1) What a weekend for Auckland footy, with the Blues and Warriors winning
Which is not something we get to say very often. BUT...
2)...why did the Blues and Warriors play at the same time?
This is the 2000s troops. Rugby and league are allowed to acknowledge each other. This clash of the codes didn't make sense, even if it did take place in separate New Zealand cities. On the plus side, both teams were involved in close contests. My informal poll suggests this encouraged a bit of channel jumping.
3) Super Rugby has a looming embarrassment on its hands
Japan's Sunwolves have done amazingly well but they unravelled like a ball of wool in the grip of a cheetah against the Cheetahs. The Sunwolves' collapse has taken a little longer than expected, but it is under way after they conceded 14 tries and nearly 100 points in Bloemfontein. The physical battering, their inexperience, opponents' analysis and a draining travel schedule will take a terrible toll. They finish their inaugural season with away games against the Reds and Brumbies, return home to play the Waratahs, then a road trip to play the Bulls and Sharks. Ouch and double ouch. How will the Sanzaar bosses respond when it goes pear shaped. More gobbledygook I suspect.
4) Eden Park is also an embarrassment
The sight of spectators dotted around the stadium for the Blues-Sharks match, the lack of atmosphere coming out of the place, was cringe-inducing.
5) The Blues are not on the right track.
Sorry Tana Umaga, but your team and the tactics are already in need of an overhaul. A scratchy victory against the Sharks does not hide the truth. The Blues are clunky and lack the guile and cohesion of pacesetters such as the Chiefs. In particular Rieko Ioane, a superstar in the making, would benefit from playing for a team with greater complexities.
6) I had a dream...
...in which the All Blacks manage to get Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie on the field at the same time, just to see what would happen. It could be wonderful chaos. A touring Welsh team will provide the perfect platform for this experiment during three tests in June. Barrett's rising form emphasises the amazing, incredible, astonishing riches at the All Blacks' disposal. What to do, when Nehe Milner-Skudder gets back? Selectors say they love these sorts of choices, but it must also make for tricky conversations at times.
7) The Warriors got lucky
Okay. That's a bit harsh. Give them some credit. Congratulations to Andrew McFadden and co. for a vital victory under pressure. But the Bulldogs played into their hands, taking a home game to Wellington on a five-day turnaround.
8) The Warriors need to prove this is not a bounce back deal
In other words, playing in the NRL is not about proving the critics wrong. It's about
knowing how to do things right, again and again and again. As McFadden said: "...for them to deliver that performance tonight that shows the character that we have. But we have to back it up." Shaun Johnson - this means you.
9) Tui Lolohea...
...is a star in the making. Why on earth did the Warriors recruit Jeff Robson when they had tough Thomas Leuluai in the wings, and Lolohea to promote? A great thing about Lolohea is that he is an Aucklander, and elevating the best of local talent has to be high on the Warriors' priorities. The Robson recruitment is hard to figure out.
10) Greg Alexander....
...is the best TV pundit from any of the footy codes. Alexander has a more prominent role on New Zealand screens, with the way the NRL league rights have been split up. The former Warrior is refreshingly sharp and insightful. What's more, he doesn't trip over his tongue which is not something you can say about all of the league commentators.
Debate on this article is now closed.