PDA

View Full Version : Ralph a contender for No. 13



woosaah
12-04-06, 10:03 PM
Ralph a contender for No. 13
13 April 2006*
By RICHARD KNOWLER

With less than two months until the international season, the All Blacks selectors will have ranked their candidates to fill the vacant No. 13 jersey.


On last year's grand slam tour of Britain and Ireland, Hurricanes players Tana Umaga, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu all started at centre but the permutations have since taken a drastic turn.

Umaga has hung up his international boots, Smith is out with a broken leg and while still fit, Nonu has not done enough to be rated the best centre in New Zealand.

There is no doubt the powerful Nonu can break a line and in full flight is an irresistible sight as he leaves defenders stumbling in his wake. Yet his detractors will say that his distribution skills need work.

There was never a better example than when the Crusaders played the Hurricanes in Wellington on April 1. Nonu made one of his trademark busts late in the game but a wayward pass undid his good work and the momentum was lost.

The better option would have been to wait for his support runners to connect with him before going to ground. Instead, he tried to flick the miracle ball.

His display that night also gave reason to question his temperament for such big-match occasions.

He got away with dumping fullback Leon MacDonald on his head in a clumsy tackle.

But in a test match with a northern hemisphere touch judge patrolling the sidelines like a nit-picking traffic cop, he may not have been so fortunate.

Question marks also remain over whether he goes too far on attack and gets isolated.

The other centre options are Caleb Ralph, Mils Muliaina, Anthony Tuitavake, Seilala Mapusua and Casey Laulala.

Muliaina has had just one run at centre for the Chiefs before being moved back to fullback.

A hand injury and a stuttering Chiefs side have not done Muliaina any favours but he has represented Auckland in the midfield, has expressed a desire to play there again and has shown some nice touches this season.

MacDonald's hot form has earned him the tag as New Zealand's best fullback and unless injured he should be a certainty for the All Blacks No. 15 jersey.

Tuitavake has lost some ground on last year.

Last season he thrived in the Super 12 when drafted to the Highlanders and such was his impact with North Harbour in the NPC that he was thought unlucky to miss the grand slam tour.

It is difficult to see him advancing his cause at this stage.

The Highlanders' Mapusua should be considered an outside chance at the very best. Laulala has not played enough time to impress.

The last option is Ralph, who is preferred ahead of 2004 All Blacks centre Laulala for the Crusaders.

At 95kg, Ralph is no lightweight but is still 7kg lighter than Nonu.

However, he reads a game well, has a low mistake-ratio and possesses a keen eye for a gap.

Ralph's distribution skills and calm temperament saw him slip seamlessly into the Crusaders midfield when Laulala fell injured for last year's finals.

He works in well with All Blacks second five-eighths Aaron Mauger.

This combination could work well in the All Blacks, especially with another Crusader, Dan Carter, at first-five.

Yet, the selectors may want a physical, aggressive runner to play alongside the smaller, creative Mauger.

This could be Nonu's saving grace for the opening international against Ireland on June 10 at Waikato Stadium.
[/b]

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3636273a1823,00.html

Dumbo
12-04-06, 11:57 PM
Anyone have any idea when's Smith is back?

Ripper
13-04-06, 12:10 AM
The day Ralph starts at 13 is the day I become an Australian.

Dumbo
13-04-06, 12:39 AM
Not Ralph... not Ralph (he's had some shockers this year).

woosaah
13-04-06, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by Ripper@Apr 13 2006, 01:10 PM
The day Ralph starts at 13 is the day I become an Australian.
that time maybe nigh :D

Serge
13-04-06, 02:52 AM
Ralph is only being suggested because of the thin pickings a the moment. For me it is Tuitavake and then Mills although if an injury oocurs to either of them Ralph is next in line which to be honest is scary. But I think the All Blacks would consider moving Rico into centre if that dilema came about.

aussie1st
13-04-06, 08:05 AM
Lol Ralph is one player you All Blacks just can't get rid of.

kaftka
13-04-06, 08:46 AM
Ralph is playing well because the Crusaders set-up is so perfect, theres not a lot he can do wrong. Everything there is so organised.

As they were saying on some silly Aussie rugby show the other day, his defence is very suspect. He has Mauger inside of him who is a pretty damn good "all-rounder" on attack and defence. But Ralph constantly tends to drift wide and leaves a gaping whole in the middle. Very consistant in attack, although he always has been. Does everything he needs to do...And nothing more.

I have no idea who I want in the midfield to be honest.

At the start of the S14 season, I would have said Smith and McAlister.

Right now however, I have to say ???? and Mauger.
Mauger I think has played wonderfully well. He definitely deserves the 12.

We do have a problem at centre though. I want Nonu to be playing well, as with Umaga out, if Nonu can get his all-round game, and probably more experience will help with that, then we won't be losing too much at all in the centres.

Dumbo
13-04-06, 12:11 PM
Until last week I would have said Mapu’Sua from the Highlanders... now I'm not to sure either... one thing though Mauger at 12 for this old kid is a definite.

Mils could fill the spot at 13 which leaves McD to play fullback (Mills has looked good every time he's entered the line and is the best prospect outside of MaNonu on attack, and is the best contender for defence... not Tana's style of defence but still is a quality defender).

Excuse the spelling but I'm ******.

THE CHIROPRACTOR101
13-04-06, 12:30 PM
nonu,smith,tipoki,muliaina,tuitevake,mapusua....th ey are some names worth mentioning before ralph...but not the dim-witted ralph..please no!...


ralph is the anti-christ

Dumbo
13-04-06, 12:43 PM
Ma'EyeLiner has it over Ralph, his distribution (when he does) can be affective (check the highest try in the Super 24 for conformation).

If Smith's out I'd go Ma...

kaftka
13-04-06, 12:56 PM
Yes. He should be the guy to take Umagas place.

At 2nd 5 we have Mauger and McAlister, both very worthy of the spot, but in centre, he has worked with Umaga, and he plays a similar game to Umaga. If he gets his distribution and defence as good as his attacking play is, then we are sorted.

None of the options really stand out, but when the first test (whatever it is) I wouldn't be suprised to see him in the starting spot.

Of course, Muliaina at centre isn't a bad option in my mind...

THE CHIROPRACTOR101
13-04-06, 01:01 PM
caleb ralph isnt fit enuff to tie laveas shoe laces

thats how much they both suck

sambĂŁd5
14-04-06, 02:50 AM
if macdonald is a certianty (shudders) at full back, then it is also a certianty that ralph isnt. mills or nonu or tupoki, or tuituvaki will be. looking foward to when smith is back though.

kaftka
14-04-06, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by sambăd5@Apr 14 2006, 02:50 PM
if macdonald is a certianty (shudders) at full back, then it is also a certianty that ralph isnt. mills or nonu or tupoki, or tuituvaki will be. looking foward to when smith is back though.
Caleb Ralph won't be an All Black again. That is just stupid.
MacDonal has been playing great however. That is obvious.

Also looking forward to Smiths return.

THE CHIROPRACTOR101
15-04-06, 11:11 PM
Originally posted by THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 14 2006, 12:30 AM
nonu,smith,tipoki,muliaina,tuitevake,mapusua....th ey are some names worth mentioning before ralph...but not the dim-witted ralph..please no!...


ralph is the anti-christ
let me add to my "before ralph becomes allblack centre list"...

niva tuaso,sam tuitupou and casey laulala

woosaah
15-04-06, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by THE CHIROPRACTOR101+Apr 16 2006, 12:11 PM-->
<!--QuoteBegin-THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 14 2006, 12:30 AM
nonu,smith,tipoki,muliaina,tuitevake,mapusua....th ey are some names worth mentioning before ralph...but not the dim-witted ralph..please no!...


ralph is the anti-christ
let me add to my "before ralph becomes allblack centre list"...

niva tuaso,sam tuitupou and casey laulala [/b]
laulala hasnt played enough to really warrent a spot, Tipoki is out for 16 weeks so i dont think he will make it. nonu hasnt really done much for me this season, smith is injured, i dont like mills in centre it doesnt fel right, tuitevake has been playing well, havnt seen enough of mapusua, not enough of tuaso, but tuituopou could be a good one he has been playing well

thats my breakdown of your lists :D

Black-Monday
15-04-06, 11:56 PM
I know nothing about SH rugby, but what about Rico Gear at 13, he is a strong runner and him moving inside would mean more room for Howlett and Rokocoko on the wing.

Now prove me wrong SH&#39;ers.

BM

woosaah
15-04-06, 11:59 PM
IMO howlett and roco arnt in good enough form, but they will still get in the squad

THE CHIROPRACTOR101
16-04-06, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by woosaah+Apr 16 2006, 11:44 AM-->

Originally posted by THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 16 2006, 12:11 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 14 2006, 12:30 AM
nonu,smith,tipoki,muliaina,tuitevake,mapusua....th ey are some names worth mentioning before ralph...but not the dim-witted ralph..please no!...


ralph is the anti-christ
let me add to my "before ralph becomes allblack centre list"...

niva tuaso,sam tuitupou and casey laulala
laulala hasnt played enough to really warrent a spot, Tipoki is out for 16 weeks so i dont think he will make it. nonu hasnt really done much for me this season, smith is injured, i dont like mills in centre it doesnt fel right, tuitevake has been playing well, havnt seen enough of mapusua, not enough of tuaso, but tuituopou could be a good one he has been playing well

thats my breakdown of your lists :D [/b]
its good that i didnt mention ralph..coz then you would have written a 20,000 word essay on how great he is :mellow:


but my point is...all those players individually >>> ralph

woosaah
16-04-06, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by THE CHIROPRACTOR101+Apr 16 2006, 03:20 PM-->

Originally posted by woosaah@Apr 16 2006, 11:44 AM

Originally posted by THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 16 2006, 12:11 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-THE CHIROPRACTOR101@Apr 14 2006, 12:30 AM
nonu,smith,tipoki,muliaina,tuitevake,mapusua....th ey are some names worth mentioning before ralph...but not the dim-witted ralph..please no!...


ralph is the anti-christ
let me add to my "before ralph becomes allblack centre list"...

niva tuaso,sam tuitupou and casey laulala
laulala hasnt played enough to really warrent a spot, Tipoki is out for 16 weeks so i dont think he will make it. nonu hasnt really done much for me this season, smith is injured, i dont like mills in centre it doesnt fel right, tuitevake has been playing well, havnt seen enough of mapusua, not enough of tuaso, but tuituopou could be a good one he has been playing well

thats my breakdown of your lists :D
its good that i didnt mention ralph..coz then you would have written a 20,000 word essay on how great he is :mellow:


but my point is...all those players individually >>> ralph [/b]
nope i dont rate ralph either, but really imo i dont know who would be there :)

he has been solid but nothing great really