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Carters Cardiff Cuddle Turns Off IRB

Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith
Dan Carter

Many women and probably more than a few men would love Daniel Carter to wrap his arms around their neck, but not the IRB it seems. Dan has been cited for his little cuddle in Cardiff with Martin Roberts played out on the big screen before a clearly jealous crowd. For many fans of Daniels looks the prospect of being taken in his arms and forcefully moved into a horizontal position falls within the 'wouldn't say no' category.   

So all cuddles aside lets move onto the game. After a week of public bitching at each other the NZ born Welsh Coaches Reunion finished on a 'high note' on the weekend when the Gatland XV went down to the Henry/Hansen XV in a close game at Millenium Stadium.

Here are some observations from a fan who has watched the All Blacks and Wales battle it out for years and was pleased to see a return to the closely fought rivalry of the past. 

Crowd - As far as test matches go the game was a ripper. The Welsh crowd has to be up there near the top as far as world rugby crowds go. Not sure about the daffodil outfits though.

Rotation - the AB coaches are like naughty school boys who are deperate to do something but know they are not allowed to because they are being watched. To try and get around it they have rotated themselves, but we can see it creeping into the selection more and more. Stop it chaps. Stop it now. For years All Blacks coaches have had to make hard choices on team selection. In recent times this has been avoided by making the playing squad bigger than a small European Nation, and giving everyone a game every now and then.

Whinging - Ever since John Ashworth mistook JPR Williams head for a ball and rucked it back in 1978 opponents in the British Isles have delighted in getting themselves all wound up over alleged All Blacks skulduggery so they don't have to think about losing. Too bad that Brendon Leonards head got fly kicked 50 metres down the field, lets focus on a high tackle that was very much at the low end of the high tackle scale. 

Reuben Thorne - It is official. Kieran Reid is now firmly installed as the successor to Reuben Thorne. Rodney and Adam might as well suss out that English contract now while they are over there. As long as this coaching panel is in power its lean pickings for you guys in the loosies line up.

Pride - Ever since the decline of Welsh rugby following the glory days of the 1970's, The Welsh have tended to follow the English example of celebrating failure in the absence of victory. It is easy for the English they are the best at it. Any nation that can celebrate defeats like The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dunkirk as some kind of victory are a class apart. The Welsh though had built their rugby reputation on hard as nails forwards and classy side-stepping backs. It was pleasing to see on the weekend that Pride in the Welsh Jersey was backed up with pride in defending their line and never giving up. The backs have a way to go, but the team spirit they displayed will see them hard to beat in the Six Nations tournament to come.   

Bendon Leonard - I woke up this morning to hear that Brendon had a bad game. News to me. I thought he went ok before the kick. I defy anyone to get kicked in the head then do something that requires clear thinking and precision coordination. 

Intercept Pass - Well done Jimmy Cowan  for having the foresight to throw an intercept pass to a lock and not one of the backs. Clever thinking. Definitely a step up from Carlos in the 2003 World Cup Semi-Final. Good to see we are learning. Its all about 'progression' as Graham would say.

Wonderful Wingers - Corey Jane and Zac Guildford - long may you reign on the wings. Great to see pace, skill and finesse replacing a one dimensional power game. Add Sean Maitland and that looks like an excellent back three for the 2011 World Cup.

Brad Thorn - Forget age this guy is like Frank Bunce and saving the best till last. Fantastic ball carrying and breakdown work. It is a pity Isaac Ross is not there at his side to learn from him. Great to have a week off talking about the lineouts as well.

Jason Eaton's Beard - Definitley getting to the stage where we can add a parrot and an eye patch to produce our very own Jack Sparrow 'down under'.

So on to Italy next week. I hope the 80,00 fans who paid top dosh for a seat at the San Siro don't mind seeing a random selection of the wider squad in action. On the strength of the Italians performance against the All Blacks in Dunedin this year the AB's had better be on their guard.

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