Just a few thoughts now that I am home. Let’s just put it perspective, it’s preseason hit out nothing more, nothing less, been around this game far too long to realise practise games are just that. Practice games.
One can only report on what it is…
Firstly I will start with the Blues… things you can’t coach…
Defence was good, and was paying close attention to the new faces and a couple that I am looking for more expectation
Really liked the look of Joe Marchant, really good on his feet and very strong, had good chat to a couple of players about him, add in what I said, and he looks to have a good rugby brain and pace.
Emoni Narawa looks really promising, could be a really addition in that vacant position.
James Tucker looked a workhorse until injury saw him leave the field. I had a quick word to him at match ends, right knee was a bit swollen, he was going to get assessed…
I was really pleased with Akira Ioane, looked much fitter and was way more involved, really direct from the boot of the scrum.
Papalii was superb, Lambourn surprised and was busy, Goodhue bought some real energy when he came on.
Liked the look of Plummer, made one slashing break and needed a runner off his shoulder on one particular hit up.
Not many scrums in the game, but the Blues looked solid for the first 60 minutes, lineout was solid.
On the Canes, if they get more accuracy on the pass, their backs are more than capable. Ben Lam looked the best of the Canes backs and when he has Laumape running off him, they make an awesome combo. Laumape was a handful throughout the game.
Fletcher Smith looked good at times, but I thought JGB looked better, seemed to have a bit more variety to his game and Booth had some great energy off the bench.
In the forwards, Liam Mitchell was prominent while on, Du Plessiss busy, along with Evans… Flanders added some real punch to the loosies and Rakete Stones put some heat on Renata at scrum time in the 2nd half…
Amua was well looked after, but did break one one occasion showing how good with ball in hand he is.
On the injuries:
- Lambourn will probably need stitches to the head
- Jamie Booth had a calf issue, talking to him he should be fine
- Only real concerns are James Tucker who’s knee injury looked dodgy
- There was some sort of issue with James Blackwell… unsure
Canes squad to travel to South Africa should be named shortly.
And gee Patrick Tuipulotu is a very big human being… scary guy especially given I have criticised him over the years… hope the guy for fills his potential now that he is the captain
On a lighter note, tried to convince Zarn Sullivan who was on the Blues bench to transfer up North to the Taniwha, but alas he’s signed with Auckland…
Good afternoon in the Sun… real stuff starts next week