 9 (3+6) 2 (0+2)
Thomson* 9 1
Jane 7 (2+5) 0
Guildford 6 (2+4) 1 (0+1)
de Malmanche* 6 1
O Franks* 6 (0+6) 0
Mealamu 5 (4+1) 1 (1+0)
Kahui 5 (2+4) 1 (0+1)
Cruden* 4 1
Ranger* 4 0
Carter 4 (4+0) 0
Tialata 4 (3+1) 0
Muliaina 4 (1+3) 0
Cowan 3 (3+0) 2 (2+0)
Donnelly 3 (3+0) 0
Stanley 3 (3+0) 0
Read 1(1+0) 3 (2+1)
Weepu* 1 0
  Total 123 15

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Read 2
Mealamu 1
Kahui 1
Guildford 1
de Malmanche 1
Thomson 1
Weepu 1
Cruden 1
Total 9

NZ Line-outs Won From
First half 7 8
Second half 2 4
Total 9 12

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Thorn 2 4
Donnelly 3 3
Read 2 2
Kaino 1 1
Thomson 1 1
McCaw 0 1

Wales Line-outs Won From
First half 3 4
Second half 3 5
Total 6 9

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

Wales Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 2 4
Second half 6 6
Total 8 10

21 Jun

Game Stats: All Blacks v Wales, Dunedin, 19 June 2010
by Tracey Nelson
21 Jun 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: Ben Franks, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw(c), Kieran Read, Jimmy Cowan, Dan Carter, Benson Stanley, Conrad Smith, Josevata Rokocoko, Cory Jane, Israel Dagg
Reserves: Aled de Malmanche, Tony Woodcock, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thomson, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Richard Kahui.

Substitutions were: Richard Kahui for Israel Dagg at 40 min, Tony Woodcock for Ben Franks at 45 min, Sam Whitelock for Anthony Boric at 56 min, Piri Weepu for Jimmy Cowan at 59 min, Adam Thomson for Kieran Read at 69 min, Aaron Cruden for Dan Carter at 72 min, and Aled de Malmanche for Keven Mealamu at 75 min.

Points Scored NZ Wales
Tries 5 0
Conversions 4 0
Penalties 3/4 2/3
Drop goals 0/0 1/1
Total 42 9

Penalties/Free Kicks Conceded Pen FKs
NZ 6 1
Ire 6 2
Total 12 3

NZ Penalty Offences
Tackle Vito(2), Kahui 3
Ruck Thorn 1
Offside B Franks 1
Scrum Front row collapsing 1
Total   6

Wales’s Penalty Offences
Tackle 2
Ruck 1
Offside 1
Obstruction 1
Scrum 1
Total 6

Turnovers Conceded by NZ
Knock-ons 10
Spilled/pass to opp 2
In the tackle 1
Ruck 4
Kick out on full 1
Kick touch in goal 1
Total 19

First 3 to Breakdown Total Per half
MCaw 28 16+12
O Franks 28 16+12
Thorn 28 13+5
Boric 24 16+8
Vito 21 10+11
Mealamu 17 11+6
Read 11 7+4
Woodcock* 10  
Smith 10 5+5
B Franks 9 9+0
Stanley 9 2+7
Whitelock* 8  
Rokocoko 6 3+3
Thomson* 4  
Carter 4 3+1
Jane 3 1+2
Weepu* 1  
Dagg 1  
Cowan 1 0+1

Ball carries
Vito 12
McCaw 12
Read 10  
Thorn 8
Mealamu 7
Woodcock* 4
O Franks 3
Whitelock* 2
Boric 2
Thomson* 1
B Franks 1

Completed Tackles and Assists Tackles Assists
Vito 12 (7+5) 0
McCaw 11 (6+5) 2 (2+0)
Stanley 11 (8+2) 1 (1+0)
O Franks 10 (5+5) 0
Read 9 (5+4) 0
Smith 8 (3+5) 2 (1+1)
Mealamu 7 (4+3) 3 (3+0)
Thorn 7 (2+5) 2 (2+0)
Carter 6 (5+1) 4 (4+0)
B Franks 5 (5+0) 1 (1+0)
Boric 5 (4+1) 1 (1+0)
Whitelock* 4 2
Weepu* 3 1
de Malmanche* 2 0
Woodcock* 2 0
Rokocoko 2 (1+1) 0
Thomson* 1 1
Jane 1 (1+0) 0
Dagg 1 (0+1) 0
Kahui* 1 0
Cowan 0 1 (1+0)
  Total 108 22

Missed and Slipped Tackles
Mccaw 3
Boric 2
B Franks 1
Mealamu 1
Vito 1
Total 9

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

NZ Line-out Jumpers Won From
Thorn 1 1
Boric 1 1
Whitelock 1 1
Quick throw 1 1

Wales Line-outs Won From
First half 5 6
Second half 4 6
Total 9 12

NZ Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 1 2 (FK con)
Second half 6 6
Total 7 8

Wales Scrum Feeds Won From
First half 3 3
Second half 3 4 (Pen con)
Total 4 5

30 May

All Black Squad for Steinlager Series named
by Tracey Nelson
30 May 2010

The All Black selectors have named their 26-man squad for the upcoming June tests against Ireland (New Plymouth) and Wales (Dunedin and Hamilton).

With a split of 14 forwards and 12 backs there are four new caps – Victor Vito, Aaron Cruden, Benson Stanley and Israel Dagg.

The squad is:

Props: Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Neemia Tialata

Hookers: Keven Mealamu, Aled de Malmanche

Locks: Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly

Loosies: Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito

Halfbacks: Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu

1st5s: Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden

Centres: Benson Stanley, Conrad Smith, Richard Kahui

Wingers: Zac Guildford, Josevata Rokocoko, Cory Jane

Fullbacks: Mils Muliina, Israel Dagg

In something of a surprise Piri Weepu has won back his halfback spot ahead of form player Alby Mathewson, no doubt mostly due to his goal kicking abilities. Aaron Cruden has been named as deputy 1st 5 to Daniel Carter, after Stephen Donald suffered a shoulder injury playing club rugby on Saturday. Benson Stanley has been named as the only specialist 2nd 5, with Richard Kahui being named as obvious cover for that position despite still being under an injury cloud.

Israel Dagg has been named as a specialist fullback alongside Mils Muliaina (who is also recovering from injury, and is unlikely to be fully fit for the first test of the season against Ireland). Victor Vito is the only new cap in the forwards.

28 May

Haka's possible All Black squad
by Tracey Nelson
28 May 2010

This weekend the All Black selectors will name their 26-man squad for the upcoming June tests against Ireland (New Plymouth) and Wales (Dunedin and Hamilton). The field is wide open this year with a raft of injuries leaving the way clear for some new caps and bolters.

With a likely split of 14 forwards and 12 backs, this is what the team at Haka have come up with as a likely All Black squad.

Props: Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Neemia Tialata

Hookers: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa

Locks: Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Tom Donnelly

Loosies: Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito

Halfback: Jimmy Cowan, Alby Mathewson

1st 5: Dan Carter, Stephen Donald

Centres: Benson Stanley, Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister

Wingers: Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear, Rudi Wulf

Fullbacks: Cory Jane, Israel Dagg

Not considered due to injury:
Mike Delany, Corey Flynn, Jason Eaton, Andrew Hore, Richard Kahui, Lelia Masaga, Mils Muliaina, Ma’a Nonu, Isaia Toeava, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ali Williams.

Possible bolters: Kahn Fotuali’i, Jason Rutledge

We’ve gone for five props and one hooker, with John Afoa to cover both positions off the bench. Adam Thomson will provide openside flanker cover. Alby Mathewson gets the nod ahead of last year’s end of tour halfbacks Brendon Leonard and Andy Ellis. We’ve named Stephen Donald subject to fitness, and he will provide cover for 1st and 2nd 5. Benson Stanley is our choice to start at 2nd 5 with Conrad Smith at centre, Luke McAlister to cover the midfield.

We’ve picked three wingers who encompass finishing skills, good workrate and ability under the high ball at night, which means Joe Rokocoko misses out despite his good form in the latter stages of the Super 14. With Mils Muliaina in doubt due to his calf injury we’ve gone for Cory Jane and Israel Dagg as fullbacks, with Jane also able to cover the wing.

Our possible bolters are Fotuali’i at halfback and Jason Rutledge at hooker. Otago’s Ben Smith may also come into contention though, as he can cover centre as well as playing wing/fullback. Should Stephen Donald not be available due to injury, Colin Slade is our next pick as a utility who can cover 1st 5 and fullback.

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)

20 Nov

Match preview: England v All Blacks
by Tracey Nelson
20 Nov 2009

Obviously the most important thing for the All Blacks to achieve this weekend is a win over England. Anything less will relegate the entire end of year tour as a failure. But there are some additional boxes that could do with some ticks too.

Thankfully the coaches have selected the same forward pack I would have, which is always a good start in my books. The naming of Thomson, McCaw and Read points to a desire for dominance at the breakdown and the combination of McCaw and Thomson on the flanks should provide the speed to outgun England there. I also like the options both Thomson and Read provide in the lineout.

The tight five are exactly that – a tight five who won’t roam about getting in the way of the backs, and all of them have shown willingness and ability to get to the breakdown in numbers and not shirk their duties in the ball security stakes. If there is one thing that would play into England’s hands this weekend, it would be the All Blacks reverting to the Fatties in the Backline style of play we saw the game against Italy degenerate into last weekend – they key to beating England and beating them well is to provide clean, fast, front foot ball and let our backline rip into it without having to sidestep their own forwards.

The first tick box I would like to see fulfilled (well, the second after actually winning the game of course) is for the backs to score tries. So far in the two test matches against Wales and Italy it has been the hookers who have scored the tries – and just one each, leaving a sad tally of one try per test. This needs to change, and Twickenham is the ground to do it on.

The other tick box is the requirement to keep our line unbreached. A win against England will be badly tarnished if they score a try against us, particularly with the way England have been travelling so far. They have selected a very defensive-oriented side, so it would be all the more galling to concede 5 points to them.

Of interest will be the shift of Zac Guildford over to the right wing – a position he feels is not uncomfortable for him, and one he opted to take in deference to his more senior counterpart Sitiveni Sivivatu who offered him the left wing spot. England have a Kiwi amongst their ranks in hooker Dylan Hartley (born in NZ but shifted to England as a teenager) in just his fourth run-on start. Hartley played in the same Rotorua Boys’ High School 1st XV with Liam Messam. They are also starting Ayoola Erinle at 2nd 5 this weekend which makes for a new pairing in the England midfield, and he will be head to head with Ma’a Nonu.

England have been slammed by their own press (and fans) as being boring and lacking any skills to play attacking rugby after losing to Australia and only just beating Argentina this month. Some of their better attacking players have been relegated to the bench (Mathew Tait, Shane Geraghty, Tom Croft), and whilst Simon Shaw is back from injury at lock the entire line-up looks remiscent of siege-mentality in what is likely to be an attempt to prevent he All Blacks from getting their running game going more than having a clue how to attack to win the game.

That doesn’t mean that powerful forward play should take a back seat, and I hope the All Blacks can also illustrate some good scrummaging (thankfully Stuart Dickinson isn’t refereeing this week!) and physical dominance at the breakdown. The All Blacks owe it not just to themselve and their fans, but to world rugby to ensure ball through the hand dominates the now in-vogue kicking game that has brought rugby union to the sorry state of being a kick-fest at international level.