Random thoughts on Ireland's Heartbreak last night.
World cup winning skipper needs to reassess.
He is slowing down but just as other great ABs have, he can compensate with cunning and experience McCaw is showing signs time is the next enemy not Ireland next weekend.
He has dropped a gather and/or lost the ball in contact more times in the two tests against Ireland than all his games in last years RWC.
Maybe an eye check or is his body just signaling the effects of his enormous exposure to the cumulative damage.
I can see no part for Captain Fantastic in three years time other than as a mentor.
Sam Cane and Matt Todd are up for it so maybe Hansen needs to act.
I hate the word or the sentiment behind "player rotation" but the current high impact and increasingly fast game coupled with a long season demands it. Player substitution laws are being used by coaches with increasing effect, although the tried and true results from stability of selection still proves to be of major benefit, adaptability is part of the modern game. Loose forwards and midfield backs are at greatest risk of impact injury and burnout but with the modern game demanding even wings to enter rucks to secure possession and turnover, impact damage is a problem for all.
Head trauma and the Steve Devine doco must be giving concerns to those who love the game, Thompson and Read were damaged last night, Dagg's aerial attack on Kearney would have possibly passed notice had he thrown his arms up to indicate a charge down instead of the rather callous elbow.
And to finish these random reflections on Ireland's heroics at the temporary CHCH stadium, although Referee Owen made an attempt to stop it, there is a growing practice of players "cleaning out" then lingering well in front of the "last feet" or standing "free" at or about the advantage line to provide screening to a halfback or a standin for a clearing kick. Both feet of an unbound player should be behind the last feet of a ruck and what Andre Watson so acurately described as "a lazy runner" should be recognised for the cynical action it nearly always is.
Commiserations to a gallant Irish team, you epitomised the words of your "anthem" with an outstanding effort.
Five years isn't fast learning imo but have we at last discovered the true value of the dropped goal?