NZ Training Squad: Young Guns and Old Guard

Steve Hansen, NZ head coach: he’s been around the set-up for a long time, and he has previous experience as an international head coach with Wales. With so much emphasis on the All Blacks winning their home World Cup, there was always going to be an odd honeymoon period afterwards once they took the William Webb Ellis trophy, but his first squad is a bit of a shake-up.

The New Zealand All Blacks have picked a 35-strong training squad to prepare for the forthcoming visit of Ireland for a three match test series in June, and it’s pretty interesting to see the turnover of personnel since their victorious World Cup. Continue reading

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He’s No Diego Dominguez: Italy Squad Review

'Hey Salvatori! Why you-a no sing-a wid-a yo accent no more?"

Just as is the case with Ireland, group opponents Italy aren’t firing on all cylinders in the run-up to RWC11. Grand, we’ve lost four in a row, but sneaking a home win over Japan? Is that really any better? Continue reading

Do You Have Fire?*: Argentina Squad Review

Don't have a maté, it's absolutely rank. It tastes like wet dog.

To most, the Pumas were the surprise package of the last world cup, beating the hosts France [twice] and a highly-touted Ireland along the way to a third-place finish. They were magnificent in that tournament, playing a pretty limited but extremely physical brand of rugby that was occasionally lit up by some fantastic performances from their talented backs. Continue reading

The Pink Panther Strikes Again – France World Cup

“Clouseau is the bumbling and incompetent police inspector of the French Sûreté, whose investigations are marked with chaos and destruction that he himself largely causes. Regardless of his rather limited ability, he successfully solves his cases and finds the correct culprits, even if this success is achieved entirely by accident.” Continue reading

G’Day Australia, I’m Excited – Australia Squad Preview

In the 2007 Super 14 season, the Queensland Reds were brutal. They finished ten points adrift at the bottom of the table with two wins, the lowest in the competition, the second lowest points scored tally and the worst defensive record. In the final match of the season, the Blue Bulls beat them 92-3. Amidst all this mediocrity, James Horwill ran about the place making tackles, hitting rucks, carrying the football and sticking out like a sore thumb. Many of the Reds squad mentioned him as their favourite team mate, highlighting his enthusiasm. He earned the soubriquet ‘Big Kev’, named for an Australian entrepreneur who promoted his own cleaning products with the catchphrase “I’m Excited”. This season, the Queensland Reds, under Horwill’s captaincy, finished top of the log and beat the Crusaders in the final. James Horwill is a champion.
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