sup peoples...just thought id do a little more southern hemisphere preaching by saying the most exciting rugby tournament bar world cup and the trinations is on its way...around the corner and ive to a few auckland blues training sessions to note they are looking sharp...its only up to them how they perfom and how they gonna achieve come game time anywho..being the fan i am and an intelligent observer of our great game..id like to point out that last years tournament was average interms of a kiwi spectator..to the point where it became boring(maybe coz the blues didnt perform to my liking)..anywho it is a longer season and if south africa can get there politics right maybe they can make this a more enjoyable tournament then last years. im gonna review each team of my country...ive been reading alotta articles and such and ive seen the teams and i reckon we will do well..as usual..nz have won the majority of these tournaments...keep inmind that 30 allblacks will go missing and the teams who are at larger loss are auckland and canterbury...i wouldnt worry too much bowt either though as both harness the best young talent in there provinial and lower grades... WAIKATO - always been the dark horse in this tournament,loads of talent and a pure home grown grass roots rugby style they will again push for higher accolades..take note that they won the npc and also they have not many allblacks missing...holla,lauaki,bates,anesi and other stalwarts will lift there game in the year of the worldcup..im predicting a very strong start...key players will be there loosies such as lauaki,holla and young gun messam...who some eyes has what it takes to fill the void that zinny left in the 8 jersey(well i dont think so..) i just dont think they will have a full gallon of gas at the end of this super 14comp...and also becoz they got tasesa lavea :bleh!: ...they will finish 6th CANTERBURY - they have always been known as slow starters to the comp and it will be interesting to see how slow they are seeing that they will miss two of the best players in the world in daniel carter and richie mccaw..there management team has always had the right balance when it comes to managing the team and that is one area where they have been consistant and more dominant among others...its the coaching and management team itself...with the introduction of there allblacks later on in the season i feel the defending champs will have no problems in defending there title..only come finals time..they will be amongst the top4 barring some big injuries to the main players they have got now...with the allblacks re-entering later on they will peak at the right moment it is up 2 whoever faces them in the finals to shut them down..they will finish 2nd OTAGO - yawn....lol just kidding i just feel otago isnt where its at at the moment in rugby terms,with a crap as stadium and a non-performing football team in the super12/14 tournament its gonna be a long while before they climb that ladder of success..thats the problem they are still building...developing yet none what so ever have showed much results other then giving us carl hayman and anton oliver..hey thats not bad but as a union you would want more right?...they have restricted alot of use of outside provincial players but they should have done that in the 90's...your best player will be from northshore next year and that will be nick evans..what does that say? otago will finish 7/8 AUCKLAND - it is hard to doubt our talent and our resource of young emerging footballers but easy as pie to criticise our results..yet auckland is forever growing with talent in abundance..so much so we develop them and gift them to other unions..(david smith,viliame waqueseduadua,nick evans) or overseas(carlos spencer,kees meeuws)..hmmm what is the problem???...i dont know entirely but i do know that if we dont make the finals this year then nucifora is out of here...with the returning sam tuitupou and the debutant auckland ice toeava..our backline is as fruitful as ever...well our backline has always had the juice but its down to the old cliche's in rugby...forward dominance and defence...thats all e need to do..take command from upfront and the horsepowerd courvettes at the back will do the rest...and hey guess what guys..NO LAVEA!...that solves 3 quaters of our problem... :lol2tn: ..auckland will finish 5th...if they do what i said they shoud do..dominate upfront and defend like the great wall of china we wil come 3rd.... WELLINGTON - david smith is the future..need i say more!?!..it is not a mistake that auckland let him go,better yet a blessing in disguise...the 20year old will be running off conrad smith and tana umaga..what better way to get experience then to run off a future star allblack in conrad and one of the all time greats in tana...i reckon if he ups his defence in years to come he will follow tanas steps into the midfield..no one hit the d-line as strong as smith did in this years npc..it all depends on his injuries and his game time..other then that he will do great service to wellington.as a team i rate them on par with canterbury going into next years comp...they just lack that killer blow at times...hopefully they polish off there finishing skills..they hold versitile forwards and even more versitile backs which makes them the most versitile team..all they need is proper balance and solid direction from there coaching staff and they shall do fine..wellington for 1st place theres my little take on the nz side...who wants to step up and shed somelight on there countries progress and progressions?