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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Spencers Book and AB forward packs 1998-2004 

I hear it's just flying off the shelves down in the South Island. They're short on firewood so will be using it to start their Guy Fawkes bonfires this week.

I've always had a soft spot for Carlos. I mean who in their right mind couldn't? He's one of the most gifted (with the ball in his hands) first fives the country has ever seen. In fact I'd be stunned if there was ever a player in the past 100 years that could do the things he could. And to top it off he really appears not to give a stuff about what people think about him.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight some of the comments he said in an interview with Wynne Gray regarding the AB forward pack in the last 7 or so years. This is because they kind of fit in line with my thinking of the main problem infecting the AB's performance in key games over that time.
...The All Black pack has not delivered the fear factor for seven years, Carlos Spencer believes.

"That's what we're lacking," he says in his book.

"Okay we get away with it and win some games, but in the crunch games when teams want it more than us, we're probably going to lose all the time."

The five-eighths says individual backline brilliance cannot make up for a lack of forward muscle.

And the All Blacks had been without that since 1997.

"We've had brilliant players - individuals - in the forwards, but we haven't had an eight that's been solid together and feared."
For me the AB's greatest problem over that period of time (aside from the lineout) have been that we have had no aggressive ball carriers who can get the ball over the advantage line and get any momentum which can then be transferred to the backline.

We got away with it for a while when Lomu was on the wing and could turn flat or slow ball into breaks down the sideline simply by using his size and speed. We've also continued to get away with it to an extent by having the likes of Howlett and Rocokoko out there because they can create space with their speed and agility but they aren't fucking miracle workers. And time after time when the game really counts these guys get awful ball and do nothing productive for 80 minutes. When you play weaker teams or the top sides who aren't 100% on the job then not having good quality ball doesn't matter when you have more class out wide than the opposition can cope with.

Take a look at AB forward packs since 1997 and let's highlight the good ball runners from the bad ones. That means guys who can consistently get over the advantage line in test matches v the top sides, or bust the game wide open with their bursts. I'm not talking about once in a blue moon either. I'm talking about guys who can make a break or two every game when it counts or set up excellent second phase ball 10 metres down the field (note it's just my opinion).

asterisk indicates can/could put their hand up and volunteer to run onto the ball from a ruck or maul and actually break tackles and make some ground consistently. No asterisk means in my opinion they either went missing when the ball was at the back of a ruck or had their head buried in someones arse in the aforementioned ruck or when they got their ball ran hard for 3 steps, put the hand break on and folded into the first tackler who approached them.

Loose Forwards
* i maka (hardly ever played)
* j kronfeld
* m jones (hardly played after 1997)
* r cribb (hardly ever played)
* r mcgaw
* b mika (hardly ever played)
* d mika (hardly ever played)
* j collins
t randell
t blackadder
m carter
s robertson
x rush
k vanisi
a blowers
r thorne
t flavell
m holah
d waller
s broomhall
p millar
r so'oialo
d braid
j gibbes
m tuiali'i
c newby
s harding

* r brooke
* i jones
* b thorn
r willis
n maxwell
c jack
t maling
a williams
k robinson

Front Rowers
* k mealamu
* a oliver
k meeuws
o brown
c dowd
n hewitt
c hoeft
m hammett
g feek
g somerville
g slater
c hayman
d hewitt
j mcdonnell
t willis
a hore
t woodcock
c flynn

I should note that it's shorter than it should be in the asterisk department. There are a few guys who are borderline and I'd need to study them more but I can't so nah nah nah nah nah!!!!

But anyway until we get some flucking props who can smack the ball up hard and a lock and 2 or 3 loose forwards capable of busting the line and providing the halfback with good options and then good ball we will never be the power we once were in the big, crucial tests.

We used to lose tests throughout our history, but we didn't lose the ones that counted quite as much as we do now and above is my opinion why.

We still have the best attacking backlines year in and year out. But when push comes to shove we can't get em' any decent ball.

The End

Collins can take the ball in a one-on-one situation and break the line!!

In fact his critics say that's all he does.
I agree; Collins has to be asterisked. (Did I invent a new word?)
See-moan - maybe his critics haven't seen him tackle. Or maybe they bloody JAFAs. Anyway, doesn't it show how bad things have been that there's 27 loosies and 18 front-rowers on that list - in 7 years. There's some of the bloody problem, right there. Cheers maties.
Yep, all us jafas do is complain about Collins.

Actually I think you'd be better off turning your attention southwards. Jafas never complain about anybody selected in an AB team ever. We leave that to cantabs.
oh and I'll edit Collins in as well.

this fucking election is looking a bit dodgy!
Yeah Yamis, I'd forgotten how open-minded Fafa's really are. Cantabs of course moan their arses off all the time, but so would you if you lived in Christchurch. More on the election shortly..
Shit Yamis, I called you a Fafa. Hope you'e not offended. Cheers.
fuck! another fuckin aucklander

I prefer "westie bogan" to be honest.
Appreciate the education bro, I thought bogans came from Lower Hutt. Cheers
Or "Westie Munta" is also acceptable.

The Warehouse, the Warehouse, where everyone is a bogan".
lord knows what would be unleashed should the westie jafas and the hutt valley bogans discover each others existence. we must tread carefully lest they form an unholy alliance.
how do you find the hutt? follow the black eye-liner. oh those valley girls, how do they do it?

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