View Full Version : POLL: Rugby 2004
Sun, 13th Jun '04, 7:28am
Which team will be the most dominant this year? Already the All Blacks have signalled their intent at England's expense, Australia are looking good, and South Africa are on the up. It's looking ominous for the northern hemisphere teams.
This poll contains 1 question(s). 9 user(s) have voted.
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Poll Results: Rugby 2004 (9 votes.)
Rugby 2004 (Choose 1)
* New Zealand - 33% (3)
* England - 0% (0)
* Australia - 22% (2)
* France - 0% (0)
* South Africa - 22% (2)
* Ireland - 11% (1)
* Argentina - 0% (0)
* Wales - 11% (1)
Mon, 14th Jun '04, 8:34pm
Would love to be in a position where I could say England.
But unless we go back to basics and start a major restructuring job, we are just gonna be the whipping boys.
We lack a leader. We lack direction. We lack the ability to win our own bloody line outs. Back to basics time.
I reckon New Zealand will be dominant. But they will have a hard job reaching the ascendency. France are flying and are hungry. Australia, as always, have a strong team with such a competitive edge and determination that seems etched into every crack of the guys from Aus.
But the manner in which New Zealand destroyed England puts a major marker down. Joe Rokococo (sp?) is an absolutely World Class finisher. They are a solid team that don't give much away.
Mon, 14th Jun '04, 10:26pm
Yeah, it is disappointing to see the World Champs looking so lacklustre. Their forward pack just weren't on their game on the weekend. Even Jonny Wilkinson would have been hard pressed to turn the tide of that match as he would never have got any good quality ball. What happened to your loose forwards? They were almost non-existent. What happened to the team that held out the All Blacks with two men in the sin-bin only a year ago?
I reserve judgement on the All Blacks because they have a habit of always looking good at this time of the year and then having Australia sneak up on them at the last minute, although the Wallabies looked a bit slack against a pretty weak Scotland. The All Blacks are a whole new team this year with a bunch of new combinations so it might take a while to get them working when they start playing Australia and South Africa who have already seen our new players in the Super 12 so will know their weaknesses.
Anyway, although it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS nice to beat England, here's hoping the boys in white can pull their socks up a bit more in the next game so we can see if these new All Blacks are the real thing or just a flash-in-the-pan.
Go the All Blacks!
Mon, 14th Jun '04, 11:24pm
Anyway, although it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS nice to beat England I'm sorry but I'm interested. Why do you say that? Another 'hatred of the English' that seems to echo around these boards. Or a 'Yay, we beat the World Champs' thing.
Mon, 14th Jun '04, 11:55pm
My top 5 teams (not in order)
Smart team. Sure they don't have forwards, but they always give every team a good run for their money (and usually beat them). Backs are world class; fast, sharp and great passers. Tactical kicking is superb and gets them out of trouble.
Rebuilding phase. They won't be as strong this year, but give em a couple of seasons and they'll be back. The current team, if they stick around and get more experience will definitely improve.
In my opinion they have the best all round team of the lot - but lack a good coach and captain. The backs are there, the forwards are there but the work ethic, direction and drive isn't. If they manage to get it together, they would be near unstoppable.
Way too inconsistent to be a world dominating team. Great one day, average the next. Fantastic to watch, but also frustrating at times. Contender for 3rd-5th spot.
Very strong team all round the park. Best I've seen for at least 5-6 years now. Once the combinations start going, we will be very difficult to beat. Will probably be 1st this year.
Tue, 15th Jun '04, 12:11am
Agreement there Tassadar. Expect maybe from South Africa's supposed potential superioty. Plus, what's happened to Corne Krige? He's a fantastic leader. Dirty, yes. But thats rugby and he leads by example.
Injured? Or has he retired without telling me? :S
Tue, 15th Jun '04, 12:37am
Rugby is the only sport where I have a genuine dislike of the English team. I have no issues with the soccer or cricket teams (even though you just thrashed us in that).
It's something to do with the style of play, the personalities in the team, and the obstinate stance of some of the English journalists during my formative sport-watching years in the 80s and 90s. As you will be aware from our discussions pre-Nov 2003, it has nothing to do with the World Cup (well played there).
Anyway, having strong rivalries is what makes sport-watching so emotional and fun! If we didn't care so much we wouldn't bother.
I'm not sure if that really explains anything.
Tue, 15th Jun '04, 12:39am
It makes sense to a degree and thanks for laying it out :) .
... Doesn't mean I agree with your dislike of the English team though! ;)
Tue, 15th Jun '04, 1:33am
I'm pretty sure Crige has retired from international rugby. He was a great captain, but I feel South Africa have been underachieving for a while now despite having some real firepower in their ranks. Take De Wet Barry for example. He singlehandedly destroyed Australia last year with the biggest hits I have ever seen, and they were continuous. Then he fades into obscurity for the rest of the year.
I think they potentially have the best *all-round* team, but don't necessarily excel in any particular area. If you look at England it's forwards. Australia, it's backs. New Zealand, it's backs (but maybe not anymore). France have good forwards and backs, but I feel SA's backs have more pace and power.
I just feel that if I was a Springbok supporter, I'd be pretty frustrated at how the resources aren't being utilised to their full.
I hate the English press rather than their teams. The columnist Stephen Jones in particular. Andy Caddick is public enemy number 2. As for most hated team, you really can't go past Australia. :)
Tue, 15th Jun '04, 2:44am
Yes - Stephen Jones!
Thinking about it a bit more, some English journalists like Stephen Jones have been on a crusade to declare that the style of rugby played by New Zealand (and the Southern Hemisphere in general) is too flashy and not pure enough. So I guess we have come to the defense of our team and hope that we can win by scoring tries and throwing the ball around just to prove him wrong. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work in 2003, worse luck.
So yeah, it is more the journalists than the players, but there have still been one or two players who have annoyed me for various reasons (like Will Carling, Rob Andrew, and Austin Healey).
Anyway, enough analysis of our feelings - let's get on with the next match! See you at Eden Park!
Sun, 20th Jun '04, 5:16am
NZL 36 - ENG 12
Nothing quite like a controversial test match. England were well in the game until Simon Shaw got sent off, for what seemed to be quite a dubious call. Although in real-time it probably looked far worse than it was. Still I think England lost the plot a little. Being fired up is one thing, you still have to be smart about it. Tough game for them coming up against Australia. Should be good viewing.
Sun, 20th Jun '04, 7:40am
Yeah, go the All Blacks. Disappointing to hear Sir Clive using the red card as an excuse for the loss. Usually he takes a bit more responsibility. They still lost by 24 points which is a massive margin at this level. Nice to see Merhtens getting a bit of run. That guy is playing like every game is his last which is pretty refreshing.
Argentina next. They're always tougher than people expect.
Mon, 28th Jun '04, 11:51pm
Well, well. 50 points against England even though Australia failed to win a single set piece. Aussie won on 37% possession!! If England's back play was as precise as their forward play, this result could've been reversed.
Mon, 28th Jun '04, 11:54pm
Yup, and yup. Although its daft to stick a hard tour onto the back of a marathon season, and we paid the price - look at the last 5 weekends for the Wasps players - Europeon cup final vs Toulouse, followed by league playoff against Bath, then two tests against New Zealand, 1 against Australia. All of which added onto a long season including the world cup! Madness.
Ref'ing had no decisions as bad as the Shaw sending off, but a relentless stream of penalties against England (many of which weren't), while the Aussies got away with murder at the scrum, line-out and ruck - O'Brian probably got more possession for the Aussies than their own forwards did! Saying that, the Aussie backline looked very slick. Give us a few months off and I think we'll come back very strong.
Tue, 29th Jun '04, 12:07am
I hope so. It's a much better world when the reigning World Champs are playing well. I think England already have the worst record of any reigning Champs, which is a bit embarrassing (long season or no long season).
Looking ahead, I hope next year's Lions tour is a good one.
Fri, 9th Jul '04, 11:00am
Australia vs Pacific Islands was great viewing. There were more big hits than the Beatles. Our turn to receive a battering although our players are actually hard enough not to whinge after the match unlike Aussie. :)
Sat, 10th Jul '04, 9:00pm
Wow, those Pacific Islanders were awesome against the All Blacks. And it was only their second test together. They looked dangerous every time they got the ball. Their next game against South Africa will be very interesting.
I'd love to see them go on a northern hemisphere tour soon.
Mon, 12th Jul '04, 12:46am
Yeah, was a scary game to watch. I was afraid one of our playmakers was going to cop a serious beating and be out the entire season.
I'd say in two years the PI team will be world dominators. I'll be watching their progress with great interest.
Mon, 12th Jul '04, 2:10am
Bring on the Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations! I think Australia are looking pretty sharp despite not beating Scotland by much. Stephen Larkham appears to be in sublime form at the moment and the All Black defence will have to be on ultra-high alert. Can't wait. It'll be a close one. :spin:
Mon, 12th Jul '04, 9:09am
Definitely. I think the ABs will win, our forward pack are playing like champions. If we keep it tight and tire the aussies with our rumbling tight five, the backs will cut them up. Can't afford to just go wide at every possible opportunity. Need to play smarter, and alter the game-plan as appropriate for different teams. Of all the world teams, we've got one of the most balanced sides right now so we can actually do this.
Mon, 12th Jul '04, 9:46pm
The Aussies always turn it up when playing us though. Remember all those last minute kicks that have cost us the Bledisloe Cup over the last few years. Grrrrr.
Our defence was cut to ribbons at times by the Pacific Islanders, especially on counter-attack when our backline was up. Muliaina will have to be looking sharp on cover defence, especially being psychic about where Larkham will kick to. The Wallaby wings are as fast as ours and are great finishers. I think it will be a tough one.
Tue, 13th Jul '04, 9:03am
Yup, we need to tighten up that defence. Or hit hard in the tackle (read: Jerry Collins). :) Australia's kicking game has always been pretty dangerous so Mils (who I thought was pretty average against the PI) will have to shape up. Heard Richie McCaw is still 50-50.
Tue, 13th Jul '04, 10:04pm
Despite being sharp on attack, Mils is not a complete fullback (like Jeff Wilson or Joe Roff) so I'm sure the Aussies will look to exploit that. If Richie doesn't play, that will be a huge factor because he continues to be unbelievably good (no offence to Marty Holah who is a superb replacement).
Mon, 19th Jul '04, 12:42am
Well that was the best forward performance yet by the All Blacks in what was a great water polo match. We retain the Bledisloe Cup!!! :)
Mon, 19th Jul '04, 12:49am
Yeah, what a game. Go the All Blacks! The absence of George Gregan turned out to be a big factor. Larkham without Gregan was like bread without butter.
[ July 19, 2004, 02:47: Message edited by: Harbourboy ]
Tue, 27th Jul '04, 3:55am
Superb performance by the Springboks against the All Blacks! It's great to see them back in form. I think Australia are going to get suffocated this weekend if they lose the battle at the breakdown. The Boks loose trio are simply outstanding. I also like how AB-Bok test matches are always fiercely contested but fair. Both sides have the utmost respect for each other and that is evident even from the pre/postmatch interviews, which is good to see. Looking forward to the next game.
Tue, 27th Jul '04, 4:12am
Yep, that was the first game without too much biffo. Not like the English who resorted to punchups at every opportunity.
That Springbok defence was rock-solid. It'll be interesting to see how the Wallabies shape up with Gregan back on board.
Tue, 27th Jul '04, 9:19am
Never got to watch it. Freeking assignments.
Tue, 27th Jul '04, 10:00pm
You missed a heartstopper.
Wed, 28th Jul '04, 3:01am
I KNOW! Shut up! ARAGAH!! :( :mad:
Wed, 28th Jul '04, 3:06am
Richie McCaw is now out for the rest of the Tri-Nations. Those away games will be tough.
Wed, 28th Jul '04, 4:05am
Yes, Richie is such a great player. No point playing him if he is not 100% though. Holah while superb does not dominate the breakdown like Richie can. I still wonder whether Xavier can step up another gear. This will lift the pressure off Holah if Gibbes is still unfit. Collins may be our most destructive forward, but he isn't as adept at the groundwork. If you look at both matches against Aussie and SA, we dominated territory and possession so our forwards are actually conquering all even without Gibbes, McCaw and Robinson. Maybe our backs need to step up.