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Waikato vs. Taranaki

Larksea

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The Waikato team is
1. Toby Smith
2. Aled de Malmanche
3. Nathan White (Captain)
4. Toby Lynn
5. Romana Graham
6. Matt Vant Leven
7. Marty Holah
8. Rory Grice
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
10. Stephen Donald
11. Declan O'Donnell
12. Jackson Willison
13. Save Tokula
14. Henry Speight
15. Trent Renata

Reserves:
16. Marcel Cummings-Toone/ Ted Tauroa, 17. Ben May, 18. Jack Lam, 19. Chris Middleton, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Sam Christie, 22. Tim Mikkelson, 23. Latu Talakai

No Alex Bradley but I still expect Waikato to win this home game. Waikato will still be a force in the loose without him, Matt Vant Leven and Marty Holah were both very impressive and will get to see 2010 NZ U20 rep Rory Grice at #8.

Havn't see the Naki team yet.
 
TARANAKI
Andre Taylor, Waisake Naholo, Isaia Tuifua, Jayden Hayward, Jackson Ormond, Beauden Barrett, Tyson Keats, Samuela Vunisa, Scott Waldrom, Ben Souness, Craig Clarke (c), Jason Eaton, Michael Bent, Laurence Corlett, Carl Carmichael. Res: Timo Tutavaha, Shane Cleaver, Blade Thomson, Chris Walker, Brett Goodin, Jack Cameron, Willie Rickards, Willie Ioane.
 
Strong looking Waikato team, they should definately start the match as favourites. Taranaki looks to have a pretty good forward pack, but they probably don't have as good a back line as Waikato. It is good to see Grice get a start for Waikato; I thought he was the pick of the NZ loose-trio during the 2010 JWC, with his pace from the back of the scrum very impressive.
 
Keats is a glaring weak link in this team. I wish he would just bugger off already.
 
What's Chiefs tighthead Nathan White like as a player? I believe he's just signed for Leinster.

A very solid player. He does the basics pretty well: He is a good (but not a great) scrummager, lifts well in the lineouts, and is a solid defender. I think he lacks a bit of mobility around the park - he probably doesn't make as many tackles a lot of props, and doesn't get the ball in his hands that often. He is the sort of player that will never standout for your team, but he will never let your team down (I don't think I've ever seen him have a poor game). The Chiefs (and Waikato) will certainly miss him if this signing is confirmed.
 
there were a few games last year when White was a spectator to the game going on around him as he bumbled between scrums for the chiefs as he was out on his feet and it cost the chiefs dearly - I think his fittness was just in the dumps at the time. He's pretty good in the scrums and can come up withs some suprising plays at times when his fitness is good.

Well done naki

Waikato seemed to lose structure during the 2nd half and Donald getting injured didn't help. No suprise that the two trys that naki scored were from linebreaks through an Area Donald would normally patrol on defence.

I'm not saying it affected the result but it affected the game for sure. The ref was shocking at the breakdown. Allowing players to attack the ball from the side and off their feet and without releasing the tackled player. I think it did benefit the naki overall because they attacked more at the breakdown through Scott Waldrum. Best example of what I'm talking about was in the 78th min when Waikato were awarded a scrum when it clearly should have been a penalty to Taranaki (against Holah). Turned it into a type of game you'd just rather not have the ball. many other examples like that in the game that were just straight up bad refing, making it really hard for a team to string phases together.
 
Larksea who do you think will be your next pet player out of Waikato now it looks like Donnie is off (and given Kahui hardly plays)? I have a feeling your views on Cruden might do a 180 once he starts pulling on the Chiefs shirt.
 
With no semis or finals the points board and how it works becomes more important, Taranaki have the same points as Waikato (5) Taranaki once again beat Waikato but are listed below Waikato on the table, does this mean anything, is it points, then differential? Or as I believe it should be points, wins, differential in which case Taranaki should be above Waikato on the table, can someone please clarify
 
With no semis or finals the points board and how it works becomes more important, Taranaki have the same points as Waikato (5) Taranaki once again beat Waikato but are listed below Waikato on the table, does this mean anything, is it points, then differential? Or as I believe it should be points, wins, differential in which case Taranaki should be above Waikato on the table, can someone please clarify
I think there is a straight final for the top teams from the round robin.
 
Larksea who do you think will be your next pet player out of Waikato now it looks like Donnie is off (and given Kahui hardly plays)? I have a feeling your views on Cruden might do a 180 once he starts pulling on the Chiefs shirt.

I'm not sure what you mean?

I think Cruden is a good player but I think all the hype over him is a bit much. As far as young 10's in NZ go there is a mind blowing amount of young tallent. Cruden was the first to come through that U20 WC with a lot of exposure but there have been a few since. I think his battle with cancer lifted his profile somewhat too.

Cruden
Slade
Anscombe
Tom Taylor
Tyler Bleyendaal
Dan Waenga was super impressive for the steamers last night though his age (about 26?) kinda puts him in another catagory with the others mostly under 23.

Looking at that list I dont think Crudens place as a Future All Black regular 10 is that assured. He's a great little play maker but his size will always be a limiting factor compared to these other guys.

Waikato has Trent Renata obviously. He's had an ok start to NPC level over the last couple of years but he still has a fair way to go - maybe not quite ready for S15 next year.

As far as the chiefs go Dan Waenga would be a good investment for next season if he keeps that great form from last night up. Waikato's defence last night was woefull - holes all over it.

As far as the "next big thing" from Waikato goes I really think Toby Smith is a guy who Could go all the way. about 23 years old 190cm tall, over 110kg and I think he's already better in the scrum than Ben May and Sona Taumalolo, I think he's even better than White as well. Plus he can pack down either side, pick and go & defend as good as anyone. He's really got it all - a smart coach would pick him in the All Blacks for 2012.

barlow is another one who has some freakish skills, just needs to learn when to use them and when to play the safe option.

Waikato was a joke last night though. some individuels were good but the team as a whole just looked like a bunch of guys playing together for the first time - and without a gameplan.
 

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