Well. . .this just about sums the game up.
The Hurricanes might blow up but, they ain’t (as we used to say in the early 90’s) tha bomb. . .
1 John Schwalger
2 Andrew Hore
3 Neemia Tialata
4 Paul Tito
5 Jason Eaton
6 Jerry Collins
7 Chris Masoe
8 Rodney So’oialo (capt)
9 Alby Mathewson
10 Piri Weepu
11 Hosea Gear
12 Ma’a Nonu
13 Conrad Smith
14 Shannon Paku
15 Cory Jane
The lineup for the match against the Bulls looks like a Super 14 2006 lineup, too but, looks are don't mean a damn thing. This is not your world class Super 14 2006 finalist team, not by a damn long shot.
Despite a starting XV Canes lineup resembling a Super 14 2006 lineup, the Hurricanes sank like so many porous stones last week in the match against the Lions, who snarled, pounced and ripped them to shreds.
At the end of the murderous mauling, the score was a humiliating 30-7. The Lions certainly were braced for impact as the Canes got twisted up in the eye of their own storm, playing the keystone rugby (missed tackles, dropped balls, weak passes) that has become their hallmark of late.
Colin Cooper’s desperate gamble of starting all six returning ABs did not pay off. It was a long-shot crap shoot at best, and Cooper rolled Snake Eyes as the “gang of six” failed to bring the destruction, terror and mayhem that Collins & Co. did last year.
The Lions took the Canes to school, but it’s unclear whether or not they learned their lesson. You can blame the forwards, or you can point fingers at the backs but, the fact is, much like sex, rugby is a mind game, and the Canes just ain’t thinking about Super 14.
It’s World Cup year, and Tialata’s hollow, glazed, wild-eyed stare is proof that these men are feeling the pressure to make Graham Henry’s 30-man squad. Henry himself has subtly alluded that this Super 14 season might have to be sacrificed for the World Cup, and many of the Canes players seem to have bought that bridge.
Besides their six re-conditioned Abs (more on that later, in another post), they have at least three or four other guys who could make Henry’s precision cut. Indeed, it doesn’t help their concentration on the Super 14 task at hand when the Puppet Master sits on the sidelines at practices, sizing up the players, looking for flaws, deficiencies, and inconsistencies.
The next game truly is piss, or get off the pot, n!gga. The Canes gotta bring it like they ain’t neva brought it before, or they can pretty much send this season off to hell in a handbasket.
Cooper’s feeling the noose around his neck, and he’s making more radical changes, hoping something works, if it’s nothing but the law of damn averages which says they can’t keep losing.
So Colin’s moving Piri Weepu (who ditched the Allen “A.I.” Iverson braids) to number10, a position usually played by Gopperth, or Stewart. Cooper’s a bit miffed with James at the moment but, who knows why? I mean, a blind man with bifocals can see that Jimmy will miss a damn kick. That’s what Gopperth does, he misses kicks so I don’t know why Cooper is PMSing about it.
The scrum-half Weepu is a bit caught off guard but, willing to get in there and give it his all. Not that he has a choice. You see, Ted was at practice, and gave the thumbs up to Cooper’s decision to kick Gopperth and Stewart to the curb. Weepu’s a versatile player, and no doubt, Henry wants to see how he can squeeze all the life blood. . .er, I mean, make the most of Weepu’s talents in France, should the back-loaded scrum-half be chosen.
Shannon Paku is coming in for Lome Fa’atau who seems to have forgotten how to score tries, and Little Tana (Ma’a Nonu) is subbing for Big Daddy Umaga who’s having some issues. The good news is, Cooper has regained some of his senses and put David Smith on the reserves bench, and I’m hoping this tasty, talented F.O.B. gets a chance to shine.
Once again, all six ABs a playing, even though Collins is having a foot challenge, having come up a bit lame in the game against the Lions.
Nevertheless, the fact is, the Canes have to start winning, or they might as well go home and call it a damn day.