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For 80 minutes of this game we had it bang on. But the Hurricanes are playing with just a little bit more heart than we gave them credit. We weren't far off. Corey Jane and Conrad Smith had dynamic games, showing the leaders they are. Weepu started strong, while Ma'a Nonu scored the first try. He also was the only Blues player who looked good on attack.
It wasn't all bad for the Blues. They dominated in the scrum, due to Tony Woodcock's. But the toughness in this team can be questioned, and the lineout is a shambles.
What did we say about Beauden Barret? A great first five can be the difference between winning and losing. We also said a Piri "moment" could be the difference. He would have hope a kick missing touch to give the Hurricanes, in particular Barrett and Smith, the chance to win it. It was a stunning end.
We had the Blues by 6. The injury time try changed it to Hurricanes by 1.
Results - Round 5
Hurricanes 26 Blues 25 - Man of the Match: Beauden Barrett.
Crusaders 28 Cheetahs 21
Warratahs 34 Sharks 30
Rebels 30 Force 29
Brumbies 33 Highlanders 26
Stormers 24 Lions 19
Bulls 61 Reds 8
Our score: 4/7
The Revenge of Weepu?
Predictions - Round 5
It’s that time of the year again, the time we talk up the Kiwis before they fall to Kangaroos.
“Well that was harsh and negative”, you may say.
You might be right, but when you look at the statistics, this game is an Australian benefit.
The end of the year tournaments is where we’ve shone in the past decade. But the Anzac test. We’re never really ready are we?
There are various reasons why we should feel more confident this year. Here are some:
Could't Get Any Worse
The Kiwis were awful at the end of last season, so we’re due one. Enough said.
Who's in the Team?
NZ has often in the past not known the team in the run in, whether a string of dubious suspensions or by picking players based in England that can’t make it in time to gel with the team.
The Kiwis have often had to put makeshift players in key positions to cover for these mishaps. And Aussie always pounces.
We are often hit hard. In 2012, we only have Manly players to worry about.Not Manly players from a winning, Des Hasler-helmed Sea Eagles, but Manly players from an underperforming, Geoff Toovey coached Sea Eagles. The winning has stopped (for now) but the famous Manly whinging hasn’t. While Toovey is blaming the Broncos schedule for his team’s losses, with the injuries, NZ won’t have the “Manly negativity” forced on the squad.
A fit Glenn Stewart would have played for Aussie, while NZ miss out on Kieran Foran and Steve Matai. Losing Foran is huge, but Shaun Johnson may be a better fit for Benji Marshall. Having another player of frequent brilliance on attack could give Marshall more room to “be Benji”.
Some would say losing Steve Matai is a huge loss. I am not one.
Matai is a fine player, but everyone knows that one decent hit and he’s out of the game. He breaks easier than Samuel L. Jackson in "Unbreakable". Remember "Unbreakable"? No? Then you probably don't remember just how much of a liability Matai is when it comes to discipline. A couple of stupid penalties in this one, and NZ could be out of it.
Every now and then there’s a decision to bring in a player who probably belongs to another country. The controversy can disrupt preparations.
For once, this year it’s not NZ…
James Tamou is now an Australian
April 18, 2012
That’s the big issue going into the big game on Friday night. Well, that’s what the media want to make out. If the Kiwis stay smart, it won’t be an issue.
We’ll let our Aussie born players in the squad deal with him by winning (all five, last time I checked. FIVE Kiwis born in Australia!). It’s the big issue, but surely not a real one. If you want to play for NZ or Australia, that’s who you play for? NZ moaning about them is no different to the endless moaning they did when we first picked Webb or Fien.
He wants to play Origin. As a Kiwis and Queensland supporter, I say “let him!”
Would I be as quick to say that if he was that great a player? No. But he’s not.
Jason Taumalolo was the real catch. And we got him.
Tamou's presence means the Kiwis don’t have to play against one of the greatest props of all time in Petero “still in form” Civoniceva. That’s a good thing.
The last ‘Man from the Long White Cloud’ to play internationally against the Kiwis was Rangi Chase. We saw what happened to him. Let’s hope the pack mentality doesn’t come into play this week. If we worry too much about targeting him, we’ll lose easily. Isaac Luke’s cowardly act on chase did nothing for the Kiwis last year, let’s hope he’s learnt his lesson.
We need him to be on his game and take over when needed. We need our Luke to show the judgement of a Jedi named Luke instead of a Bushwhacker named Luke. I’m sure he’ll be fine and that he and the other Kiwis will treat him the way they will treat all the Aussie big men. Rather than single him out, treat them all with the same disdain. Bash them, legally, and stay in the game.
If we’re still with them at the end, Australia’s biggest asset, Billy Slater, tends to become their weakest link. My prediction: Kiwis 18 Kangaroos 14 after a Slater error and some Benji brilliance.
Or, if Thurston is allowed to dominate and we target Tamou: Australia 44 NZ 8.