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Round One: Blues v Crusaders



Here we go then... that first game of the season starts with the Blues taking on the Crusaders, both (more so the Crusaders) are going to be without a few starts which in turn makes this game look more like an NPC game than the start of the Super 14.
Who’s playing? Who’s going to win?

I for one have no idea, seems that all established Rugby sites aren’t really pumping this up (it is Monday but still...).
Can’t find a mention of it anyware. Guess teams will be posted latter in the week.

There are however a few ‘interesting’ things happening in this game... Tipoki and Ward should be playing but for the Crusaders and not the Blues.
Be very interesting to see what reception they get when in Auckland.

All in all though I’m hoping that the Blues are going to get a mighty shafting due the powers at be in Auckland that turned down the waterfront stadium.
I realise that it’s not the fans fault, but oh well â€" the finger of blame has to be pointed somewhere.

It should be easier to see who’s going to win once the teams are announced.
no carter...no mccaw..no jack...no thorne??...hey we only missing cokopops and mealamu who really matter at the moment...but guess what..we still got that talent to burn...GO TOEAVA!!!..

Who's cocopops? Joe?

Only kevi and possibly Joe?
Thought you guys would of hand McAlistair off as well...

Pretty good backline on offer for the Blues this season;
9 - Steve Devine
10 - Isakeli Nacewa
11 - ???
12 - Luke McAlister
13 - Anthony Tuitavake
14 - Doug Howlett (coiuld clock up 100 games this season)
15 - George Pisi

Ben Atiga
David Gibson
Josevata Rokocoko

If Joe's out that changes things a bit, Nacewa on the wing? move McA to 10? Atiga and Tuitavake to both start in the centers?
I would imagine that ****** Nucifora would go with a backline like this:

9. Steve Devine
10. Luke McAlister
11. Isa Nacewa
12. Sam Tuitupou
13. Anthony Tuitavake
14. Doug Howlett
15. Isaia Toeava

20. David Gibson
21. David Holwell
22. Ben Atiga
allblacks.com are getting slack... I'm sure they didn't mention Tuitupou in the Blues 2007 squad???
Holwell on the bench, what a waste... I'd through him in at 1st5 and McA at 2nd
Toeava think there might be a chance he'll start on the bench as a utility?
sam the slam is back in the blues...i think he would be vice captain to flavell...

heres my backline to take on the blues..


remember cantabs recruited one of the hottest midfield movers in the game in rua tipoki and former blues fb ward...both very unique players who can hurt the blues...would be interesting to see carters replacement he carved up in the npc last year...another quiet achiever like carter..watch out for him...he would be the surprise danger man 2 the blues...

i reckon our back 3 have the most potential to crack and fully expose ward/ralph and co...howell will kick allday and mcalistair will prodvide his muscle in his attacking game..it will be interesting how they use tuitupou..i was looking forward 2 seeing him up against johanson who have similar traits..(compact power players)..but i hope tuitupou will look after midfield with his solid rock defence...tuitevakes only real weak point is his timing and defence positioning and still needs work on tackling...i reckon if they had howell AND mcalistar starting they will have that even balance for our exciting backs



my power players for the week...who i think will win the game for the blues

go the blues!!!
Looking at what you've got there Chiro I'd be watching 10,11,12,13,14 and 15.
Not sure about Sam at 13, I'd still go for Tuitavake with Sam on the bench.
Hopefully the Blues can put it together this year, once again look brilliant on paper but with recent years failures we Blues fans must not keep our hopes too high.

Nucifora wants a attacking game so we may see a Nacewa, McAlister 5/8 combination and Tuitavake at center. The team will be named later today.
IMO, one of the advantage the Blues have over any other team in the comp is the utility value of the backline players.

They have the skills and talent to cover 2 or 3 positions.

Toeava - Centre, Wing, Fullback
Atiga - Centre, Fullback
Tuitavake - Centre, Wing
Nacewa - From No.10 to No.15 (great value this guy)
McAlister - No.10, No.12

If Nucifora does start Howell at 5/8, than in all likelyhood McAlister will be at 12 with either Atiga/Tuitavake/Toeava at 13.

10. Holwell
11. Nacewa
12. McAlister
13. Atiga/Tuitavake/Toeava
14. Howlett
15. Atiga/Toeava

That's another way we could look at it.
My crusaders team would be this
15. Brent Ward
14. Rico Gear
13. Caleb Ralph
12. Casey Laulala
11. Scott Hamilton
10. Stephen Brett
9. Andrew Ellis
8. Mose Tuiali’i
7. Johnny Leo’o
6. Kieran Read
5. Kevin O’Neill
4. Ross Filipo
3. Campbell Johnstone
2. Corey Flynn (captain)
1. Ben Franks

Run on reserves
16. Ti’i Paulo
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Jake Paringatai
19. Peter Nixon
20. Kevin Senio
21. Tusi Pisi
22. Rua Tipoki

about 8 all blacks in there i think
official blues team

George Pisi, Doug Howlett, Isaia Toeava, Sam Tuitupou, Anthony Tuitavake, Isa Nacewa, David Gibson, Jerome Kaino, Daniel Braid, Angus Macdonald, Troy Flavell (captain), Greg Rawlinson, John Afoa, Derren Witcombe, Saimone Taumoepeau. Reserves: Rudi Wulf, Luke McAlister, Steve Devine, Justin Collins, Anthony Boric, Nick White, Chris Heard

tuitopo picked over mccalister

Head to Head:

15 George Pisi
14 Doug Howlett
13 Isaia Toeava
12 Sam Tuitupou
11 Anthony Tuitavakae
10 Isa Nacewa
9 David Gibson
8 Jerome Kaino
7 Daniel Braid
6 Angus Macdonald
5 Troy Flavell (captain)
4 Greg Rawlinson
3 John Afoa
2 Derren Witconbe
1 Daimone Taumoepeau

16 Chris Heard
17 Nick White
18 Anthony Boric
19 Justin Collins
20 Steve Devine
21 Luke McAlister
22 Rudi Wulf.

15 Brent Ward
14 Rico Gear
13 Caleb Ralph
12 Casey Laulala
11 Scott Hamilton
10 Stephen Brett
9 Andy Ellis
8 Mose Tuiali' i
7 Johnny Leo' o
6 Kieran Read,
5 Kevin O'Neill
4 Ross Filipo
3 Campbell Johnstone
2 Corey Flynn (captain)
1 Ben Franks

16 Ti'i Paulo
17 Wyatt Crockett
18 Jake Paringatai
19 Peter Nixon
20 Kevin Senio
21 Tusi Pisi
22 Rua Tipoki

Well there you go... Tipoki, McAlistair, Senio and Devine on the bench.
Laulala matches up against Tuitupou at 12 (Laulala at 12?), think it's not going to be an enjoyable game for Casey...
The Blues couch has used unusual judgment in putting Tuitavakae on the wing and Toeava at centre... has given Gibson the nod over Devine... where's Nick Williams.

Final judgment? I'm going with the Crusaders, although that’s a strange setup in the backline for them... experience will win out on the day. Plus the Crusaders will be to strong up front.
laulala has played 12 before, but with the size and strength of tuitopo would be.

i got the team right?
Spot on there Woosaah, great picking there mate.
Would never have thought that they would have gone with Casey at 12... didn't even occue to me!
Hmm both have very good sides..but for the sake of my telecomvirtualsuper14 tips..i wish for auckland to win.
Hey Kimmy, have you entered the tipping comp? or try the enetering the TRF Fantasy Super 14 2007?
More the better...
Hey Kimmy, have you entered the tipping comp? or try the enetering the TRF Fantasy Super 14 2007?
More the better...
Umm i'm doing telecom virtual super14 tipping..and the tipping on here..and the foxsport.com.au fantasy super14 team.. :)
15 George Pisi
14 Doug Howlett
13 Isaia Toeava
12 Sam Tuitupou
11 Anthony Tuitavakae
10 Isa Nacewa
9 David Gibson
8 Jerome Kaino
7 Daniel Braid
6 Angus Macdonald
5 Troy Flavell (captain)
4 Greg Rawlinson
3 John Afoa
2 Derren Witconbe
1 Daimone Taumoepeau[/b]

Nuci has lost the plot :blink:

Out of all the quality players he had to choose from, he couldn't have picked a worse team.

I'm really tempted to change my tip for this one :angry:
^^^you dont know what the f*** youre talking about...just hush puppy...dont bark louder than you think you can..are you still in the mindset that necewa cant do any better?...get the hell out of here...you dont know squat bowt the blues amatuer

now back to bizzo..i like this team we have the clog in the midfield again...with tuitupou/mccalister...tuitevake/toeava/necewa/atiga...im quite happy with mccalistair on the bench...yes he is a devasting player but if you watched his recent allblacks games...he is quite greedy with that ball and his defense aint as consistant as tuitupous....tuitupou will munch up laulala..he has done it in previous blues encounters and thats why he is favoured ahead of him to graham henry...necewa at ten is nice..he can slot any and everywhere in the backline...as a ball playing 10 he will liven up the pace for the blues at set it at the same time..his pasing game is average enough to open up gaps and feed players for tries...who can complain about that???...i have no quams about tuitevake..he is either wing or centre he was a sevens star before becomin an npc one..so he is comfortable there but up against gear???...big challenge...

my only problem is toeava...still only a kid right...i havent seen him play consistantly yet but everyone in nz has seen what he can do when hes on point...taught the whole wellington backline a thing or 2 after there npc clash last year...so we will see him play hopefully in this position throughout the year...i wouldnt mind seeing him at 10 sometime
..as 4 luke see him come in to an injury or after the half..he will do some damage...just let him sit on the bench so he doesnt get ahead of himself..

Yeah the Blues backline looks OK with the exception of fullback, the Pisi brothers have never struck me as the most consistent players and Atiga has the experience at this level. Starting Tuitavake on the wing when they have a couple of specialists is strange as well.
But the stranger selections are in the loose, I really don't rate Angus McDonald and Jerome Kaino is better on the blindside than at No.8. Williams is great on attack but can be a bit suspect in defence. Looks like Nuci is doing his best to kill off Auckland Flair and introduce a more structured gameplan which will probably make for some boring rugby.

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