It wasn’t pretty but NZ teams come up trumps   28 Feb 2006

Ellie van Baaren

Round three was full of the unusual – Daniel Carter continued to make errors, Troy Flavell refrained from hitting anyone and John Mitchell publicly apologised. ELLIE VAN BAAREN looks at the latest on the Super 14 merry-go-round.

The new zealand teams ended last weekend with a clean sweep and though it may not have been pretty, or easy, even the Blues got points on the board.

The Blues ground out a 21-20 win over the Reds in Queensland, notable not only for the fact it was their first points on the Super 14 table this year, but also as they had never won in Queensland before.

The win means that coach David Nucifora can temporarily let his breath out, although not too far as this weekend they face the formidable challenge of the Crusaders at Jade Stadium.

The defending champions were not on particularly fine form themselves at the weekend as a Dan Carter dropped goal eventually shut out the Sharks at Timaru. Handling errors were once again in plentiful supply from the men in red, although this time they couldn’t blame Queensland’s humidity.

The Blues were boosted by the return of Troy Flavell at loose forward. The talented 29-year-old has been playing in Japan for the past three seasons after a career blighted by disciplinary and injury problems. Ahead of his third round start, Flavell had been talking up his change of attitude, insisting that although he is still a physical and aggressive player, he can stay within the rules.

Despite doubts, and Queensland players’ goading, Flavell avoided incident throughout the match, even when blatantly fouled in a lineout by Hugh McMenamin. But it’s going to take more than one clear match to re-cast him in the mind of the public and the opposition.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry will be keeping a close eye on Flavell. He’s always been a fan of Flavell, even trying to get him out of his Japanese contract early to be available for national selection. If he keeps his nose clean he will definitely be back in black for the mid-year internationals.

The Hurricanes continued their good start to the season, however they begin their mini-tour of South Africa this weekend minus captain Rodney So’oialo after he and Paul Tito were suspended for a week for stomping.

The loss of Tito is not to dramatic given the form of Jason Eaton and Luke Andrews but So’oialo is another matter. Thomas Waldrom is not yet up to par for this level and in the capacity of captain, the Wellington team are running a little light.

Former captain Tana Umaga would be the obvious choice however, he has made it quite clear he wants to take a back seat this season. Joe McDonnell, Jerry Collins and Andrew Hore have all captained the team during trial matches or at provincial level, but none of them can match Umaga.

And the Wellingtonians will need strong leadership if they are to win against current Currie Cup champions, the Cheetahs. They may be the new boys, but they are nowhere near as weak as the Western Force, and they didn’t go down to the Highlanders without a fight.

The Western Force are now the only team with no points beside their name. Coach John Mitchell publicly apologised for the team’s abysmal performance in front of their home crowd and so he should. We’re not just talking inexperience any more, the team on Saturday showed complete tactical ineptitude. They have a bye this weekend and Mitchell and his coaching team had better put some serious heads together if he is to avoid having another sacking on his résumé. There may be more room for a wobbly patch, but the Force will need to start winning now if they want to be anywhere near the final four in May.

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


NZ Prime Minister: Statement on nerve agent attack in UK

16 Mar 2018 News By Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
16 MARCH 2018 New Zealand supports the joint statement made by the leaders of the UK, US, Germany and France on the nerve agent... more

Assistance for Cyclone-hit Tasman and Taranaki

13 Mar 2018 Environment By Hon. Carmel Sepuloni
12 MARCH 2018 Tasman and Taranaki residents struggling to clear up the mess left by ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita can access a... more


RBNZ Governor supports macro-prudential policy

16 Mar 2018 Business News
Macro-prudential policy has been particularly useful in the current environment of globally low interest rates, where monetary policy... more

America’s Cup Village proposal offers win-win-win

14 Feb 2018 Business News By Hon David Parker
14 FEB 2018 The Government and Auckland Council have today released plans for a world class America’s Cup village on... more


New Zealand signs up to international CleanSeas campaign

13 Mar 2018 Environment By Hon Eugenie Sage
12 MARCH 2018 New Zealand has joined the United Nations-led CleanSeas campaign to rid our oceans of plastic, Associate Environment... more

London Cafes to Soothe Kiwi Homesickness

24 Nov 2017 London By Emma Creese
Exploring the world is a big draw for Kiwis to take an OE, but everyone moves their lives 18,000km from home not even thinking... more


No new solutions in housing report

12 Feb 2018 Property By Michael Woodhouse
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018   The Government's housing stocktake report released today adds no new knowledge or... more

Stocktake finds housing crisis deeper, more entrenched

12 Feb 2018 Property
12 FEBRUARY 2018 An independent stocktake of New Zealand’s housing sector has found the housing crisis the country faces is deeper... more


Community organisations chosen to sponsor refugees in New ZealandI

26 Jan 2018 Migration By Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
26 JANUARY 2018 Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has today announced the four community-based organisations who will be the... more

Building occupations added to skill shortage list

14 Dec 2017 Migration By Iain Lees-Galloway
15 DECEMBER 2017 It will be easier for the building industry to find the workers it needs to help address New Zealand’s housing... more


International visitors spend $10.6bn in year to December

22 Feb 2018 Travel & Tourism
International visitor spending reached a record high of $10.6 billion in the year to December 2017, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis... more

NZ Election 2017: Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation

28 Aug 2017 Travel & Tourism
Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation Posted by Kris Faafoi on August 28, 2017 Labour will estaba Tourism and... more


French win over England timely for All Blacks

13 Mar 2018 Rugby By Lynn McConnell
  12 March 2018 France's upset victory over England in the Six Nations at the weekend was the perfect result for the All... more

Winter Olympics: NZ Triples Medal Count in Single Day

22 Feb 2018 Sport
New Zealand has tripled its Olympic Winter Games medal count in a single stunning afternoon at PyeongChang 2018. Zoi... more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Law Commissioner appointed

29 May 2017 Appointments
29 May 2017 Former Secretary for Justice Belinda Clark has been appointed as Law Commissioner, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced... more

Spencer to be Acting Governor of Reserve Bank

8 Feb 2017 Appointments
7 Feb 2017 Finance Minister Steven Joyce will appoint current Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer as the Acting Governor of... more


Auckland employment hubs benefit over 500 young job seekers

8 Mar 2018 Recruitment By Hon Willie Jackson
8 MARCH 2018 Minister of Employment Willie Jackson today visited the Auckland CBD Jobs and Skills Hub and the Southern Initiative in... more

Fastest growing jobs - NZ recruitment

21 Dec 2017 Recruitment
New Zealand’s increasing need for social services has seen jobs in the Community Services & Development industry among the... more