Duncan and Aaron discuss the inglorious end to the Warriors season (detouring through the way Mt Smart’s running track deflates the home side), the ABs new personality and an extended discussion about New Zealand sportsmen’s acting abilities – with particular reference to the on-screen career of Stephen Fleming.
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F5364489%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-3XlG8&secret_url=false DeadCast: BALLS! 029 feat The Warriors, The Tri-Nations & NZ Sportsmen in Advertising by Deadball
After a week in which a massive earthquake slammed the Canterbury region, causing massive damage to Christchurch’s brick and stone buildings (including the home of All Blacks’ assistant coach Steve Hansen), and aftershocks continued to jangle the nerves, nobody will be thanking the AB’s for leaving their winning run quite so late, even if the victory itself will be some sort of salve.
With Daniel Carter undergoing surgery on his troublesome right ankle (which may, in part, explain his poor 2010 goalkicking form), coach Graham Henry took the chance to blood Carter’s understudy, 21 year old Aaron Cruden at five-eighth, together with run on starts for blindside Victor Vito and wing/ fullback (they’re all doing it these days) Israel Dagg. They encountered a Wallabies outfit returning from the Republic who could have reasonably been expected to be weary, but still fired up from their win in Bloemfontein, their first on the high veldt in 46 years. Despite the fact that the match was a dead rubber where the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe were concerned, this was still a game that both teams very much wanted to win – the Wallabies to carry on from last week’s victory, and to gain some momentum leading into next year’s World Cup, the All Blacks seeking to hammer home their dominance over the Wallabies (ten in a row), and to continue a fifteen test match winning streak. Continue reading
Poor old John Smit. After 77 minutes of brutal, bludgeoning Tri-Nations rugby, in his hundredth test match, his under-the-cosh side were sitting five points clear of their 2010 tormentors, the All Blacks, with the score at 22-17. Finally something was going to go right for him; his loose forwards had performed like recently-deployed exocet missiles, Morne Steyn was a dead-eye Dick with his goalkicking, and new halfback Francois Hougaard had kicked intelligently and made lots of darting runs up round the fringes, a la Fourie du Preez. They had driven the AB’s back in the tackle more often than not, their scrum and line-out had stood up, and it looked for all the world like he was going to receive the ultimate party gift in front of a massive Soweto crowd of 90-odd thousand. His 2010 hoodoo was about to be broken.
And then, after 81 minutes, he was kneeling, his face in his hands, with his team on the wrong side of a 29-22 scoreline. He had the same hollow, dead eyed look that Dan Carter and Anton Oliver sported from the stands in ‘that’ 2007 RWC quarter-final. Good God fearing man that he is, he really must have wondered what the hell happened. Continue reading
DeadBall’s regular guest rugby reporter Jeremy Taylor gives us a mid-term report on the ABs, in his words “a bit like what Marc Hinton has done in [yesterday’s] Sunday Star Times, but I actually started last week, so, fuck him, y’know…”
With the Bledisloe Cup duly secured, and the Tri-Nations all but in the bag following a tighter victory over a much-improved Wallabies in Christchurch, it seems opportune to take stock of where we are at a little more than a year out from the World Cup. Messrs Henry, Smith and Hansen have made some tough calls about the kind of game they want to play (and who they want to play it) that have, for the most part, come off in spades; the team’s fitness and execution have been phenomenal; and to top it all off, they have had the rub of the green from the match officials. Let’s look at some key areas of strength, as well as a few possible weaknesses that the coaches will be keen to address: Continue reading
The All Blacks have the 2010 Tri-Nations all but in the bag after a third bonus point win, this time over a willing, but ultimately outgunned Wallabies outfit in Melbourne.
After both teams had routed the world champion Springboks using a similarly pacy game plan in the previous three weeks, anticipation ran high for a high-paced, high scoring game, and with a whopping 49-28, seven tries to three scoreline, no-one should have come away disappointed. Indeed, the only disappointment for All Blacks supporters would have been that their team allowed a Wallabies side down to 14 men in the second half to remain in the match.
A freakish start in which Dan Carter, and then Berrick Barnes had defensive clearing kicks charged down and tries scored set the scene for a game that, whilst being consistently entertaining, was at times an almost bizarre spectacle. The ball seemed to be almost constantly in play, and the much talked about playing surface at Melbourne’s covered Etihad Stadium was barely tested, with a paucity of scrums – it was only at the very end that it started to cut up in the left hand corner of the AB’s 22. Kicking was again minimal; ergo neither high ball reception nor lineouts were really a factor. One would have to conclude that the set piece is just not as important as it once was – something the Northern Hemisphere controlling powers will no doubt be desperate to address before next year’s World Cup. Continue reading
Aaron and Duncan spoke on Radio One in Dunedin, live-to-air with no preparation about the week in sport. This included talk about the revival of the Bledisloe Cup after a period of dormancy, whether the Warriors’ weekend hiccup might actually be the start of a coughing fit and got a little off topic to discuss DeadBall’s upcoming liveblog of the Auckland Supercity mayoralty debate (TV One 9am Sunday August 1). Come join us here to revel in the idiocy of the latter – LIVE!
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdeadball%2Fballs-024Balls 024 by Deadball