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Author Topic: GB-NZ Test Series
PR7th Heaven
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I'm a bit surprised to see that there's no thread on this. I've been away for two weeks otherwise I'd have started one before. Anyway, GB, in their last Test series before changing their name to England, beat a severely weakened NZ team 44-0 last night to take the series with a game remaining. That's at Wigan next Saturday evening, and I look forward to the possibility of a whitewash. NZ have had a nightmare in this international period, losing heavily to Australia before setting off to the UK. It's Britain's first series win since 1993, when we also whitewashed NZ.
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Joe Public
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I really rate Tony Smith as a coach and GB (England) did well to get him. This is a good side developing with a pacey creative axis permed from Burrows/McGuire/Sinfield/O'Loughlin and a powerhouse stand-off in the Aussie mould in Leon Pryce, a player who looks a lot cuter tactically than he used to.

We'll need to raise our game another few notches for a fully fit NZ and the Australians come WC time, but it's coming along nicely.

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Rogin the Armchair fan
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I'm a bit pissed off by last night, to be honest, I'd have got tickets to the JJB next week had it been a decider to join my mates Helen and Andy (who will be going), and it would have been a good night out, but I don't want to pay all that money to go to Wigan to watch what will in all probability end up another one-sided game, and is in any case a dead rubber anyway.

(NB I know it's only about 15 to get a ticket, but it would cost me about 20 on top to actually get there, as I wouldn't drive, and at that time of night I'm facing taxis to and from Leyland and a return train fare to Wigan).

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Gangster Octopus
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Danger Mouse is also going.
Posts: 20721 | From: Far away, without a city wall | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PR7th Heaven
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GB completed the series whitewash last night, despite several lineup changes, with a 28-22 win which was not as close as the scoreline suggests. After conceding two early tries, GB introduced James Graham and got their act together, scoring three quick tries before the break. Burrows' wayward place kicking meant the half-time advantage was slender, but he scored early in the second half to calm nerves, and went on to be awarded the Man of the Series. Sean O'Loughlin was man of the match, which doubtless pleased the Wiganers in the crowd. Both selections were open to question, mainly because this has been an excellent series for the home side. Jame Peacock. Adrian Morley and Keith Senior all stood out for me, as did Leon Pryce who didn't play last night.

GB didn't hit the heights of the first two games in terms of offloads, although when they did chuck the ball around it was usually to good effect. New Zealand looked desperately short on confidence, and despite lots of possession in the GB half scored only when the game was beyond them after their early flurry.

It was a great moment to see GB lift the trophy after the game, and then to undertake a lap of honour, led by Morley. Morley seemed overcome by the emotion of the occasion, or so I felt as he seemed to looked directly up at me, stood 30 rows back. It was a shame that most of the healthy 21.000+ crowd had not stayed to see it, and there was actually nobody in front of me.

The future of international RL will be decided by the success or otherwise of next year's World Cup, which effectively means someone giving Australia a run for their money and thereby filling some stadia. At the moment, England are best placed to be that team, although a full-strength NZ side will also be a danger. The mooted expansion of the Tri-Nations to include Papua New Guinea in the southern hemisphere and France in the North should add to what is already an exciting competition. There's still something missing, though. Last night's crowd was good for a dead rubber, but Wigan vs Saints drew a bigger crowd twice last season for what is a decidedly parochial affair whilst Wigan remain a mid-table side. Is there any mileage in a State of Origin-style home nations series, I wonder?

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Joe Public
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Possibly.

Of course the Roses 'County of Origin' idea has been exhumed on a semi-regular basis over the last twenty years or so but public reception was found to be cool.

I'd be happy to stick with the Tri-Nations. Matches from this competition have made up my favourite sporting moments from the last few years.

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Gangster Octopus
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I've got a Yorkshire shirt from one of those County Of Origin games. It appears to have shrunk over the years...
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Dr. Hofzinser
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What's the status of RL in New Zealand? Is it played in a particular region, like in Australia and England? Or is their team basically made up of players not good enough to play for the All Blacks? Or what?
Posts: 9155 | From: salubrious Crouch End | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Joe Public
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quote:
Or is their team basically made up of players not good enough to play for the All Blacks?
Stephen Jones has got a lot to answer for.
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GIK
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But you dont deny the claim!

I think it's fair to say that RL is growing in AZ, the inclusion of basically the NZ (Warriors) side in the Aussie league set up has helped enormously, and the way it's marketed down under, as some intense physical game seems to play up to stereotypes, I also think that the AB continued inability to win big prizes and the talent drain North will further help, but I don't see League ousting Rugby yet.

More lucrative for League may be the pacific Islands, especially Samoa and Tonga, where the IRB's short sightedness seems set to backfire, forcing local talent out. If the League boys can get their act together theres a market there, and again the blood and thunder approach seems to find favour in the islands.

Is it simply boys not good enough to play rugby who drift into league? Doubt it, there are some excellent ball players in the League team, and they're plenty big enough, when and how they decide to focus on league I'm not sure, but there seems little evidence that League is being taught in schools too much outside of the Greater Auckland area, and there's not too much League being played on the South Island at all it seems, even in Canterbury.

I suppose League has carved a niche, especially in and around Auckland, but the partcipation rates drop away quite markedly as you move further South. The sport seems to be most popular amongst Māori and those of Island origin, and again this supports the premise that League is centred around Greater Auckland.

I imagine there have been some changes, theres some interesting data on the web, but a lot looks a litle aged now, with the SPARC (Sport and Recreation in NZ) surveys finishing in the middle of the deacde.

League seems to be growing and is approaching the participation rates for Rugby in sub-teen boys, but drops off as kids age and move into adulthood, and in those groups barely manages to make the top 15 participation sports, although both Rugby and Touch Rugby make the top 5.

Still some way to go then.

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PR7th Heaven
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I note that NZ at least managed to end their nightmare tour with a win in Paris in their final test. They came through 22-14, although according to this report from the NZ Herald they were lucky. To put that in some sort of context, Great Britain beat France 42-14 at Leeds in June.
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Posty Webber
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If the Samoan League side had all the players eligible to represent them available, they'd give the other nations a run for their money:

NRL
1. Krisnan Inu
2. Chase Stanley
3. Nigel Vagana
4. Steve Matai
5. Matthew Utai
6. Ben Roberts
7. Karmichael Hunt
8. Roy Asotasi
9. David Faiumu
10. Ruben Wiki
11. Sonny-Bill Williams
12. David Faalogo
13. Reni Maitua
14. Tony Puletua
15. Frank Pritchard
16. Sione Faumuina
17. Jerome Ropati

English Super League
1. David Vaealiki
2. Francis Meli
3. Jamaal Lolesi
4. Willie Talau
5. Henry Faafili
6. David Solomona
7. Thomas Leuluai
8. Iafeta Paleaaesina
9. Motu Tony
10. Hutch Maiava
11. Ali Lauitiiti
12. Maurie Faasavalu
13. Grey Viane
14. Joe Vagana
15. Jerry SeuSeu
16. Kyle Leuluai
17. Phil Leuluai

The NRL side above is special, and the Super League one reads like a journeyman's XIII, as you'd expect.

[ 20.11.2007, 06:06: Message edited by: Posty Webber ]

Posts: 1019 | From: the family Hominidae | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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