Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Unlucky break for some

7 comments
The Waratahs shocked everyone with the ease of their victory over the Chiefs on Friday night. Photo / Getty Images
The Waratahs shocked everyone with the ease of their victory over the Chiefs on Friday night. Photo / Getty Images

Some teams will be pretty happy the international break has arrived and others will be disappointed. As a fan, I'm pretty annoyed.

Yes, we've known the format for a while.

And, yes, the internationals need to be played. But it would be preferable if those who put the rugby calendar together can somehow schedule test football in July instead of June.

What we end up with is two Super Rugby competitions in one.

A lot can happen, or not happen, over the next month and some teams will be hugely advantaged and others hugely disadvantaged.

It will only take an injury to a key player and a team's Super Rugby chances are ruined while at the same time players from other teams have the chance to freshen up.

The Highlanders and Chiefs might be pleased about the break. The Chiefs look like they have been running on empty for some time and the break will allow some bodies to recover or refresh.

But it's not great timing for the likes of the Hurricanes, who seem to be finding some form, and the Waratahs who shocked everyone with the ease of their victory over the Chiefs on Friday night.

They have woken up - I'm not sure what pills or ointment they have been taking over the past 10 days - but they now need to take an enforced slumber. That performance, though, would have sent a message to the rest of the competition that it might not necessarily be a New Zealand benefit this season.

They probably would have beaten any other team in the competition playing like that and they were certainly different to the Waratahs team who played in Christchurch a fortnight ago.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson cleverly identified an area to attack the Chiefs by sending up Will Skelton, all 140kg of him, at Aaron Cruden all night and it worked brilliantly.

It exposed a weakness in Cruden, who had a shocker in Sydney, and he wouldn't be in my top two first five-eighths in the country right now. He will still be announced in today's first All Blacks squad of the year but both Beauden Barrett and Lima Sopoaga are playing better than him at the moment, and that definitely includes goalkicking.

I'm a big believer in picking the All Blacks on form right now and that means there isn't a place for Jerome Kaino in my squad. There are so many good loosies playing well right now and, while Kaino has done okay, he doesn't deserve to get picked ahead of the likes of Kieran Read, Sam Cane, Elliot Dixon, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields and Jordan Taufua. And an argument could be made to pick Blues team-mate Patrick Tuipulotu ahead of him given the selectors' desire to pick on three locks - Tuipulotu could provide cover there.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

Read more by Richard Loe

Sort by
  • Oldest
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 24 May 2017 10:10:41 Processing Time: 311ms