NZ Rugby World

NZ Rugby World February - March 2019

New Zealand Rugby World is the premier authority on our national game; with sharp analysis and irreverent humour the two key components. In both style and content the writing is award winning and provides an unparalleled depth of insight into the people who play the game and the issues that matter to the fans. The cast of contributors is world class as is the photography and lay-out. Pick this magazine up and you won't want to put it down - rugby has never been so much fun.

New Zealand
Langhills Publishing Ltd
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
editor’s letter

WELCOME TO WORLD CUP YEAR, WHERE JUST ABOUT ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN and just about any amount of nonsensical theories can be espoused with impunity. It is a genuine phenomenon that the final year of a World Cup cycle throws up more memorable incidents than the other three years. Remember 2007 and the dreaded reconditioning programme that saw 22 All Blacks miss the first half of Super Rugby? What a disaster that was. Then there was the incredible story of Colin Slade in 2011 who broke his jaw not once, but twice in Super Rugby and still made it to the World Cup. That was also the year we saw the Reds win a title on the back of the play-making genius of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. In 2015 we saw Charles Piutau turn his…

5 min.
the elephant in the room

DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT HE’S BACK… over there in the corner, wearing the dark glasses and the false moustache. Yes, its that elephant called Billy Ellis, and he’s about to start riding a unicycle round the room, knocking over vases, ruffling up the mats and photo bombing at every opportunity until he gets the limelight to himself in September. Come November 2 not much else that has happened this year will be remembered, except maybe if the Bledisloe Cup goes west, but that’s not to say that what happens over the next seven months won’t be fascinating, and fun to watch unfold. It is debatable how much Super Rugby or the Rugby Championship impact on the World Cup. You could argue the Bulls win in 2007 was the springboard for the Springboks, showing…

4 min.
a welcome recalibration

CONCENTRATE, WATCH MY LIPS. The most important tournament right now in New Zealand is the Super Rugby series. It’s the testing ground for so many of the rugby puzzles which will find resolutions as the year then works through an abbreviated All Blacks programme and onto the World Cup and into questions about who takes over as coach from Steve Hansen next year. The World Cup will intrigue and concentrate our attention later this year but the foundations for that selection need to be coordinated and channelled through the next few months and the All Blacks panel will want multiple cover for every position as they survey the form charts. Another hardcore production from the Crusaders will promote cries for Scott Robertson to be included somewhere on the next national coaching panel while…

15 min.
quick guide to super rugby 2019

Blues Our Prediction Beaten Quarter-finalist RECRUITMENT BALANCE They should be happy with their work in the market – bringing Ma'a Nonu and Karl Tu'inukuafe is smart business. While Jerome Kaino was a Blues legend, his best days were behind him and George Moala had gone way off the boil. The two pieces of their puzzle still missing are a quality halfback and fullback but they can be on the shopping list for next season. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TACTICALLY? This is the biggest question of all with the Blues and one that is hard to answer given the influx of a new coaching team. Probably, what we should see is a team that is willing to take risks from deep and move the ball out of contact from anywhere on the field. High risk rugby with a touch of…

14 min.
everything on the line

World Cup years never fail to throw up something unexpected. There will be in 2019, as there always has, a number of storylines no one saw coming. It’s just the way it is because as hard as everyone might try to treat it as a normal year, it isn't. The World Cup looms large over everything. The All Blacks will play their first test against South Africa in Yokohama almost exactly seven months after the first Super Rugby game kicks-off. Seven months in rugby terms is not that long in one sense. A serious injury and a World Cup dream can be shattered. There have been plenty unfortunate to suffer that fate. In 2015 the big casualty was Aaron Cruden. He was looking sharp and confident but in a game against the Crusaders his studs…

3 min.
the five most important questions

01 CAN THE BLUES BE ANY WORSE? Was last year the nadir? We have thought so many times before that the Blues can’t get any worse…and then they surprise us. But surely this is the year they finally start to come right? They have a decent tight five now, a few good loose forwards, a world class midfield and the best finisher in world rugby. And most importantly, they have a coaching set up that everyone agrees is better than it has been for, well…a long, long time. Will this be the year they finally win a few local derbies, earn a handful of victories on the road and become much harder to beat at Eden Park? 02 JUGGLING THE BLINDSIDE The crazy thing about the Highlanders is that they have four of the five best…