@bones said in Defining Who We Are ... NZ All Blacks:
So why does Cruden, TKB get a free pass and Sopoaga gets rounded on? Luatua is hard done by, Lima is a prick? It's all a bit odd.
I'll answer this one, as I'm holding Sops to a level of ire that I don't hold to any others.
Hayman and Evans: Left at end of world cup cycle, leaving the coaches 4 years to finalise their replacements. I was very disappointed to see them go as they were in their prime, but didn't feel stuffed around by them
Evans and McAllister going, and NZ playing the 2011 RWC final with our 6th choice 10 and a makeshift starting goalkicker makes me that much more sensitive to movements of a first-five. As I said in an earlier post a first-five isn't like some of the other 'dual positions' where you can get game time into 2 guys at once such as midfield, tight-loosies, lock, wing.
I'd think Nick Evans is the poster child for 'don't give up just because you have a legend encumbent in your position'. What a career he could have had.
Piutau I was very disappointed he went, i rated him very very highly. But he timed his move properly with the RWC cycle, then released early.
Faumuina, Cruden, TKB. Timed their departures 2 and a bit years out from RWC. Coaches and selectors had their eyes wide open when selecting them this year.
Luatua is the same, although he was not in current squads. I think he's Nick Evans level of crazy, there a parting of the Red Sea like gap opening up in the ABs in his position and I think he's mad, but he's given everyone plenty of time to adjust.
I only have an issue wth Sops, and it is to do with timing. Once he committed to touring EOYT post-Cruden leaving .... in my opinion he should be committing for the rest of the cycle. However, there is obviously fault here on the contracting side by the NZRU as well. Sops can leave with my blessing after 2019. But I'm angry that minutes put into Sops should have now gone into Mo'ounga. I'm concerned that we only have 2 10s currently with test experience and the second of them has just jumped ship, regardless of how the next 2 years may have played out for him he is currently number 2 in a threadbare spot and he has just piked on us.
I don't have a philosophical oppistion to players moving like ChrisB. I think the churn and constant refreshing keeps us strong as long as the core remains stable. I agree with ChrisB that the current stable core of coaching, admin and senior leadership players can unravel surprisingly quickly if incompetents slip into the chain somewhere.
I've said Sops crossed a line for me, the line is fine. If he did this just months earlier before the EOYT - I'd just rank him in the disappointing unfulfilled group. Not in the damaging to our own cause group.