This was unusual for one important reason - it was the first real thinking I had done about rugby since the Canterbury / Wellington game. I have spent the last 10 days infected by snow fever. It isn't too much of a hardship, but it is all enveloping. Even the ABs loss to the Springboks didn't make too much of a dent. But now I have skied... and life can return to normal.
Back to the Wellington game, not the best result but "by Hoki!" didn't the Canterbury backline look sweet! I don't think I have ever seen them looking so sharp for a first up match! "This," I thought. "Is more like it!"
So I was wondering two things about the re-integration of the Canterbury ABs:
What would it do to the back line,
and wasn't it a pity that Darryl Gibson would stop being captain.
I feel that these two things are intrinsically linked. We have all seen the bad effect on some players of being made Captain. Even Vice Captain can seem to be too heavy a load for some players.
Others just get on with it and never seem to have been anything else other than the leader.
For Darryl Gibson, I think it has gone even further. It has really focused him.
The Canterbury back line has been a worry in the last little while. Injections of brilliance by the likes of Ben Blair only helped to emphasize the averageness of last years backs. But now it is looking as slick as Carlos Spensors hair do! The Captain has an awesome responsibility when it comes to molding a team especially in the early season, and Gibbo had some large shoes to fill.
The Crusaders must have a deleterious effect. You can't have that many imports in a team without leaving a few holes at NPC time. Aucklanders should be justifiable proud of their wingers! No, not the ones in the Blues, the ones in the Crusaders! What depth! something Canterbury have in abundance in the forwards, but seem to lack in the backs.
But not it seems, this year.
Now we know that Daryl Gibson is remaining Captain for the rest of the NPC - good call. Gibbo might have been hanging in there for Toddy's return, but he has done a sterling job. He deserves the credit and the chance to show us what else he can achieve as Captain.
This decision certainly won't cause any ego problems for Toddy, and I hope that it will even be a bit of a relief for him. For a first time AB captain the requirements must be fairly daunting.
I have never seen the guy on so many magazine front pages!
To be able to step back, to just concentrate on being the best lock in the NPC, will be an amazing change for him. Add being able to rev up for a game against Auckland, and it should make it as good a week in Rugby as Toddy could ask for.
I'm sure that there is no truth to the rumour that management have taken to placing Andy Hayden's face on tackling bags. The team have a chance to beat Auckland this weekend, what extra inducement is required!
GO YOU GOOD THINGS!!