My (poor) effort at Photoshopping Tottenham’s ‘keeper Paul Robinson in the Guardian’s competition (ninth one down). As you were.
We were out-smarted in Sydney and out-muscled in Johannesburg, and we’re calling from changes, but who is going to replace the men we have? There are one or two who may be past their used by date (it really does look like curtains for poor old Justin Marshall), but remember that we have McCaw and Robinson to return, to bolster the pack, and we still have largely the same backline that ran riot through last year’s Tri Nations. The league style backline might have to go, and a long term option at first five found, but remember that now is the time to be experimenting – not in France in three year’s time.
It seems we have to be patient again, and put our faith in three men new to the premiership. Their credentials are impressive, but it seems there are a number of factors that need to gel for improvement to come about. Spurs fans just want for the team to rise above the midtable position we’ve been occupying for a number of years, show some fight and just maybe to show the style and flair we miss so much.
The team is unbeaten this year, having survived some enourmous pressure in conditions that have not suited the new backline formation, especially in the last two games. If we’re sick to death of talking about the flat formation, I’d guess the team is even more so. They will want to prove that thier tactics are the right ones, and now they have the dry track to show what they can do.
I think the Aussies will struggle to contain the black pack, bolstered by the return of Jonno Gibbes, who have done the hard work this year with style and considerable steel. Let’s hope the backs can match thier efforts, and create some memories of this massive fixture we’ll enjoy remembering for a change.
It all seemed so rosy when the team was playing some absolutely sublime football on their way to the sharp end of the finals. But when it started to go wrong, former hero Mick Watson has been exposed as a man without a long term plan, clouding the issues in some of the thickest business-speak heard anywhere, let alone in Rugby League.
This weekend they face the Broncos, the team they have aspired to emulate. After the season they’ve had, a win won’t mean much at all.
No. With a week off while Australia and South Africa played, the debate has raged about the flat back line, and the potential disaster, pestilence and woe we face by persisting with it.
Blame France. A certain world cup semi final played out in 1999 changed rugby watching in New Zealand forever. We got carried away by the painted jet, the flash new Adidas kit, and the master stroke of including Lomu, Cullen, Wilson AND Umaga in the team at once… until ten minutes into the second half. No-one wants to be caught out like that again, so as a nation we prepare for potential soul crushing disappointment by watching the All Blacks like hawks, trying to detect weakness no matter what the results are.
If you’re confused by this, but would like to join in, try slipping these phases into your rugby debates:
1. “We need a few changes in that backline, that’s for bloody sure. Pack of girls”
2. “The Aussies are bloody good. Their backs will run all around us, it’ll be a cricket score if we’re not careful”
3. “Finally we get some mongrel in the pack, and the backs fall to bits – bloody hopeless”
4. “Carlos can’t tackle”
5. “Umaga can’t release his outsides”
6. “Marshall? Don’t even get me started”
7. “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” etc etc etc
Now relax, and smugly start picking the next All Black coach. Helen is just lucky the election has fallen in between world cups this time.
Jonah speaks frequently of his burning desire to play in black, but surely he would have been smarter to give the game up altogether while getting his health to 100%. His advisors, family, team mates and coaches should never have let him continue while his health wasn’t right, and talk of a comeback is farcical.
Get well Jonah.
Coutts is supremely focussed, won’t accept second best, is outspoken, and a winner. Like Glenn Turner and Arthur Lydiad (until recent years), this hasn’t made him popular. It’s hard to see what he’ll do next, it may be impossible for him to race in the next regatta, but Team New Zealand would have a much better chance with him (in any capacity) than without him.