Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

First Take: Read stutters as Savea smashes

Kieran Read of the Crusaders sits on the sideline after leaving the field during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images.
Kieran Read of the Crusaders sits on the sideline after leaving the field during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images.

The bad news is competing hard against the good for the All Blacks and New Zealand's Super 15 title aspirations.

Top of the minus column is Crusaders superstar Kieran Read. The 2013 world player of the year has come out of the blocks like they are stuck to his feet.

Read: Leiua stunner wins it for Hurricanes

He was having a shocker against the Hurricanes, missing two tackles and dropping a pass before departing early in a wildly thrilling contest and boilover result in Christchurch.

Maybe the Super 15 is heating up finally, but no New Zealand team is in great form. A lack of hard nosed strategies is mixed with awful defence, poor goalkicking and frantic, inaccurate skills.

Injuries are chipping away at the test squad. Israel Dagg is in odd-to-bad form. The Hurricanes' halfback TJ Perenara smashed through test lock Sam Whitelock for a try.
You can hear the old line - there's plenty of time.

The stars are building. Maybe so, but maybe not.

There is fantastic news. Top of the plus column is Julian Savea who looks mean and definitely not lean. Savea is sharp, a bloke who has come to realise how outrageously damaging he can be. He smashed over Read, sent the defensively weak Dagg sprawling and sniffed out tries. The Hurricanes could have given him more ball.

Savea is a reminder of Jonah Lomu and what New Zealand wings should be all about. Put Savea on one test wing and flying Blues bruiser Charles Piutau on the other and watch out world.

- NZ Herald

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