All Blacks midfield

Discussion in 'Rugby World Cup 2007' started by nam97, Jul 14, 2007.

?

Best combination

  1. Luke McAlister

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  2. Isaia Toeava

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  3. Conrad Smith

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  1. nam97

    nam97 Guest

    Who would you pick as a final combination at 12 and 13 for the All Blacks? With all Graham Henry's rotation over the past couple of games in the midfield, there must be a fair idea of who's fit for the job come the World Cup.

    Personally, I like the way Luke McAlister controls the backline attacking moves from 12, but in saying that I think Mauger's tactical (and kicking) game is pivotal and cannot be sacrificed for more fire power (back 3 provides us with enough already).

    13 is still a problem. I think Toeava is too young to be placed in such an important role in such a big event. We all know his nerves get the better of him, so I don't consider him a serious contender.
    Conrad Smith is back from injury and only time will tell if he can find the form he produced in last year's European tour. I think he'll come right no problem, so in my mind he is the obvious choice at 13.

    I think Henry will stick with Mauger at 12, he has proven what a class player he is over the years and I think his knowledge of the game is more important then McAlister's attacking qualities. We already have a brilliant back 3 so I think it is not really necessary to have another attacking option at 12, Mauger will give the backline a nice balance.

    So yeah, I suppose it can be argued between Luke and Aaron for the no.12 jersey but I'd personally like to see McAlister starting. And I think the no.13 is a no brainer now that Smith is back in action, he is all class.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    Your arguement for Mauger is weak.

    Tactical Kicking? Kicking is probably the area, apart from attacking ability, where McAlister has the biggest advantage. Give me Luke McAlister who has, to use a pharse I heard on another forum, a boot like a f***ing howtizer, over Mauger who has an average punt, he also has a much better short kicking game (he spent his first 3 or 4 tests showing it off... possibly a bit too much).

    Mauger at the moment is out of form and offers nothing on attack, and is costing us games. He passes too slow and is incapable of taking the ball up to the line, let alone breaking it. McAlister on the other hand has been on fire since last years end of year tour when he tore the French and the Welsh a new one, as well as in the Super 14 which Mauger bumbled through in 3rd Gear while McAlister established himself as the form 12 in the comp.

    As well as that, there is no way Mauger and Smith, two powderpuffs, are paired together. Smith needs a dynamic, stronger player like McAlister inside of him, ditto with Mauger.

    Toeava doesn't worry me anymore, Smith was hardly on fire in the Super 14 before he got injured, while McAlister and Toeava tore the comp apart (if McAlister didn't get injured chances are we don't slump like we did towards the end) - he has shown he can handle the pressure now, just look at the way he single handily dragged the Blues into the lead in a Semi Final, in front of a sold out Durban Crowd no less. He played well against the French (although he was better when he was paired with McAlister) and played Solidly against the Boks. He was a lock on defence, made some breaks and the only time he turned the ball over was when he was stripped at the same time he was tackled around the neck.
     
  4. SPIDER18

    SPIDER18 Guest

    smith will find his feet but can you honestly say you trust toeava not to fall apart in a big game? mccalistar is a no brainer at 12 the abs coach talk about the organising mauger does but i've never seen any major difference in abs performances without him. mauger hasn't played his best rugby in a while. toeava started s14 on fire but cooled down through the middle as the blues did.
     
  5. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    I disagree, Toeava got better as the competition went on, during the form slump he was preety the only player on the field who wasn't underachieving, even when he lost his partner in crime.

    At the same time, Smith is hardly a proven international player, Toeava has more Test Caps already I believe, as well as that he has proven he can hold his own in the Tri Nations this year - Smith has never even played a single minute against Australia or the Boks in his test career. And I trust the 2007 Toeava to not fall apart in a big game, he has shown that this year with his Semi Final Performance, as well as his Tri Nations performance. Smith hasn't really been challenged, except in blowout wins against the North.
     
  6. nam97

    nam97 Guest

    Mate, I see your point with McAlister, but he exactly hasn't lit the world on fire as of yet also. Mauger at his best ie, in 05 and 06 was unstoppable and in that kind of form I would like to see him with Smith. The paring of McAlister and Smith worked brilliantly against France last year at Lyon, so I suppose it is a proven combination. Also, McAlister does have a huge punt, but what use is that with Carter inside him already accepting that role? I'm talking about tactical kicking, as in nudging the ball into areas where our back three can dominate and put pressure on. I think Mauger is superior in that role.
    Your logic on a "powderpuff" pairing doesnt convince me at all. I wouldnt say Smith who is close to 100kg andMauger at around 90kg is any different from another international pairing. So what's your point?

    Take your pick at 12, I'm on the fence, hence starting this thread. I would like to see McAlister start in saying that, but I think Henry will prefer Mauger.

    Toeava still worries me, he seems hesitant to to take the defense on at times (in the All Blacks) and drops the ball (ie, butchered a try against France, then scored, then straight afterwards on the very next phase dropped the ball cold) , he hasn't shown me he can perform like he did for the Blues consistently for NZ. I'd pick Smith any day over him, far more consistent and a much more solid defender.
     
  7. SPIDER18

    SPIDER18 Guest

    Mate, I see your point with McAlister, but he exactly hasn't lit the world on fire as of yet also. Mauger at his best ie, in 05 and 06 was unstoppable and in that kind of form I would like to see him with Smith. The paring of McAlister and Smith worked brilliantly against France last year at Lyon, so I suppose it is a proven combination. Also, McAlister does have a huge punt, but what use is that with Carter inside him already accepting that role? I'm talking about tactical kicking, as in nudging the ball into areas where our back three can dominate and put pressure on. I think Mauger is superior in that role.
    Your logic on a "powderpuff" pairing doesnt convince me at all. I wouldnt say Smith who is close to 100kg andMauger at around 90kg is any different from another international pairing. So what's your point?

    Take your pick at 12, I'm on the fence, hence starting this thread. I would like to see McAlister start in saying that, but I think Henry will prefer Mauger.

    Toeava still worries me, he seems hesitant to to take the defense on at times (in the All Blacks) and drops the ball (ie, butchered a try against France, then scored, then straight afterwards on the very next phase dropped the ball cold) , he hasn't shown me he can perform like he did for the Blues consistently for NZ. I'd pick Smith any day over him, far more consistent and a much more solid defender.


    [/quote] what does he luke have to do to light the world on fire? he destroyed the french this year and last.
     
  8. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    Mate, I see your point with McAlister, but he exactly hasn't lit the world on fire as of yet also. Mauger at his best ie, in 05 and 06 was unstoppable and in that kind of form I would like to see him with Smith. The paring of McAlister and Smith worked brilliantly against France last year at Lyon, so I suppose it is a proven combination. Also, McAlister does have a huge punt, but what use is that with Carter inside him already accepting that role? I'm talking about tactical kicking, as in nudging the ball into areas where our back three can dominate and put pressure on. I think Mauger is superior in that role.
    Your logic on a "powderpuff" pairing doesnt convince me at all. I wouldnt say Smith who is close to 100kg andMauger at around 90kg is any different from another international pairing. So what's your point?

    Take your pick at 12, I'm on the fence, hence starting this thread. I would like to see McAlister start in saying that, but I think Henry will prefer Mauger.

    Toeava still worries me, he seems hesitant to to take the defense on at times (in the All Blacks) and drops the ball (ie, butchered a try against France, then scored, then straight afterwards on the very next phase dropped the ball cold) , he hasn't shown me he can perform like he did for the Blues consistently for NZ. I'd pick Smith any day over him, far more consistent and a much more solid defender.


    [/b][/quote]



    If Henry see's Smith as the way to go for centre, he will go with McAlister inside of him based on past history - If you look back Henry has only ever paired Smith with Umaga at 12 and more recently McAlister. By the powderpuff comment, I meant compared to most other centres, Smith isn't a hard runner, he gets past by going around you and by exploiting gaps, he will never go over the top of you, ditto with Mauger - McAlister and Toeava on the other hand will run the ball hard and fast at the line and break through the defence the old fashioned way. The Cartel seem to prefer taking a "lighting and thunder" approach in the midfield.



    And Smith has hardly shown to be a consistent at the big time (although he has been injured alot) - he has never played a second against the Tri Nations teams, and has only played when the All Blacks have been destroying the sacrificial lambs the Northern Hemisphere trot out against us. Toeava hasn't really had a chance to be consistent either though, although he seemed to improve in each of the 3 tests he played this year, shame that he had to get injured in the lead up to the Wallaby test, the Wallabies were hardly a fortress on defence that night and him and McAlister could've broken that game open (hopefully we see it tonight)



    With the kicking Carter isn't always there in a position to take the punt, especially recently when he seems to be spending more time standing on the wing, and in that we need McAlister. Mauger also hasn't really shown he can handle the tactical duties, the only time i've seen him attempt them recently was when he was sending them into the advertising boards at the MCG... sadly for us he was standing outside of the 22.
     
  9. Wellycane

    Wellycane Guest

    Maybe if Carter wasn't available (eg. he maybe in a ruck) then that's when McAlister steps in and make his 'huge punt' and I don't think Mauger would do any good as him.
     
  10. nam97

    nam97 Guest

    Alright, I take your point with McAlister. But there's no way there is a better centre in NZ at the moment than Conrad Smith (he has proven his international ability more than what Ice has). If you were to put McAlister at 12, what need is there to opt for Toeava over Smith? Just because he is more explosive?

    You have already stated that Luke is a devastating runner, why have another similar player like Toeava outside him? Conrad has great temperament and is a brilliant distributor and I think a better defender than Ice. It would even things up a bit I think. We cannot go out all guns blazing and attack, we need some cool heads in there and Toeava definitely goes against this theory.

    I just want to see a balanced back line, and our midfield has to be able hold in order to set our back 3 alight. I think Conrad is perfect for it.
     
  11. TRUE LEGND

    TRUE LEGND Guest

    Id be careful if i paired Aaron Mauger and Conrad Smith. Both are good player's but lack the mongrel Centre's need. Also coming up against crashes who continuosly take the ball to the line. With 2 small centre's your gonna run into trouble. If i was to attack the AB backline inbetween the shoulder of 12 and 13 is where id pin point.
     
  12. Dumbo

    Dumbo Guest

    If I was Henry, I'd be going with Ice...
     
  13. nam97

    nam97 Guest


    Smith small? Last time I checked he was nudging 100kg. How is that small? He's bigger than Toeava, so there goes that theory. McAlister has a slight advantage on Mauger, so there's really nothing to compare about the two pairings.

    McAlister and Smith any day.
     
  14. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    It's not just size - Toeava appears to be bulkier, more strength and speedier, and can be used as crash ball - You don't ever see Smith hitting it up like you see Toeava used to do.

    As for your earlier question, the reason why I want Toeava over Smith is because IMO he offers the best of both Worlds. With the Ball in hand he is superior, but as well as that he has sublime distribution skills, especially his offload and his little flick passes. I personally feel that he is a fully complete centre who can dominate a game single handily, but at the same time can play the role as the midfield conductor.
     
  15. nam97

    nam97 Guest


    Well I can't disagree can I. The 2 looked very good tonight, was brilliant to finally see a midfield this year that was effective. That pretty much proves your point.

    Still not budging from Smith, I know what he can do and like the way he plays. Looked good for 8 minutes tonight also. The fact that Henry, Smith etc reserved a place for him to freely return this year shows how much the selectors want him there. That's a good thing.
     
  16. Dumbo

    Dumbo Guest

    You've made some good points throughout WC, just remember Rippers highly influenced by players that use hair cream (not that I'm questioning his sexuality) but if you’ve analysed Ripper and his player selection… no hair cream = no selection.

    Over to you young skywalker...
     
  17. nam97

    nam97 Guest


    I have taken that aboard mate haha, thank you. I've also noticed he supports Auckland so might be a bit touchy when it comes to his boys, hence favouring the Blues duo.
    Nah seriously, I agree mostly with his opinions except Toeava over Smith.
     
  18. Dumbo

    Dumbo Guest

    Yes, young Skywalker is very touchy about players that do not use hair cream, which goes hand in hand with players that play for the Blues... ie; play for the blues, use hair cream - otherwise get shipped off to Hamilton.
     
  19. candybum

    candybum Guest

    He is isn't he? they were tiipping Conrad and Luke to be the center pairing for the WC last year
     
  20. Hamster

    Hamster Guest

    Mauger and Mcallister in the centres, both tanks, both skillful, both nutcases.
     
  21. Ripper

    Ripper Guest



    Which is why Lavea had to be shipped off to Waikato - It was shame to lose such a talented genius and future All Black Fly Half (It was only a matter of time before Carter was dropped for him), but he was hogging it all and McAlisters hair was suffering.





    That doesn't really mean much, last year during the Tri Nations people were most likely saying it was going to be Mauger and Mils. You can hardly say he's a proven international when he's only played in blow outs during the end of year **** ups against the North and 8 minutes against an understrength Springbok team
     
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