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


Have your say: NZ considers rules for medicinal cannabis

12 Jul 2019 Health By Hon Dr David Clark
More widespread access to medicinal cannabis products is a step closer today with the release of proposals for regulations says... more

Steps taken to secure the future of New Zealand House London

10 Jul 2019 News By Rt HON WINSTON PETERS
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says further steps are being taken towards securing the future of New Zealand House in... more


Government busts Customs congestion as Kiwi exporters go air freight express

26 Oct 2019 Business News By Hon Jenny Salesa
25 OCTOBER 2019 Exporters will benefit from Custom's Secure Exports Scheme (SES) being expanded to Kiwi businesses who use air freight... more

NZ best in world for doing business

26 Oct 2019 Business News By Hon Grant Robertson
New Zealand's economy continues to top the world for ease of doing business. The annual World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report shows... more


Hawke's Bay wins big at the New Zealand Wine Awards

15 Nov 2019 Food & Wine
A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Champion 2019 trophy, while a Hawke’s Bay winery has... more

Wagner Opera and fire dancing Samoans aim to raise awareness around knife crime in London

16 Nov 2019 Arts
Wielding innovation whilst upholding tradition needs knife-like precision to be effective, and that’s what Wandsworth-based... more


New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more

More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle

22 Aug 2018 Property
30 JULY 2018More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle HON JENNY SALESA The 2018 National Construction Pipeline... more


Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Post-study work rights emphasise skills NZ needs

8 Aug 2018 Migration
8 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY Changes to post-study work rights will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand... more


Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more


The Skipper's Diary: Sir Richard Hadlee honouring his father and NZ's Forty-Niners

27 Oct 2019 Cricket By Charlotte Everett
NZNewsUK London Editor Charlotte Everett spoke to Sir Richard Hadlee about why he’s chosen to publish his father’s... more

PREVIEW: All Blacks v England semi-final

26 Oct 2019 Rugby
The two most convincing quarterfinals winners are set to square off in a semifinal showdown for the ages when the All Blacks meet old... 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

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more


Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more