I originally posted this as a comment but feel it certainly deserves more honour than that.
Here’s an update (from a Kiwi point of view) on how the sides are shaping for the opening round of the Super 14 – from the physio’s table to the good and bad news as kick-off looms.
Toby Robson – The Dominion Post
In the news: Conrad Smith has osteitis pubis and may miss the first game. I want neither osteitis nor pubis, they both sound painful.
Physio’s table: Andrew Hore (ankle), aiming for week three or four. Smith (groin), Jason Kawau (ribs), both in doubt round one.
The good: The Canes’ roster is deeper than Barry White’s voice.
The bad: Deja vu’s are real, man. I’m sure I felt this confident last year, and the year before, and during the Air New Zealand Cup …
In the news: Reuben Thorne’s departure has created some ugly pre-season team sing-a-longs. Kahn Fotuali’i was an early disaster, but Corey Flynn, Corey Flynn, Corey Flynn could work.
Physio’s table: Flynn’s arms have been under 24-hour suicide watch in case they decide to break again, otherwise the Crusaders are fit.
The good: The Brett and Slade robots appear ready to replace the damaged Carter model and Crusaders marketers say they come with in-built iPods.
The bad: No Carter, no Deans, no Thorne. No Greg Somerville, no Caleb Ralph, no Scott Hamilton, no Mose Tuiali’i, no Campbell Johnstone, and finally, no Ali Williams.
In the news: He has been referred to recently as ‘The Don’. Yes, it’s first five-eighth Stephen Donald and with Dan Carter out injured he is about to be analysed to death.
Physio’s table: Incredibly for the Chiefs, none.
The good: Three pre-season wins, no injuries, a fit Sione Lauaki – strange times indeed in the Tron.
The bad: There are a lot of players you would class as inconsistent in this squad and question marks hang over the tight five.
In the news: Court sessions will never be the same under new captain Jimmy Cowan. A non- drinking sports team is good, but has been met with bemused looks at Speights HQ, while some players are concerned they may have to scull jugs of Ribena.
The good: Jayden Hayward, Johnny Leota, Fetu’u Vainikolo and Israel Dagg – quality players.
The bad: Hayden Triggs’ early season quote: “I read one article that said the Highlanders should be taken out of the competition. That just makes me laugh and it gets me angry a bit.”
Does that mean he laughs when he’s angry? Or does it mean he gets angry when he laughs?
In the news: Coach Pat Lam thought he had it all planned, but Joe Rokocoko and Jerome Kaino missed the ‘Family planning and the professional season’ memo and will miss the first three games on paternity leave.
Physio’s table: Rudi Wulf (broken wrist), four weeks. Ali Williams (back) day-to-day.
The good: Fully fit this team has most bases covered. The underrated Josh Blackie’s return from Japan.
The bad: Perth, Pretoria, Cape Town, then hosting the Sharks. It’s a tough start.
LAND OF OZ
Waratahs: Timana Tahu has learned the play book this year scoring 13 out of 15 in a written exam conducted by the backs coach. Tahu’s was the top score, which means the first-fives got at least three moves wrong. Hmmm.
Force: John Mitchell. We told you so, but would you listen, noooo, you had to just go right on and sign up ‘the bald one’ till 2011.
Reds: Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the young Reds remind him of the 1997 Crusaders. The Crusaders came sixth in 97? Is Deans calling the Reds average?
Let’s be honest. It’s damn hard getting an accurate gauge on the Jaapies. However, the Stormers, look good, the Bulls experienced, the Sharks strong, and the Cheetahs and the Lions weak. Now that’s research.Tweet