Tuesday, August 30, 2011


As we move to finals weekend for the two divisions of the ITM interprovincial rugby that was seriously compressed this year due to the RWC I will make a few comments.

Canterbury travel to Hamilton to defend their title and Hawkes Bay do battle with Manawatu in Palmy to settle the championship and promotion to the premier division for 2012.

Southland with a roller coaster ride suffer the drop to the championship next year.

With games on six days a week and sometimes a turnaround of only three days, placed serious pressure on squads and coaching staff, the result was a season very difficult to predict results.

But there was some seriously good rugby. Basically any team could beat any other and sometimes the expected winner was sat on their arse. Canterbury lost the shield to a very focussed Southland team who then gave it up to the Naki in their penultimate game and that denied Bay of Plenty their big day out. as I type this Manawatu are having their buildup to the final dealt a reality check with Otago leading 28 - 13 at 73 minutes.
Unfortunately some crowd numbers were poor but some of that would have been sheeted to the money being hoovered up by the RWC tickets.

Anyway great competition, my picks Waikato and Manawatu to win their finals.

In conclusion how would the following go at the Rugby world Cup

Full backs Ben Smith Sean Maitland
Wings Sitivini Sivivatu, Hosea Gear Patrick Osborne Luke O'Donell
Centers Robbie Fruen, Jared Payne, Phill Burliegh Kendrick Lynne.
5/8 Aaron Cruden Lima Sopoanga.
1/2 Toby Mathewson Kahn Fotoili.
8 Colin Burke Brad shields.
7 Scott Waldren, Matt Todd.
6 Karl lowe, Liam Messom
4/5 Jarrod Hoeata, Tom Donnelly, Jeremy Thrush,Josh Bekhuis.
props Wyatt Crockett, Niamaia Tialata, Jamie Mckintosh, Paea Fa'anunu
2 Hika Elliot Dane Coles.

Short of a Tighthead Prop I know.


Quintin Hogg said...

And they are all battle hardened too.
I heard a comment that there were less injuries than expected given the compressed season. That interested me as I thought the opposite would be the case.

Mort said...

some of those named are going to have great RWCs... for Fiji, Tonga or Samoa

gravedodger said...

I realise that mort it was just an attempt to create a mythical ITM side and Crockett and Gear should be with the ABs.

pdm said...

I would change Lynne and Bruleigh for Horrell and Crotty in the mid field. Change Messem for Hardy. I thought Thrush was pretty average in the games I saw and anyone of Graham, Broadhurst, or Clark would be better value. Tialata never and Faumauina got found out in some games. Smith and White from Waikato were better than both. Rutl

Southlander said...

Mackintosh? Why? Was average after a long Super 15

pdm said...

Ooops - was going to ad Rutledge at Hooker but then thought better of it.
Missed deleting all of his name tho.

Good point re MackIntosh but he would may be captain the side anyway.

gravedodger said...

My captain would be Burke he is the real deal at BOP.
Crotty is a great talent but does not fit with the modern Midfielder on size, centers are as high impact now as 7s.

Thrush made it on his very good game under pressure against Harbour as Wellington avoided relegation. Craig Clarke missed out as an unlucky, every team has at least one,
Dane Coles got the second hooker on mobility and a very good bench game history.
Donnelly got his locking berth on experience every team needs one old bugger who keeps focus and he has it in spades, hasn't had the best ITM but he wont let you down.
I have had regard for Craig Clarke's workrate after his last season here in CHC, can cover 6 in a pinch also.
I am a fan of Burliegh, dad was an unsung hero in red and black.
Tom Taylor a name to watch on breeding alone, was Warwick Taylor the ultimate midfielder?, Tom has good vision and good kick with either foot.
I guess I am in the Griz mould, we played together at Glenmark, I place high emphasis on team, loyalty and trust.
My selection was at times on rep as one of the big problems with wall to wall rugby was; 1 tv, 1 sky box, no my sky and a lover of 48 years, hoping to make 50. It was impossible to view it all.

All good fun, like 'Ted" I would need someone to blame when shit happened so would you guys be available as assistants.

What I saw of this almost surreal ITM jammed in between super 15 and RWC leaves me confident of the immediate future of NZ Rugby but the money will kill it eventually, hopefully I wont be here.

pdm said...

GD interesting comment about the midfield. Like you I did not see all of every game but bits of most but what I did see was smaller guys like Horrell and Crotty making big inroads into defences for the Frueans and other big guys to run off.

As far as Thrush is concerned if you saw the Wellington v Hawkes Bay game he was poor at best. An unlucky guy is Crosswell the Manawatu captain and blindside - like Hardy from Southland he had a huge work rate - day in day out.