Who Will Be The All Blacks Number 10s At The Rugby World Cup?

The All Blacks first five curse looks set to haunt them with news that Aaron Cruden‘s serious knee injury could rule him out of the tournament which begins in September. It seems all too familar with the All Blacks seemingly having an embarrassment of riches at the 2007, 2011 and now 2015 Rugby World Cups before a series of unfortunate injuries to candidates left them having to recall Stephen The Beaver Donald to get them home in 2011, should The Beaver be given an SOS?

It sounds rather dramatic at this stage, but when you consider that Aaron Cruden was probably the likely first choice with Beauden Barrett the most versatile man off the bench, suddenly it leaves you wondering about such great depth. Add into the mix a slightly over the hill Dan Carter and an injury prone Colin Slade who has already signed to leave New Zealand rugby after the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the cupboard seems a little bare. Tom Taylor would have been a reliable back up, but he is also going to Europe and you wonder at the merit of picking him ahead of more promising options.

It could be left up to good Super Rugby players like Lima Sopoaga, Ihaia West and Damian McKenzie to step up to the mark despite never playing at international level before.

If Carter and Cruden aren’t up to it, Barrett could start with Slade coming off the bench, while a third string player like Sopoaga, McKenzie or even Ihaia West could fill the void in an easy pool game at the Rugby World Cup. Continue reading Who Will Be The All Blacks Number 10s At The Rugby World Cup?

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Super 15 Rugby Round 10 Review – 10 Things We Learnt

Super Rugby Round 10 produced some interesting results, here are ten things we learnt from Super Rugby Round 10.

1) Don’t be afraid to pick upsets – Super Rugby is a tough competition, with even the bottom teams having enough good players to beat better ranked teams on any given day.  As a tipster of some repute, I sometimes find myself being too conservative by mainly picking favourites despite having a gut feeling about some matches as being potential banana skins.  Approximately one in three matches have been upsets in Super Rugby 2015 meaning that tipsters shouldn’t be afraid to tip two or three upsets per round.  The key is picking the correct upset.  For the record, there were three upsets in Super Rugby Round 10 with wins for the Waratahs, Reds and Rebels.

2)  The average winning margin in Super Rugby Round 10 was the lowest of the competition so far, with an average winning margin of only 6.9 points.  Six of the seven losers grabbed a bonus point for finishing within seven points.

3) There was only one home victory in Super Rugby Round 10, this hasn’t happened since Round 1 and means that under fifty percent of games have been won by the home team in Super Rugby 2015.  This statistic is a change from 71 percent of home team victories in 2014, but could have something to do with less home referees. Continue reading Super 15 Rugby Round 10 Review – 10 Things We Learnt

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Which Rugby Stars Would You Like To See Playing Rugby Sevens in Rio 2016?

The Rio Olympic Games in 2016 provides rugby players with the rare opportunity to win an Olympic Gold medal with the inclusion of rugby sevens.  Sevens is similar, but different to the game of rugby XVs, but it will be interesting to see how many XVs stars switch to sevens for a shot at Olympic glory.  Which rugby stars would you like to see at Rio 2016?

It will be great to see some All Blacks involved, although it is difficult to know which ones will be available.  It is understood that Beauden Barrett, Liam Messam, Julian and Ardie Savea are keen, while Sonny Bill Williams will surely be keen to add to his CV which includes a Rugby World Cup, NRL and Super Rugby titles.  While it would be great to have some more All Blacks like Julian Savea, Malakai Fekitoa, Rene Ranger, Hosea Gear, Ben Smith and Israel Dagg or what about young Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder? It will be interesting because the All Blacks are facing a mass exodus of players for 2016 as it is, so they won’t want to lose too many players for the international season.

It looks like Aaron Cruden and Kieran Read won’t be in the Rio sevens as they seem to have chosen XVs.

In other teams, it would be great to see Manu Tuilagi and rugby league convert Sam Burgess playing for England.

Continue reading Which Rugby Stars Would You Like To See Playing Rugby Sevens in Rio 2016?

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