Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let Richie do what he does best

Sandy Hunt in Swollen Grill
3:46 pm 12 December 2007

OK, I’m a parochial bloke when it comes to me footy and I’m slowly getting over me disappointment of seein’ the best man lose out on the All Blacks position.
So it’s time to swing in behind Ted and hope he can get the mighty ABs back to where they were a year or two ago.
But I’ve got a few early worries about what The Great Survivor has already been saying with regards to the shape of things to come.
Me top cause of concern would be this talk I’m hearing of switching Richie McCaw to blindside.

Why on earth would we want to do that?
Yeah, openside is a tough job but Richie’s as tough as nails and there’s no need to preserve his choir boy looks any more - they are long gone.
Seems to me we’d be trying to solve a problem that doesn’t’ exist - and that’s at blindside.
Don’t’ we have the hardest rooster in the game running around there in Jerry Collins?
Why would we need Richie and Jerry sharing that job? Jerry’s already made it plain that he’s over rotation.
He’s a guy who loves to pull his boots on week after week and it seems to me that’s what we should be doing with most of these blokes in the wake of all that swimming and kayaking we watched them doin’ not so long ago in France…
And when you look around the New Zealand scene there are plenty of other good blindsides around - Jerome Kaino, Sione Lauaki, Liam Messam, Troy Flavell and Craig Newby are just a few who have shown they have the games to succeed there.
But we ain’t exactly blessed with supreme talent at No 7 now that Marty Holah and Josh Blackie have taken the big bucks on offer overseas.
Chris Masoe’s a solid soldier and Daniel Braid has shown what it takes to survive as a specialist. But no one’s in Richie’s class and for my money, that’s where he’s got to stay.
He’s still quick and strong and he’s the best “cheat” we’ve got.
And let’s face it, “cheating” is an acknowledged skill for No 7s these days.
You push the limits all the way and there are few better players skilled at that than Mr McCaw.
If we’re goin’ to be playin’ this turbo-charged game under these new rules, then Richie’s just the guy we want roamin’ around like a bloodhound. Heck, if I had to transform Richie into something new, I’d do it off the back of the scrum at No 8.

But as I keep sayin’, I reckon Ted’s got bigger problems to worry about than with trying to preserve his skipper.
To my way of thinking it’s about time we sorted out this centre position once and for all.
Poor old Tana must have been cringing when he saw another makeshift No 13 line out in the World Cup quarter-final.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mils Muliaina’s game. I reckon he’s the most consistent back we’ve got. But he’s a fullback.
So Ted, concentrate your binoculars on the No 13s running around in the Super 14 and keep an eye on the second fives while you’re at it.
The midfield is lookin’ like the area that needs the most attention at the moment.
Don’t worry about Richie, he won’t let you down!

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