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Watch: Kiwis carving up the north - international edition

Bundee Aki

Kiwis are making their presence felt in November via several international teams in the north, and not just the All Blacks and Maori All Blacks.


The first to catch the eye in the international window is Ireland’s debutant midfielder Bundee Aki. The 27-year-old former Chiefs and Steelers midfielder made a telling first play at this level, and he didn’t even have the ball. He put a heavy right shoulder into the midriff of Springboks bookend Coenie Oosthuizen, driving the big prop backwards and twisting his knee. Oosthuizen had to leave the field, setting the tone for Ireland’s emphatic 38-3 victory. Aki went on to make 15 solid tackles, second only to CJ Stander on the night in Dublin.

Samoa was edged 44-38 by Scotland, but Tim Nanai-Williams, operating at first five, helped himself to 18 points, 13 off the tee and waltzing over for a simple try. North Harbour loose forward Josh Tyrell, who was in the second row with former Harbour skipper Chris Vui, scored on debut. Bay of Plenty prop Jordan Lay was also on debut for the visitors.

Italy, with Kiwis Jayden Hayward – the former Hurricanes and Taranaki midfielder – and Dean Budd – the former Blues lock – in the mix, defeated Fiji 19-10. The latter included Harbour No 10 Ben Volavola, who slotted two goals, while former Chiefs threequarter Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Steelers lock Sikeli Nabou, played. Northland prop Ropate Rinakama debuted, at 29, for the Flying Fijians.

England’s 21-8 win over Argentina was uninspiring, but former Auckland No 8 Nathan Hughes did cross for a fine try, while Rotorua-born Dylan Hartley was at rake.

The UK Barbarians’ 27-24 win over Tonga featured a veritable plethora of New Zealanders or those with Kiwi connections.

George Bridge and Andy Ellis (off a driving maul!) scored tries for the Baabaas, and their teammates included Vince Aso, Richard Buckman, and former All Blacks Sevens and Auckland flyer David Smith.


Two of Tonga’s tries went to former Auckland wing Afa Pakalani and current Steelers loose forward Fotu Lokotui, while the squad featured a host of New Zealand origin players such as Nafi Tuitavake, Tevita Taufui, Kali Hala, Tane Takalua, Daniel Faleafa, Maama Vaipulu, Latu Talakai and Halani Aulika.

While the three big European competitions were on a break over the weekend due to the internationals, the second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup was in full swing.

Former North Harbour wing Ken Pisi scored a 60m intercept try for Northampton in the Saints’ 41-7 shellacking of the Dragons. Lock Michael Paterson, the man who was on the verge of the All Blacks in 2010, started in the second-row, while Teimana Harrison entered the fray off the bench.

Willi Heinz and Jeremy Thrush both crossed for tries, the latter securing the bonus point, in Gloucester’s 47-7 dismantling of London Irish. Also featuring for the West Country club were props John Afoa and Josh Hohneck.


Former Hawke’s Bay and Toulon wing Sinoti Sinoti scored a brace as Newcastle crushed a weakened Cardiff Blues 57-0, while bruising former Wellington and North Harbour No 8 Mat Luamanu crossed for a try in Harlequins’ 45-37 win over Worcester Warriors.


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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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