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A bit early but with the latest signings, what will the Blues look like in 2017 ?
So among the "new" players, we will see Manu, Hodgman and Pulu.
The First XV could be :
Luatua / Ioane
West / Francis

Ofa T
Ioane / Luatua
West / Francis

The weakest spot is at lock. Who will be Pat T's partner ? Scrafton ? He is unproven at this level. Or a new player ? (Rarasea, Martin ?) Unproven too ...
Any idea ?

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58 Replies

Still a while away but im interested in what the 2017 Crusaders might look like.
The Blues seem to have made lots of signings already and other teams seem fairly settled with the odd new signing.
Other than Hall and Goodhue have the Crusaders made any new signings to fill the holes from guys leaving/not being up to it?
There issues seem to be in the backs mainly with the forward pack being impressive.
Losing guys like Fonotia, McNichol and Nadolo is probably a positive IMO. The first too because they weren't that good and Nadolo because it should force them to come up with something other than "give it to Nadolo" ball. Missing out on Barrett MkII was a blow obviously but there should be some other promising guys available.

Not sure if Fruen will be back but i would be tempted to sign him one last time and use him as a winger to provide some punch, which he appears to still have plenty of playing for Hawkes Bay. Would be having a look at Tongia and Jonah Lowe from Hawkes bay too depending on what their contract status is. What about the Tasman winger Faingaanuku? Seems to get talked up a bit and has looked decent the couple of times i've seen him play.

I haven't caught many of the Canterbury games so far so can't comment too much. What are the thoughts of those in the know/ those who care?

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National Rugby Championship, for those not watching.

Got to see two games today as one game due to be played in regional centre Orange was washed out. Its a bit wet there.

NSW Country Eagles vs Perth Spirit was fun - because I had no skin in the game. A few known names out there like Kyle Godwin (ex-Force now Brumbies) and Paddy Ryan (Tahs) and a few others. Some enterprising play, no kicks at goal missed (not even some bullshit fade kicking from Jono Lance who is in fine form) and the Eagles got up 48-24 or 6 tries to 3. Jake Gordon, playing 9 for the Eagles, is a star of the future. Makes everything look easy. Lance and Tapuai for the Spirit were good, too.

Then the main game: bottom of the table clash between the winless Western Sydney Rams (my team) and winless QLD Country. Both sides have looked great this year but just haven't had the experience or couple of Super players to seal the deal.

Defence optional for some of it, particularly the Rams' organisation out wide. But despite being down by a couple of tries at the break, they clawed their way back into it with a try in the last couple of minutes to put themselves 42-46 down. Then it was pure scrum porn after the siren as, for 6 minutes, they attempted to push QLD Country over.

Finally, the ref (Amy Perrett - our leading female ref) had no option but to award the penalty try as the sun sank.

Not sure if the videos are geo-locked. If you can get to it, the fat idiot in the Rams hat just above Thorn's shoulder is me :)

But here are some tweets anyway.

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Southland v Bay of Plenty

Invercargill, Sept 21 7:35pm

Junior Ngaluafe, Mike Molloy, Dylan Collier, James Schrader, Jaye Thompson- Te Muunu, Wharenui Hawera, Jimmy Cowan, Mika Mafi, Elliot Dixon, Bill Fukofuka, Matt Philip, Mike McKee, Guy Millar, Brayden Mitchell, Joseph Walsh
Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Peni Ravi, Morgan Mitchell, Tim Boys, Josh Clark, Michael Dowsett, Greg Dyer, Keanu Kahukura

1 Aidan Ross, 2 Liam Polwart, 3 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 4 Troy Callander, 5 Culum Retallick ©, 6 Jesse Parete, 7 Hugh Blake, 8 Joe Tupe, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 10 Kelly Haimona, 11 Regan Ware, 12 Terrence Hepetema Dan Hollinshead, 13 Teddy Stanaway, 14 Monty Ioane, 15 Isaac Te Aute
Reserves: 16 Joseph Royal, 17 Solomona Sakalia, 18 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 19 Shahn Eru, 20 Henry Stowers, 21 Te Aihe Toma, 22 Dan Hollinshead Nick Evemy, 23 Te Rangi Fraser
(Hepetema was initially named but is now injured)

Northland v Wellington

Whangarei, 22 Sept 7:35 pm

Guy Wood, Solomon Alaimalo, Tamati Tua, Dan Hawkins, Jone Macilai, Peter Breen, Sam Nock, Kara Pryor, Jack Ram, Tom Robinson, Shane Neville, Josh Goodhue, Phil Kite, Ross Wright, Namatahi Waa
Reserves: Nick Werahiko, Howard Sililoto, Matt Talaese, Michael Faleafa, Matt Matich, Malcolm MacLeod, Jordan Hyland, Waisea Lawebuka

Jason Woodward, Joe Hill, Matt Proctor, Shaun Treeby, Wes Goosen, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Hoani Matenga, Greg Foe, Brad Shields, Sam Lousi, Mark Reddish, Chris Baumann, Asafo Aumua, Reggie Goodes
Reserves: Valentine Meachen, Ha'amea Ahio, Finbarr Kerr-Newell, James Blackwell, Galu Taufale, Sheridan Rangihuna, Pakai Turia, Malo Tuitama

Counties Manukau v Waikato

Pukekohe, 23 Sept 7:35 pm

Luteru Laulala, Sione Fifita, Sam Vaka, Cardiff Vaega, Sherwin Stowers; Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu, Sootala Fa'aso'o, Jordan Taufua, Jimmy Tupou, Matiaha Martin, Viliame Rarasea, Kalolo Tuiloma, Gafatasi Su'a, Sean Bagshaw
Reserves: Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu, Sione Faletau, Matt Vaai, Onosa'i Auva'a, Richard Judd, Nathan de Thierry, Joe Ikenasio

Tyler Campbell, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Willis Halaholo, Tevita Taufui, Sevu Reece, Sam Christie, Harrison Levien; Whetu Douglas (c), Mitch Jacobson, Adam Burn, Brian Alainu'uese, Brad Tucker, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Hame Faiva, Latu Talakai
Reserves: Steven Misa, Tau Koloamatangi, Ayden Johnstone, Leva Fifita, Murray Iti, Pele Cowley, Jason Robertson, Milford Keresoma

Canterbury v Otago

Christchurch, 24 Sept 2:35 pm

Jordie Barrett, Johnny McNicholl, Jack Goodhue, Rob Thompson, Nathan Earle, Richie Mo'unga, Ere Enari, Luke Whitelock [c], Billy Harmon, Reed Prinsep, Dominic Bird, Dave McDuling, Siate Tokolahi, Ben Funnell, Alex Hodgman
Reserves: Nathan Vella, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Scott Barrett, Tom Sanders, Jack Stratton, Poasa Waqanibau, Ben Volavola

Tony Ensor, Mitchell Scott, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Fa'asiu Fuata'i, Fletcher Smith, Jonathan Ruru, Paul Grant [captain], James Lentjes, Lee Allen, Blair Tweed, Josh Dickson, Husa Sasagi, Sam Anderson-Heather, Craig Millar
Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, Michael Mata'afa, Donald Brighhouse, Dillon Hunt, Naulia Dawai, Josh Walden, Scott Eade, Teihorangi Walden

Taranaki v Manawatu

New Plymouth, 24 Sept 5:35 pm

1 Fraser Armstrong, 2 Travis Taylor, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 4 Tom Parsons, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 6 Harrison Brewer, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 9 Kayne Hammington, 10 Otere Black, 11 Nathan Tudreu, 12 Ngani Laumape, 13 Curtis Reid, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 15 Jason Emery
Reserves: 16 Tim Cadwallader, 17 Tukiterangi Raimona, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Liam Hallam-Eames, 20 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Sam Malcolm, 23 Luther Hirini

15 Jason Emery , 14 Ambrose Curtis , 13 Curtis Reid , 12 Ngani Laumape , 11 Nathan Tudreu , 10 Otere Black , 9 Kayne Hammington , 8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis , 7 Callum Gibbins (c) , 6 Harrison Brewer , 5 Jackson Hemopo , 4 Tom Parsons , 3 Mike Alaalatoa , 2 Travis Taylor , 1 Fraser Armstrong
Reserves: 16 Tim Cadwallader , 17 Tuki Raimona , 18 Chris Eves , 19 Liam Hallam-Eames , 20 Antonio Kiri Kiri , 21 Jamie Booth , 22 Sam Malcolm , 23 Luther Hirini

Hawke’s Bay v Tasman

Napier, 24 Sept 7:35 pm

Matt Garland, Robbie Fruean, Jonah Lowe, Tiaan Falcon, Mason Emerson, Ihaia West, Brad Weber; Fa'alemiga Selesele, Tony Lamborn, Trent Boswell-Wakefield, Mark Abbott, Geoff Cridge, Ben May, Ash Dixon, Ricky Riccitelli
Reserves: Jorain Tangaere, Jason Long, Tolu Fahamokioa, Ross Filipo, Ben Hamelink, Chris Eaton, Billy Ropiha, Ryan Tongia

Mitchell Hunt, Tima Faingaanuku, Kieron Fonotia, David Havili, Caleb Makene, Marty Banks, Billy Guyton; Pete Samu, Shane Christie (captain), Tevita Koloamatangi, Alex Ainley, Quinten Strange, Ross Geldenhuys, Andrew Makalio, Kane Hames
Reserves: Jesse MacDonald, , Tim Perry, Pete Samu, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Alex Nankivell, Trael Joass

North Harbour v Southland

Albany, 25 Sept 2:35 pm

Matt McGahan, Matt Duffie, Matt Vaega, Michael Little, Tevita Li, Bryn Gatland, Chris Smylie, Murphy Taramai, Connor Collett, Chris Vui (c), Brandon Nansen, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Sione Mafileo, Adrian Smith, Nic Mayhew
Reserves: Kalem Chan-Boon, Hani Fatai, Karl Tuinukuafe, Glen Preston, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a, Bryn Hall, Daniel Hilton-Jones, Afa Fa'atau

Junior Ngaluafe, Mike Molloy, Dylan Collier, James Schrader, Jaye Thompson- Te Muunu, Wharenui Hawera, Jimmy Cowan, Josh Clark, Tim Boys, Bill Fukofuka, Matt Philip, Mike McKee, Guy Millar, Brayden Mitchell, Joseph Walsh
Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Peni Ravi, Morgan Mitchell, Mike Stewart, Mika Mafi, Michael Dowsett, Kieran Moffat, Tauasosi Tuimavave

Bay of Plenty v Auckland

Rotorua, 25 Sept 4:35 pm

Isaac Te Aute, Regan Ware, Lalakai Foketi, Teddy Stanaway, Elijah Nicholas, Kelly Haimona, Ruki Tipuna, Joe Tupe, Hugh Blake, Shahn Eru, Culum Retallick, Keepa Mewett, Pingi Tala'apitaga, Liam Polwart, Aidan Ross
Reserves: James O'Reilly, Solomona Sakalia, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Joe Royal, Jesse Parete, Te Aihe Toma, Dan Hollinshead, Monty Ioane

1 Tom McHugh, 2 Kurt Eklund, 3 Marcel Renata, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 5 Liaki Moli, 6 Taleni Seu, 7 Josh Kaifa, 8 Akira Ioane, 9 Jono Hickey, 10 Simon Hickey, 11 Joseva Ravouvou, 12 Vince Aso, 13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Lolagi Visinia, 15 Melani Nanai
Reserves: 16 Blake Hill, 17 James Lay, 18 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 19 Ben Nee Nee, 20 Scott Scrafton, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Liam Steel, 23 Latiume Fosita

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