Rugby from a land down under - International Season
The All Blacks thump Tonga whilst the French touchdown in Australia!
In Australia, the Waratahs have a new coach. A key player is moving on and the French have arrived.
In New Zealand, the All Blacks had a run out winning 102-nil over Tonga. The Maori beat Samoa for the second week running 38-21.
The start of the international program is heralded by the challenges and Haka’s, from the Pacific Island nations. Some feel they shouldn’t be allowed. For me I think they are a magnificent spectacle, a statement of intent. I can remember watching the All-Blacks Haka when they toured England. The crowd respectfully quiet, then a crescendo of noise to start the game.
For All-Blacks read All Depth. A squad that can boast Mo’unga and Barrett as 10’s, and a host of young talented backs, reflects a production line that is in the national DNA. The forwards equally dynamic are young and hungry to support.
If Team Play is……
“Using the ball is a blend of understanding with attitude; of team awareness with individual virtuosity; of practised patterns with spontaneous reaction. The blending is elusive and short-lived”.
The depth of talent ensures that by changing the team, the blend will offer a broader performance, a different emphasis, new problems for the opposition.
The Tongans, hastily put together, offered little.
The double header at Mount Smart stadium, Auckland, ensured one of the two games might be competitive. The second Maori v Samoa game was played very much like the first. Samoa were competitive and confrontational, but Kiwi players move the ball and use the width of the field; it is hard to find someone to be confrontational with. Still, it was exciting as an aperitif.
My plea for the Pacific Island Nations to play in the Trans-Tasman competition needs a push from supporters. Samoans, Fijians, and Tongans are colourful happy people and if you choose the right music, will dance, and entertain, even if their team can’t.
Next week Samoa v Tonga in a World Cup qualifier, and The All-Blacks play Fiji.
The NSW Waratahs have a new coach, Darren Coleman, a local coach from the Shute Shield competition, where he has had success. A 3-year contract will ensure he has time to recruit and develop a winning team.
He will be taking over a winless team, so he can’t lose. Win one game and you’re a hero.