Opinion

Snook: Taranaki's man from Gore a class act

Marty McKenzie

OPINION: Marty McKenzie's selection at first-five eighth might herald a newcomer of the highest quality for Taranaki.

Reason: Man mountain Matfield still one of best

Victor Matfield

OPINION: You can calibrate his height, but it's surely impossible to measure just how big a man the Springboks legendary lock is.

Mehrtens: Beware of Boks as World Cup looms

Cornal Hendricks

OPINION: ABs march on undefeated but South Africa demonstrated they are big-time World Cup threats.

McCaw up off floor and to the fore once again

Richie McCaw

OPINION: There is little more that can be said of Richie McCaw that has not already been printed, broadcast or televised.

Wilson: Boks picked on merit, not quotas

Cornal Hendricks

JEFF WILSON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: The South African Rugby Union's philosophy should be to develop players of all colours, writes Jeff Wilson.

Snook: Give Barrett a chance or risk losing him

Beauden Barrett

IAN SNOOK - Taranaki Daily News

OPINION: With Beauden Barrett not selected to start in the test match against South Africa, perhaps his mind could wander off.

Mehrtens: Refs a blight on international game

Richie McCaw

ANDREW MEHRTENS - Stuff

OPINION: Why does rugby have the worst standard of international refereeing?

Blundering referees applying heat to IRB

George Clancy

RICHARD KNOWLER - Stuff

OPINION: Horrible calls confirm standard of international refereeing is in freefall.

Wilson: Can't afford to lose the valuable NPC

Empty seats

JEFF WILSON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: As the gap between Super Rugby and our provincial comp widens, crowds are dwindling, yet it remains a very valuable pathway.

Gifford: Why the All Blacks are just that good

Conrad Smith

PHIL GIFFORD - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: Why does New Zealand rugby continue to defy the odds and remain the world benchmark for success.

Knowler: Steve Hansen demands accountability

Charlie Faumuina

RICHARD KNOWLER - Stuff

OPINION: Steve Hansen got his slingshot, imagined Charlie Faumuina had a bull's eye on his forehead and fired a rock just below the hairline.

Mehrtens: Code switchers, who will make RWC?

Sonny Bill Williams, right, Sam Burgess

ANDREW MEHRTENS - Stuff

OPINION: It's early days but I know which guy I would be on to make a better fist of the role at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Robson: Ben Smith better suited out wide for ABs

Ben Smith

TOBY ROBSON IN NAPIER - Stuff

OPINION: Star utility is a better wing, while Israel Dagg deserves the nod at fullback for All Blacks.

Reason: Rugby replacements rule has its flaws

Pumas

MARK REASON - Stuff

OPINION: If ever replacement rule made a mockery of the game, the second Pumas-Springboks test was it.

Gifford: Has All Blacks aura gone? Yeah, right

All Blacks

PHIL GIFFORD - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: If the All Blacks and their coaches haven't shut up their critics by now, you wonder what will it take.

Rugby's Superman McCaw deserves super fans

Richie McCaw

JEFF WILSON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: After Richie McCaw's display at Eden Park against the Wallabies, surely his critics will have learned to zip it.

Randell: Sonny Bill will be second fiddle to Nonu

Ma'a Nonu

TAINE RANDELL - Sunday News

OPINION: While Sonny Bill Williams is a talented athlete, Ma'a Nonu remains New Zealand's best option at second-five.

Page: Canterbury rules but NPC serves purpose

JACOB PAGE - The Timaru Herald

OPINION: The NPC competition may be losing some of its glory but the competition is still serving its main purpose of blooding players.

Cully: Only catering can stop ABs winning Cup

All Blacks 1995

OPINION: Optimisim for the Wallabies might be forlorn as depth and talent ought to push ABs to WC glory in 2015.

Eade: 'Ugly' win still a win - bracing for Otago

Scott Eade

SCOTT EADE - The Southland Times

OPINION: Despite the nail-biting finish many had to endure watching last week's match, the team was more than happy to come away with four points.

Snook: Fear of losing maintains All Blacks edge

All Blacks

IAN SNOOK - Taranaki Daily News

OPINION: Just when it seems like the Wallabies are closing the gap, the All Blacks produce a performance from another planet.

The sublime, the bad and ugly from Eden Park

Aaron Cruden

MARK REASON - Stuff

OPINION: What a complete joy it was to watch the All Blacks pass the ball as only they can.

Mehrtens: Simple football with ruthless intent

Brodie Retallick

ANDREW MEHRTENS - Stuff

OPINION: How wrong was I when I predicted the Wallabies would be an even bigger threat in Bledisloe II?

Knowler: NZRU courts controversy with SBW

Sonny Bill Williams

RICHARD KNOWLER - The Press

OPINION: No conspiracy here, guys. Move on, move on; can't you see we are trying to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.

Robson: Smoothing path for SBW is smart play

Sonny Bill Williams

TOBY ROBSON - The Dominion Post

OPINION: SBW's special exemption for the All Blacks end of year tour was a smart and pragmatic play by Steve Hansen.

Reason: Heretics question hallowed NZ skipper

Richie McCaw

MARK REASON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: As a nation, are we so in awe of the great All Blacks captain that we cannot mention the unmentionable?

Gifford: Whineray's heroes worth worshipping

Wilson Whineray

OPINION PHIL GIFFORD - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: Memory is a powerful drug and during the week mine got hooked on one of the great All Blacks teams.

Wilson: Boks need to find formula that works

Schalk Burger

JEFF WILSON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: The more things change with our old mates across the Tasman, the more they stay the same with our rivals in the republic.

Robson: All Blacks must show more arrogance

Steve Hansen

TOBY ROBSON - The Dominion Post

OPINION: It's often a dirty word when it comes to the ABs, but it's a quality they need to re-impose on the Wallabies.

Stags on a winning track after season opener

Scott Eade

OPINION: Hopefully what you saw last Friday was a snippet of what we are trying to achieve when we have the ball in hand this season.

Rugby must front up to a refereeing challenge

Jaco Peyper

IAN SNOOK - Taranaki Daily News

OPINION: Before the latest Bledisloe Cup test the stats suggested only one team could win.

Johnstone: Time for All Blacks to break shackles

Dane Coles, All Blacks

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE - Stuff

OPINION: Late heroics becoming an alarming trend for ABs, who instead should be dominating up front early.

Reason: All Blacks in need of some new tricks?

Steve Hansen

MARK REASON - Stuff

OPINION: First test exposed All Blacks' lack of new ideas, so what's coach Steve Hansen got to do?

Johnstone: Rugby replacements revamp needed

Dane Coles

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE - Stuff

OPINION: Coles deserved to stay on - playing the rugby of his life - but no, he's off in the 52nd. It's time for interchange.

Mehrtens: Records at risk as Wallabies eye coup

Michael Hooper

ANDREW MEHRTENS - Stuff

OPINION: Andrew Mehrtens sees the Wallabies as an even bigger threat this weekend at Eden Park.

Burke: Eden Park no garden for Wallabies

All Blacks

MATT BURKE - Sunday News

OPINION: Next weekend the Wallabies will attempt to scale rugby's Mt Everest by playing the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Randell: Time to punt value of kicks into touch

Jonny Wilkinson

TAINE RANDELL - Sunday News

OPINION: It's time for rugby's decision-makers to reduce the value of dropped goals to one point.

All Blacks have Bledisloe history on their side

All Blacks haka

IAN SNOOK - Taranaki Daily News

OPINION: All Blacks fans can rest easy - they're about to add a further record to their long list of accomplishments.

Reason: Is All Blacks aura of invincibility gone?

All Blacks haka

MARK REASON - Stuff

OPINION: Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match against Australia is not all about the world record winning streak.

Mehrtens: This could be Nonu's kind of match

Ma'a Nonu

ANDREW MEHRTENS - Stuff

OPINION: This week's Bledisloe opener in Sydney looks like a test match Ma'a Nonu can leave his imprint all over.

Wilson: Why the All Blacks will reign in Sydney

Richie McCaw

JEFF WILSON - Sunday Star Times

OPINION: This is the most anticipated Bledisloe Cup test in recent memory because the Wallabies can challenge NZ.

Long: Last rites for National Provincial comp?

Scott Robertson

DAVID LONG - Sunday News

OPINION: I'll still watch most of the national provincial championship each week, but I fear that I'm in the minority.

Randell: ABs have enough to see off Australians

Taine Randell

TAINE RANDELL - Sunday News

OPINION: It's almost poetic that the All Blacks must get past the Wallabies to claim a world record, says Taine Randell.

Matt Burke: This is the 'Year of the Wallabies'

Ewen McKenzie, Wallabies

MATT BURKE - Sun-Herald

The time for hoping and wishing is over. This is the year the Wallabies can win back the Bledisloe Cup.

Smith: Free tickets for the red-zone rugby fans

rugby ball generic

TONY SMITH - The Press

OPINION: Perhaps the Canterbury Rugby Union could set aside a section of AMI Stadium for Christchurch red-zone residents.

Page: Are coaches keeping up with the play?

Dan Carter

JACOB PAGE - The Timaru Herald

OPINION: Having watched the 2014 Super Rugby final multiple times, it's worth pondering if coaches always make the right calls.

Snook: It's game on from the word go in NPC

IAN ELIASON

IAN SNOOK - Taranaki Daily News

OPINION: A top four spot along with Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland would determine a really successful season for Taranaki.

Reason: There is much to savour from defeat

Richie McCaw

MARK REASON - Stuff

OPINION: Sometimes failure can be more glorious than success. Sometimes defeat can be more glorious than victory.

Is the World Cup dream over for Dan Carter?

Dan Carter

MARC HINTON - Stuff

OPINION: Dan Carter has all the will in the world to play in his fourth World Cup; but a body that is betraying him seemingly at every turn.

Knowler: Crusaders' best chance goes begging

Kieran Read

RICHARD KNOWLER - The Press

OPINION: With so many leaving the franchise, nothing will remain the same for the Crusaders' squad of 2014.
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