After watching the First Test yesterday morning and then watching it
again today, I believe that Phil Larder basically had a pretty good
gameplan with the right side but he could perhaps have made a couple of
decisions or selections which would have given him more option against
the Kiwis. Later in the documebnt, I have rated each GB player out of 10
with some comments on their performance.
Larder made a major mistake in using Senior on the bench instead of a
better defensive centre such as Mather. The Kiwis' real strength lies
within their centres and Mather has more experience in the big game than
Senior. Senior was at fault for both Timu tries mainly due to lack of
positional awareness. No offence to Sheffield but Mather's experiences
at Perth, Wigan and with England last year would have made him a better
Secondly, I thought Sculthorpe had a pretty good game and he is
definitely one for the future but I think starting with Joynt would be a
better idea. Joynt is a solid forward who can take the sting out of the
Kiwi forwards early is a proven big game performer. Sculthorpe in the
first test should have been used as the interchange off the bench to
use his ball handling skills after 30 mins rather than subjecting him to
the big hits in the early going. He is still a little undersized and we
need to get him more involved wide rather than doing the tough work in
I believe that the sin binning was v.harsh but the real problems occurred
just before that. First the penalty given to Stacy Jones when he clearly
lost the ball in front of our posts cost us 2 points which helped to get
the Kiwis back in the game. Before that they were a beaten side. The
injury to Spruce forced Radlinski to move to Fullback and Senior to be
introduced. For me, Radlinski had been having an outstanding game
against Timu and he was easily GB's best player. His defensive play
these days is just brilliant and even when out of position, he is
improving day by day. I used to always believe that Connolly at Fullback
didn't have anybody to touch him but RAds play recently means Connolly
can remain in the centres.
Rating the GB performances :
Couldn't find any fault with his performance, he looked assured and his
loss to the *** bin may have been a bigger blow than the sin binning.
Typical solid performance, didn't have many opportunities but always
handles the big game well.
Blotted out Timu completely and his tackle on Ridge late the game was
outstanding. Probably GBs best player. Timu only came into the game when
he was moved to Fullback.
I have seen Powell many times in tests and as a defensive player, he
always plays well. Today was no exception and he outplayed Blackmore.
This was his best test for a long time and he is still a useful
footballer in defense.
Few opportunities, but when he had the ball he looked sharp. I think we
will see more of him in the 2nd test.
A bit disappointing, he worked too much as the link and didn't commit the
defenders enough. He needs to impose himself more on the game. He is
different class to Ngamu his opposite number and should run rings around
him later in the series. More confidence or more input on attack needed.
Typical Bobbie. Excellent directing the play and his line and positional
kicking was excellent. I prefer him to commit the defender more by
running at them instead of across the field but had a big game and
A little short of class at this level, but he played his best game for GB
with some strong running all the way through the game. Couldn't really
Needs to do more damage at acting half and impact the game more. When
the Kiwis were getting on top in the 2nd half we needed him to make tome
Jackson-like breaks to relieve some pressure off the other forwards.
Solid early showing, improved when reintroduced and continued to run
strongly. Solid in defense also. Can improved to fill a vital position
for GB in the future.
Denis' best game for a couple of years. Ran hard and was obviouly fired
up against his teammates. His defense was also good apart from a poor
effort to tackle Hoppe which lead to the 1st try. Before that he put in
a five star performance and lead the younger forwards well.
Good start in big time football but he must be used in situations that
better suit his ball handling skills. Undersized at the moment for the
hard graft but he played hard. Must not lose the ball in the big
tackles. Spilled twice early. tackled his heart out. May be better off
the bench at the momment but a star of the future.
Solid if not spectacular by the skipper. Needs to find the gaps wider to
use his speed. Good tackling game and lead by example. Couldn't fault
his tactical game in conjunction with Bobbie.
Solid as ever and on both sides of the ball he is a big asset. Great
ball for Betts try'
Short of experience, class and confidence at this level. Mather is a
better bet for the other tests.
V.harsh decision by Harrigan against him. However needs to stop getting
sin binned and sent off as there was little doubt this was a killer.
Improving as a possible test player but not ready for the real stuff yet.
A professional performance even lacking our best players. I think we
will win the next 2 tests and take the series. Larder needs to continue
with the pincer defense to compact the Kiwis game and continue to turn
their attacks back inside as yesterday. Larder also need to better
identify Kiwis strengths, e.g centres and weaknesses e.g defensively on
the wings to both kick and general attack.
Please give me your views