Analysis

After Ben, Who’s Next At No.10? Like All Blacks, Let’s Build Depth In Every Position 

We have the players playing all over the world and need not be caught unaware when push comes to shove. We have players and time to work on.
18 Aug 2021 19:56
After Ben, Who’s Next At No.10? Like All Blacks, Let’s Build Depth In Every Position 
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians first five eighth, Ben Volavola and his All Blacks counterpart, Beauden Barret on July 17, 2021 . Photo: All Blacks Rugby

Legends of the game applauded the style of play displayed by the All Blacks over the weekend.

And rugby fans or the rest of the world could not agree less after the Bledisloe Test record 57-22 thumping of the Wallabies at Eden Park.

Among the many was Springbok 1995 Rugby World Cup winning lock forward Kobus Wiese who tweeted: “All Blacks displaying how rugby should be played!”

We are fortunate that the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians played the All Blacks twice last month going down 23-57 and 13-60 respectively Dunedin and Hamilton.

But what why does the All Blacks have that we, the rest of the rugby world, don’t?

Well, simply put, their consistency over the years was due to the strength and standard of domestic competitions which allowed them to build depth in every position from 1 to 23.

For example, for No.10 they have Richie Mounga, Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie to fall back on if the need arises.

Let’s not forget that during the 2011 RWC after Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden were injured, they had to call Stephen Donald who was out on a fishing trip. Known as the ‘Beaver’, he kicked the winning penalty in the final beating France 8-7 at Eden Park.

 

Rugby Hard Men

With rugby hard men like Simon Poivedon,  and Willie Ofahengaue in the pack, Wallabies excelled in the past with depth in class in every position.

Michael Lynagh, Stephen Larkham and Owen Flately ran the show from No.10 in the past.

Covering for injured James O’Connor, Noah Lolesio was thrown into the deep end by Coach Dave Rennie.

But his failure to operate from No.10 was a letdown resulting in the record loss.

This is a lesson for us, and we should have depth in every position and avoid blooding inexperienced players in the test arena and suffer the consequences.

 

First Choice

Ever since 2015, Ben Volavola has been our first choice at No.10 deputised through the years by fellow Tailevu native Alivereti Veitokani, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre and recently by Teti Tela.

But building up to the 2023 RWC, we need to have more cover and it’s not too late to blood Olympians like Napolioni Bolaca and Sireli Maqala.

And with Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter in New Zealand, he is in good space scouting for players playing in the National Provincial Championship, Super Rugby and Top 14 competitions in France.

We have close to 50 players who are Fijian born or have links to Fiji playing in the NPC with the third round kicking off this weekend.

The Top 14 and the Gallagher Premiership Rugby comp kicks off next month.

The All Blacks have set the pace and we need to bridge the gap by building depth in every position ahead of the 2023RWC.

We have the players playing all over the world and need not be caught unaware when push comes to shove.  We have players and time to work on.

The All Blacks have set the bar and the Flying Fijians need to up performance.

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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