robdylan

Blues to be harder up front, softer at the back


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 3 Mar 2009 at 15:36
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It looks as though there is some mixed news on the injury front for the Blues as they prepare to meet the Sharks at Eden Park this weekend.

The big news is that monster lock Ali Williams will probably be back in action this week. The former Blues stalwart spent a season down in “Title Town” last year, learning how to win trophies with the Crusaders. He’s back in Auckland now, though and will look to add some serious grunt to a second row that is crying out for some experience. Kurtis Haiu and Antony Boric have done a reasonable job, but with Williams in the mix, the Blues tight five starts to take on a pretty menacing look, with John Afoa, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Williams all seasoned All Black veterans. Williams’ little brother, Jay, will also be available for selection if required, meaning we could potentially have three Williamses on the field, with right wing Paul not obviously related to the other two. I guess it’s true what they say about the Welsh, then…

Jerome Kaino, Josh Blackie and Justin Collins are a well-balanced and dangerous loose trio as well and could pose some problems for the Deysel-less Sharks, particularly at the tackle-ball situation. Any talk of playing Steve Sykes at blindside flank will hopefully disappear, though, given that the hard Marlow-man’s grunt will be sorely needed up front, now that Williams is back in the fold.

The Blues have been dealt a cruel blow amongst the backs, though, with flyhalf Tasesa Lavea joining inside centre Benson Stanley on the long-term injured list. Rookie Jamie Heleur will partner either the journeyman Jimmy Gopperth, or the highly rated young Jock Hobbs in an untried 10-12 combination. The Sharks, by comparison, are starting to look pretty dangerous amongst the inside backs with Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn finding a number of good ways to bust through the middle against the Chiefs. Expect more of the same, should the Sharks manage anything resembling decent ball from the forwards.

It’s going to be an exciting tussle, all right.



23 Comments

  • we’ll take these guys. I think we just have a little bit too much all-round class

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.03.09 15:52:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • Ya, without diesel deysel we are a bit light in the loose :sad:

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.03.09 15:53:27 by rekinek Reply
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  • good thing that I’ve resisted shouting I AM FIRST ON THIS TREAD – missed by seconds

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.03.09 15:54:38 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 3) : dragons? :)

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.03.09 15:57:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : :mrgreen: neeee please neee :roll: in my defence – I resisted :wink:

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.03.09 16:15:27 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 2) :

    Ja but with Daniel you have a great back-up IMO! He may be light but he makes up for it with speed and inteligent play. Deysel against the blues will not be as effective anyway IMO because Deysel tries to bust over guys while Daniel will take the gaps. Blues can tackle!

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.03.09 16:44:23 by JT-www.rugby-innsbruck.at Reply

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  • @JT-www.rugby-innsbruck.at (Comment 6) : nothing against Daniel – he is good. I am more worried about balance, I’d rather have big & strong + light and quick than just light & quick X2 and jb & kanko are not soo big that tacklers fall of them.

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.03.09 16:52:50 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 7) : I reckon we’ve got to play smart here. Start with Keegan and JB, sure, but at least have a bigger option on the bench (Downey) in case things go pear.

    Or, how about my old favourite. Albert vd Berg at 7… I wonder if he’s fit?

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.03.09 16:57:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : I know nothing about Downey, but in any event I would start with Keegan because of experience. Oom Albert is in the same category as Daniel really, maybe more experienced but slower.

    In ideal world we would have somebody bigger to cover for deysel and keegan and jb can take turns.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.03.09 17:12:26 by rekinek Reply
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  • Okay hands up all those who voted we won’t win all three of our remaining tour matches. :evil:

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.03.09 17:41:58 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @rekinek (Comment 9) : well, that’s why I’m backing Downey. He’s a similar player to Keegan, just a LOT bigger (1.94m and 105kg as opposed to 1.85m and 90kg)

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.03.09 17:41:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : sorry :(

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.03.09 17:42:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • Is there some hidden meaning behind “Snork.Snork.BULLE”?

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.03.09 17:55:47 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 13) :

    Just Rob’s way of pointing out the least clever pick on the poll. :razz: (I think)

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.03.09 18:00:05 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : korrek

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.03.09 18:05:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : How about Bismark playing flanker, his workrate was fantastic on Saturday and it gives the loosies a bit of bulk…….OK let me have it….but I still think it’s not such a bad idea

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.03.09 08:38:36 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 16) : Loosehead actually suggested that a few days ago.

    Problem is, it’s a little bit like shuffling the deck-chairs on the Titanic. In order to shore up a hole in the back row, you nullify our front-row depth, which is one of our key attacking strengths.

    The “official” Verusco stats would have you believe that young Bis missed 10 tackles on Saturday as well…

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.03.09 08:50:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : I’m not normally keen on playing people out of position I just worried about how light the Sharks loose trio seems. Don’t know much about Downey , so can;t really say. I only watched the Sharks/chiefs game last night knowing the score and those last 10 min minutes had me on the edge of my seat. What fantastic defence , the guys really stuck at it even with the jetlag. I do feel sorry for the Chiefs , but what the hell. GO Sharks. I suppose looking back at that game Keegan did well and doesn’t really deserve to be dropped . Also noticed how much better our scrum was once Smit came on.

    Sorry guys haven’t had time to blog(or read) , so I’m hoping I’m not repeating what has already been said.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.03.09 09:07:44 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : Also Kanko seems to have bounced off a lot of attackers ( ala Spies?)

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.03.09 09:09:43 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) : Jeez there must have been a lot of sore bodies on Sunday ater that game.

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.03.09 09:10:42 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 20) :

    I reckon…watched the highlights again yesterday afternoon…the guys were FINISHED when the final whistel blew – but that defence was fantastic commitment from the teams side…it made me real proud! :grin:

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.03.09 09:20:49 by Ice (you can leave your hat on!) Reply
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  • like a hedgehog.

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.03.09 14:44:15 by try time Reply

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  • lets be serious though, the blues have now had three vastly different starting lineups. they have jet lag, and they have new players that are going to mess the starting lineup and consistency. so putting it simply, if the sharks lose this they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.03.09 14:48:47 by try time Reply

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