Another lovely weekend of sporting action awaits us, so forget your troubles and if you're not out enjoying mother nature, shotgun the remote on the double.
The All Blacks will take on Scotland which is shaping as an intriguing look in to what the All Blacks have up their sleeves. Scotland were pretty impressive last week against Argentina which when combined with a fresh squad selected by Shag, makes for a tricky contest. Scotland could definitely step up and do something crazy, something for the history books but in Shag we trust. He's named a very, very solid team despite there being plenty of new faces and guys in weird positions.
I won't run through the whole team, I mean I could - that's how many changes there are. But obviously seeing Colin Slade on the wing will be interesting, as will seeing Dan Carter return to the 10 jersey. The midfield is also funky with Malakai Fekitoa partnering Ryan Cotty, there's no reason as to why they shouldn't go well as they are sticking to the proven formula - Crotty is more Conrad Smith, Fekitoa is more Nonu/SBW. In the forwards we get another chance to see Sam Cane work his magic, these sorts of games are big for him as he's nek in line to take the throne once King Richie retires after the World Cup. Also Dominic Bird, big lad capable of damage and similar to Brodie Rettalick in terms of getting round the park.
Here's hoping that this All Blacks side doesn't slip up. It's a recipe for disaster, intentionally rotating the squad which on the one hand is a great opportunity to spread the game time which is never a dumb thing to do. On the other hand, everyone will rip in to Shag if they loose. Good luck Shag.
Any weekend when the All Whites are playing is a great weekend for me, add the Kiwis vs Kangaroos and it becomes a blockbuster. However, the league always gets plenty of loving on our pages so I'll take a look at this All Whites vs China fixture. It's one that perks the hairs up because the All Whites are in a similar spot to the Black Caps - they have solid leadership, they're probably the most talented they've ever been and there's young blood.
It's a great chance to see where this All Whites side is at, but more importantly it's a chance for them to play footy together. Yes, stop being so selfish it's about them, not us. The only thing that matters for the All Whites is qualifying for the World Cup and with a new coach, new style and new ideas being implemented, they will need plenty of game time. Congrats to Chris Wood on the captaincy, always an honour but I wanna see Ryan Thomas in action. I wanna see how Bill Tuiloma is traveling and whether he will be given the defensive midfielder duties. I wanna see Marco Rojas dribbling at defenders and I wanna see some passes strung together.
There are many names who I know nothing about, which is fine ... in fact it is awesome. The talent seems to be there, it's just about this group and the wider squad spending time together and with Andrew Hudson. This weekend is all about the coaches, from Shag to Hudson we'll get to see what they're made of and how they inspire their troops to a result while keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Peace, love and unity.