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Round One: W Force v Highlanders

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Dumbo

Guest
On paper this should be clearly the game to watch (maybe the Chiefs v Brumbies, Cheetahs v Stormers or the Sharks v Bulls would be up there but for Kiwi supports this should be the game to watch).

Why?

The Highlanders will (fingers crossed) field Evans and Ryan, both where missed last year and it will be great to see them back on the field.
The Force however have some pretty handy inclusions to select from and this really could be their year to shine.

I’m giving the Highlanders a slight edge mainly to being extremely biased.

Highlanders touring squad:
Backs: Craig Clare, Glen Horton, Viliame Waqseduadua, Greg Zampach, Matthew Saunders, Lucky Mulipola, Jason Kawau, Aaron Bancroft, Callum Bruce, Nick Evans, Charlie Hore, Jimmy Cowan, Toby Morland
Forwards: Craig Newby, Ezra Taylor, Josh Blackie (captain), Alando Soakai, Hoani MacDonald, Filipo Levi, James Ryan, Kane Thompson, Clarke Dermody, Chris King, Keith Cameron, Jamie Mackintosh, Jason MacDonald, David Hall
 
T

The TRUTH

Guest
What better way to kick off the opening day of the season then with a blockbuster match between two of the worlds best teams, the Otago Highlanders and the mighty Western Force ;)

Well the Highlanders will head to Perth without the services of only two of Henry's rested AB's, but those two men make up two thirds of the worlds best provincial front row, the cornerstone of this Otago team. Thats a massive loss right there!, they only have 8 AB's as it is.... and most of those are fringe players.

But on the bight side, Nick Evans is back. Last year, it was no coincidence that when Evans went down with an injury, the Highlanders went from looking like a possible finals contender to a bunch of pretenders. You can never underestimate the importance of a quality fly-half in the Super14... just look at all the previous winners.... it's key that he stays injury free.

So they're without Hayman and Oliver, but they have Evans back....

They've picked up Waqa, but they let Blair and Kahui go...

They did manage to keep hold of all their talented young forwards... but, all in all, i dont see much improvement in their squad from last year.



The Force on the other hand have added some serious class to their team, signing guys like Giteau,Mitchell and Cross, without losing anyone of any worth.

All the players we lost to injury last year(like half our bloody team)are fit and ready to play this weekend(with the exception of MacKay).

The big question is what will Mitchell do with all the quality backs he has at his disposal....... which combination suits the team best?.

Is it...

A.
9.Henjak
10.Hilgendorf
11.Ioane
12.Giteau
13.Staniforth
14.Mitchell
15.Shepherd

B.
9.Henjak
10.Giteau
11.Ioane
12.Stani
13.Cross/Pelesasa
14.Mitchell
15.Shepherd

C.
9.Henjak
10.Hilgendorf
11.Stani
12.Gitz
13.Cross/Pelesasa
14.Mitchell
15.Shep

The only selections that seem certain are [email protected],[email protected] and Mitchell on the wing.

I'd prefer lineup B but i wont be too dissapointed if it's A

I just dont wanna see Staniforth on the wing, he was a revelation in the centre for us last year, plus i think he lacks the pace to be a threat from way out there anymore. Ioane is the man for that last wing spot.... this is his year to shine.


No points for guessing who i'm tipping in this game.
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
Like the looks of the 'A' team you've listed.
Infact realy like the looks of that line up.

The Force should be highly competitive in the forwards as well... could be a good start for the boys from WA.
 
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dobrien7

Guest
Got to lean towards Force on paper, plus how the hell can you pick in the first round other than home teams anyway?
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
And how can you pick if you don't know who's in the bloody team!... speculative.
 
R

riders of the storm

Guest
I'm tipping the Force in this one, but not by very much. The Highlanders are a very different side when Nick Evans is playing. I think with him, it'll be a very tough game for the Force. I'll go with them because their backline is looking very good. Force by 6.
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
Agree with Riders, the Highlanders are a different side with Evans calling the shots.
His performance (as he's been missing in action) and how Mitchell is going to orchestrate his backline that are some of the selling points for this game.
 
T

The TRUTH

Guest
From what i read in the paper today, it sounds like the Force backline will lineup like this...

9.Henjak
10.Hilgendorf
11.Stani - <_<
12.Gits - will move to 10 at some point
13.Cross - Keep your eyes on him!
14.Shep
15.Mitchell - would rather have Shep at 15 but these two will rotate throughout the game

20.O'Young
21.Pelesasa - he'll tear it up when he gets a chance
22.Ioane :wall:
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
Strange back line combo from force... thought Ioane would have made the wing easily?
Mitchell at 15?

Strange days indeed.
 
T

The TRUTH

Guest
Strange back line combo from force... thought Ioane would have made the wing easily?
Mitchell at 15?

Strange days indeed.
[/b]

Forget what i just said

I just read another article that says Giteau will be play flyhalf this week...

Giteau a pivotal Force in backline

By Bret Harris

January 30, 2007 AUSTRALIA utility back Matt Giteau is expected to make his debut for Western Force at five-eighth when it plays the Highlanders in the opening round of the Super 14 season in Perth on Friday night.

Giteau has spent most of his career with the Brumbies and Wallabies at inside centre, but he was successfully trialled at halfback on Australia's tour of Europe last November.

Many observers believe Giteau's best position is five-eighth and this may be the role that suits him the most at the Force.

Force has assembled a talented group of backs, but may require a player of Giteau's experience to guide them around the park.

Giteau has resisted playing five-eighth because of the responsibility of executing highly structured game plans but is more comfortable in the position when he can play instinctively.

He played five-eighth successfully in the win against Samoa in the Force's trial match in Perth on Friday and The Australian understands he is being seriously considered in that position against the Highlanders.

The features of his game were his work behind the ball, strong left-foot kicking and sniping runs.

Force's regular five-eighth last year, James Hilgendorf, missed the Samoan trial because of a groin injury, although he should be available for the Highlanders game.

The pairing of Giteau and his close friend Matt Henjak could help turn around the talented halfback's form after his disappointing season last year.

Junior Pelesasa played well at inside centre against Samoa, but the Force has the option of playing Scott Staniforth at inside centre.

Staniforth made a good fist of the position when he was moved there from the wing last season and finished the year playing in the No.12 jersey for the Wallabies against Scotland at Murrayfield.

He would form a big, powerful midfield combination with rugby league convert Ryan Cross, who is almost certain to start at outside centre.

Drew Mitchell is set to start at full back with Cameron Shepherd on one wing and Digby Ioane and the vastly improved Haig Sare competing for the other flank.

The Force's forward pack is reasonably predictable. Gareth Hardy, Brendan Cannon and Troy Takiari are expected to form the front row with captain Nathan Sharpe and Rudi Vedelago packing down in the second row.

Number eight Scott Fava and blindside flanker David Pusey are likely to form a back row combination with openside flanker Richard Brown, although David Pocock and Matt Hodgson are believed to be under serious consideration[/b]

So it sounds like it's...

9.Henjak
10.Giteau
11.Ioane
12.Staniforth
13.Cross
14.Shepherd
15.Mitchell

20.O'Young
21.Hilgendorf
22.Pelesasa

I LIKE IT!
 
W

Wally

Guest
<div class='quotemain'>
Strange back line combo from force... thought Ioane would have made the wing easily?
Mitchell at 15?

Strange days indeed.
[/b]

Forget what i just said

I just read another article that says Giteau will be play flyhalf this week...

Giteau a pivotal Force in backline

By Bret Harris

January 30, 2007 AUSTRALIA utility back Matt Giteau is expected to make his debut for Western Force at five-eighth when it plays the Highlanders in the opening round of the Super 14 season in Perth on Friday night.

Giteau has spent most of his career with the Brumbies and Wallabies at inside centre, but he was successfully trialled at halfback on Australia's tour of Europe last November.

Many observers believe Giteau's best position is five-eighth and this may be the role that suits him the most at the Force.

Force has assembled a talented group of backs, but may require a player of Giteau's experience to guide them around the park.

Giteau has resisted playing five-eighth because of the responsibility of executing highly structured game plans but is more comfortable in the position when he can play instinctively.

He played five-eighth successfully in the win against Samoa in the Force's trial match in Perth on Friday and The Australian understands he is being seriously considered in that position against the Highlanders.

The features of his game were his work behind the ball, strong left-foot kicking and sniping runs.

Force's regular five-eighth last year, James Hilgendorf, missed the Samoan trial because of a groin injury, although he should be available for the Highlanders game.

The pairing of Giteau and his close friend Matt Henjak could help turn around the talented halfback's form after his disappointing season last year.

Junior Pelesasa played well at inside centre against Samoa, but the Force has the option of playing Scott Staniforth at inside centre.

Staniforth made a good fist of the position when he was moved there from the wing last season and finished the year playing in the No.12 jersey for the Wallabies against Scotland at Murrayfield.

He would form a big, powerful midfield combination with rugby league convert Ryan Cross, who is almost certain to start at outside centre.

Drew Mitchell is set to start at full back with Cameron Shepherd on one wing and Digby Ioane and the vastly improved Haig Sare competing for the other flank.

The Force's forward pack is reasonably predictable. Gareth Hardy, Brendan Cannon and Troy Takiari are expected to form the front row with captain Nathan Sharpe and Rudi Vedelago packing down in the second row.

Number eight Scott Fava and blindside flanker David Pusey are likely to form a back row combination with openside flanker Richard Brown, although David Pocock and Matt Hodgson are believed to be under serious consideration[/b]

So it sounds like it's...

9.Henjak
10.Giteau
11.Ioane
12.Staniforth
13.Cross
14.Shepherd
15.Mitchell

20.O'Young
21.Hilgendorf
22.Pelesasa


I LIKE IT!
[/b][/quote]

Defiantely the backline to go with for my money. I don't know how blokes like Pelesasa and Ioane can justify shooting off to the other side for Australia if they're not getting a run week in week out. They've left the Reds backline weak as ****. F**king Force.
 
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GAYPRACTOR101

Guest
no mapusua for the highlanders...they will lose unless there forwards dominate and overwhelm the force forwards...the only promise i see from the highlanders i see is waqueseduadua..he is like caucau minus the supremely giant legs...highlanders gonna need more then evans thats for sure
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
That's a fair and fairly despressing observation, yup not much experiance their for the highlanders in 12 and 13.

But havn't seen much of the new guys so fingers crossed.
 
R

riders of the storm

Guest
The Force have named their team to face the Highlanders on Friday night.

1. Gareth Hardy 2. Brendan Cannon 3. Troy Takiari 4. Rudi Vedelago 5. Nathan Sharpe © 6. David Pusey 7. Richard Brown 8. Scott Fava 9. Matt Henjak 10. James Hilgendorf 11. Cameron Shepherd 12. Matt Giteau 13. Ryan Cross 14. Scott Staniforth 15. Drew Mitchell

16. Tai McIsaac 17. Angus Scott 18. Luke Doherty 19. David Pocock 20. Chris O’Young 21. Junior Pelesasa 22. Haig Sare.
 
T

The TRUTH

Guest
The Force have named their team to face the Highlanders on Friday night.

1. Gareth Hardy 2. Brendan Cannon 3. Troy Takiari 4. Rudi Vedelago 5. Nathan Sharpe © 6. David Pusey 7. Richard Brown 8. Scott Fava 9. Matt Henjak 10. James Hilgendorf 11. Cameron Shepherd 12. Matt Giteau 13. Ryan Cross 14. Scott Staniforth 15. Drew Mitchell

16. Tai McIsaac 17. Angus Scott 18. Luke Doherty 19. David Pocock 20. Chris O’Young 21. Junior Pelesasa 22. Haig Sare.
[/b]


No Ioane? :rahh:

No Hodgson? :rolleyes:

You better win this bloody game Mitch!
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
Highlanders squad.
1. Chris King
2. Jason Macdonald
3. Clarke Dermody
4. Kane Thompson
5. James Ryan
6. Hoani MacDonald
7. Josh Blackie ©
8. Craig Newby
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Callum Bruce
11. Viliame Waqaseduadua
12. Jason Kawau
13. Matthew Saunders
14. Lucky Mulipola
15. Craig Clare

Reserves
16. David Hall
17. Jamie Mackintosh
18. Alando Soakai
19. Toby Morland
20. Charlie Hore
21. Greg Zampach

Bugger... no Nick Evans???
 
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GAYPRACTOR101

Guest
like i sed they gonna need more then evans...and look hes not even playing...fantastic..barring a catostrophe on behalf of the force...the force should win this...
 
D

Dumbo

Guest
I know this has been already listed but being old and having the attention span of a gold fish I prefer to see things in the following format;

Head to Head:
Western Force:
1. Gareth Hardy
2. Brendan Cannon
3. Troy Takiari
4. Rudi Vedelago
5. Nathan Sharpe ©
6. David Pusey
7. Richard Brown
8. Scott Fava
9. Matt Henjak
10. James Hilgendorf
11. Cameron Shepherd
12. Matt Giteau
13. Ryan Cross
14. Scott Staniforth
15. Drew Mitchell

Res.
16. Tai McIsaac
17. Angus Scott
18. Luke Doherty
19. David Pocock
20. Chris O’Young
21. Junior Pelesasa
22. Haig Sare

Highlanders:
1. Chris King
2. Jason Macdonald
3. Clarke Dermody
4. Kane Thompson
5. James Ryan
6. Hoani MacDonald
7. Josh Blackie ©
8. Craig Newby
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Callum Bruce
11. Viliame Waqaseduadua
12. Jason Kawau
13. Matthew Saunders
14. Lucky Mulipola
15. Craig Clare

Reserves
16. David Hall
17. Jamie Mackintosh
18. Alando Soakai
19. Toby Morland
20. Charlie Hore
21. Greg Zampach

Front row: I think there pretty even really, Cannon's got the experience but so has Dermody. Should be a good battle anyway.
Locks: Sharpe vs Ryan, great match up... thinking things are pretty even there too.
Lose Forwards: Going with the Highlanders there as Blackie and Newby are a good combo.
Half's: Henjak vs Cowan is pretty even (I'll give Cowen the nod over Henjak) and Hilgendorf vs Bruce... don't underestimate Bruce... not a lot of experience but playing full time in the roll of 1st5 last year will have done him good (again pretty even with Hilgendorf getting the nod).
Centres: Comes crashing down here for the Highlanders though as both their centres are not the most experienced...
Outside backs: Big advantage to the Force here as well... keep an eye on Waqaseduadua though as he can embarrass any team's defence.

OK, know that I've seen the head to head I'm going for a shock win for the Highlanders. Why? If their forwards can shut the Force out then the potent Force's backline may not be the dominating factor in the game.

But it's speculative...
 
G

GAYPRACTOR101

Guest
11. Viliame Waqaseduadua


fantastic player to watch live!!!...moneys worth here when hes got ball!!!
 
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