The bloke disguised as a referee has taken the whistle-friendly nature of his previous guise as a netball official into the rugby arena and the sport is far worse off because of it.
It was no coincidence that the biggest cheers of the afternoon were reserved for the big budget half-time show when injured Taranaki players hoofed the ball high into the grey sky as young boys tried to catch it.
It surely had more to do with the fact they did not have to see or hear Jono Bredin blowing into his whistle for a graceful 12 minutes than anything else.
@bovidae agreed on those things. Naholo missed tackle badly for Waaka try. Thought game was won then for Waikato but some bad decisions by F Smith and the loss of Roe's cool tactical head cost them. Mcwhannell was great but whole tight five were very effective.
One of the intriguing things about this season is highlighted by Daryl Gibson's own words:
"He's really lifted training, obviously having the All Black captain in our team is a real lift for our players. Certainly to see him train at the intensity he trains at for our younger players and even our senior pros, to know that's the level you've got to be at if you want to be at the very best." (Source: Rugby: All Blacks skipper Sam Cane charts return to rugby after long layoff )
While you'd expect the All Blacks captain to lift standards at training, the couple of pre-lockdown training sessions I stumbled across looked relatively chilled. To be fair, not every session can be run at 100%, but so far it's not looking good on the park against better prepared teams.
The coaching team can genuinely point to injuries. I suppose it's hard to know how much preparation comes into some injuries, or not.
@j77 the gutting thing for me is that over the past 5 or 10+ years, we have shown glimpses of what we are capable of, yet we simply dont kick on.
It is like our Coaches/Board are happy with mediocrity, although, most of the time, we are under that.
We have so many talented kids coming out of our region, but with our poor coaching and lack of success of getting only the very best into super teams, why would a young kid with a big future come back here?
ALready heard of a Northland kid out of St Kents who has been picked up by one of the crusaders vaccums, then you look over the Auckland side and see there are 3 or 4 from up here, even the b side there are more again...guys we could desperately use.
Sure we get some of Aucklands overflow too, but often they are surplus for a reason.
If my kid was looking at signing with an NPC team, I'd be steering him toward another province...I'd hate that!
THis new HP Centre will be great, but if we cant match it with on field performance, it will be pointless.
While it was great to make the final last year, for me, it was the worst thing that could happen, it papered over the huge cracks in our coaching team, and squad selection.
I think a few players may have rested on thier laurels form last year, but equally, the coaches need to take the heat for not looking at the squad and seeing the gaps.
The only real ones they plugged were Reihana and Hallam-Eames, and he was only a last minute one, so probably more luck than good planning.
As I said to @Steven-Harris he needs to get on the NRU books as a scout in the Auckland and NH comps, he watches a ton more rugby than most, is passionate about his Union, and like me, I bet he'd do it for free too!
When you look at our squad, they have the core of a very good side, one that could be knocking at the top 4 side in the Premiership with Olsen, Goodhue, Caird, Robinson, Nock, Gregory, Tua (if he werent made of glass) and then build around them, add the likes of Hyland, Hallam-Eames, Macilai, Wright, Rush, Pryor and there is no reason why we should not be finals contendors in the Championship, pushing for promotion, but it is the average players they put elsewhere and lack of preparation, coaching, and we have 2 50 pointers over us and 2 red cards in 2 weeks...