NZ Vikings v Counties Manukau Cavaliers
Did the drive up to Kaiwaka to check out the NZ Vikings (Northland HP Squad) v Counties Manukau Cavaliers (HP Squad)
Counties Manukau took out the match 34-5 after leader 15-5 at halftime,6 x tries to one.
Counties Manukau were very drilled and in the main were dominant at set piece and used their big ball carriers effectively,non more than
Viliame Taulani who packed down at number 8 for CM,at 118kgs 1.91 he was human recking ball machine with ball in hand,thank got for the NZ Vikings he only played 40 minutes,his running mate in the number 6 jersey Fotu Lokotui was also great value.
In the backs Latiume Fosita controlled play expertly and outside him Cardiff Vaega was strong in contact.
All in all they were well lead by Villi Rarasea.
The visitors were also very good defensively,great line speed meeting the Vikings on the advantage line.
From a Northland piece,2 x teams were used,of the 3 halfbacks,Jono Kitto looks a good signing, has very good long pass and does a ton of talking to the forwards.
In the first half Jacob Matiu started at hooker,had one bad throw,but in the main it was a typical Matiu performance,very physical,strong on the tackle,made a big break which should have resulted in a Northland try,but one loose pass saw Cardiff Vaega swop and run 80 metres..
I was very impressed with Sean Sweetman,was one forward that carried strong into contact and got over the advantage line against a very big physical CM Pack.
Sam McNamara got through a good amount of tackling.
Young prop Devron Philips from Hikurangi looks a good a prospect,along with Isi Tu’ungafasi set a good platform in the first half.
In the backs Blake Hohaia was dangerous with ball in hand,although blotted the copy book with the odd dropsy.
Noah Cooper in the midfield did not do a whole lot wrong,laid on a beautiful grubber into the in goal area for Waylon Skipps to outpace his marker and score.
Skipps looks an interesting prospect,not a big lad,but has great feet and pace and was probably the best of the wingers ,
Would have loved to have seen him in space,what opportunities he did have looked balanced and knew how to buy time.
Not much went Shelford Murray’s way apart from catch that he spilled from the kick off after Northland had scored..coach killer.
Love the way Matt Tuatagaloa plays,another I would like to have seen with a bit more ball.
In the 2nd half like the first,CM dominated possession and when the opportunities came,they were nailed..
Leigh Bristowe a very solid fullback/Winger who played on the wing,looked strong with ball in hand,but did not see enough of it
Saw a little of the talent of Fijian under 20 captain Temo Mayanaranua,has really good hands and carries well into contact
But because the scrum was under pressure in the 2nd half,we only saw attacking play off line outs.
On a sad Note,Taniela Manu who started at number 8 clashed heads with Sean Sweetman,the thud could be heard around the ground,Manu was escorted off,but looked in very bad shape,my feel was,he could be out for a very long time.
Thoughts go out to Taniela at this time.
Hate the score line but with 2 * development 15s always a lottery. Sounds like we were overpowered. Still lackin a big ball carrying no 8 / 6 ( based on above ) and maybe the backup 1st five is still to be settled upon wth Fiane into picture...
But with the contracted guys to come back in our set piece will be a lot better and maybe backs get more ball.
@kev I was chatting to one of the parents of the CM players,apparently their squad had been together for a good deal longer and it showed,not to mention having some players with Mitre 10 Cup experience helped could not help be impressed with the big CM looseforwards..
Gainline in the modern game is everything..and Fosita who played for a couple seasons back was all class,bar his goal kicking
Be interesting to see if the experiment with Matiu as a hooker continues.
Forgot to mention,Rene Ranger will returning to the Taniwha for this years Mitre 10 Cup and the whisper is he will be signing with the Sunwolves for the 2019 season.,best of both worlds for Taniwha supporters.
taniwharugby last edited by
@steven-harris haha so unsurprisingly he was the player Wellsford had asked for transfer from France.
I think this is good, he was good value for us last year, I think sit him out at 14 and let him roam, seems Ranger has Cambridge blue blood in his veins and this is where he loves to play so seems to get the best out of him.
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@tim was always a solid, if uninspiring player for us, usually on the wing oddly enough.
But he came to us at a time when our coach was intent on importing just about any Tongan players that would come up so suffered of being stigmatized as an import for the sake of it, but he played locally and was involved locally, unlike some.
I expect being part of the Tongan team has helped him no end too.
@tim yeah he looked really comfortable at either first or 2nd five,looked like he had time..
On the subject of flankers, how did Aorangi Stokes compare to Kane Jacobson. I did not rate him highly at harbour and obviously his coaches didn't either,so I think it was a foolish play to sign him so early when we have an abundance of smaller loosies to pick from. I doubt other unions were a factor. Haven't been a huge fan of tuuingafasi so hopefully he can go well on a last chance contract.
I think we will have a lot of size at 6 this year with Tom Robinson Murray douglas both able to play there assuming all locks fit
@muddyriver Hardly noticed Jacobson during the game,certainly did not stand out,Aorangi is a real worker,played at 7 in the 2nd half,got through a bot of work but mostly from a defensive piece.
From what I have heard Tom Robinson is still injured,so lock seems to be an issue,the big South African boy Maria’s who was at lock with Sweetman looked a bit soft for my liking..
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@steven-harris yeah I like what I have seen of Stokes, seems to have a bit of mongrel too, which is always good.
Didn't really notice Jacobsen in the games I've seen.
@muddyriver I have liked guys like Aorangi Stokes and Josh Larsen last two years. Size may be a factor but we will expect Jacobsen to be a lot better than those two given quick signing.