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A Look Back on the NPC…
A Look Back on the NPC…
(Well, us Cantabs don't have much to look forward to! *sob*)

The finals of the NPC are now of passing interest only to me. But I don't intend to whinge too much. I hope that you can believe me that I am not disappointed in Canterbury finishing 5th. My disappointment is reserved for the lack of consistent form and commitment that was shown in the last few games.

Congratulations to North Harbour and Wellington, both have shown themselves more deserving of 3rd and 4th place this year.

And as I have said to others before you (dear reader) a win against Auckland can sustain you for some time!!

What I find particularly striking this year is the amount of new talent that has emerged. I haven't been following all the teams, but there seems to be a consistent trend of discoveries throughout the competition. This must be of real benefit to the game.

The major advantage that NZ has over every other Rugby Nation (not just that we have better rugby players!) it is an amazing depth of player base. If you consider just the inside backs, we have been spoilt with choice for the World Cup squad. Most of that depth is due to Super 12 - it acts like a finishing school for the NPC, further developing players, and highlighting those who are most deserving of All Black consideration.

The way the NPC has worked this year, we have developed Depth Squared!!

The timing of the World Cup and the requirement of AB's to miss the NPC, has certainly robbed many Unions of key players. Not that it seemed much of a problem for the Cantabs early on, with such amazing form from Ben Blair and others. And Otago supporters must be happy with the performance of their forwards, who have done a convincing job of replacing 5 of their number.

At least we had a challenge to replace serious talent. The challenge for teams such as Auckland was to replace some no-hopers who were past it last year (my motto - balanced and unbiased!). And there have certainly been some finds, the Auckland 1st five (whose name I can't spell) is an amazing runner of the ball, damn-it!

I forget the number of times I have heard mention of players from Under 19 and Under 21 teams, they seem to be popping up all over the place, mostly making solid debuts.

I know that it happens every year, but the gaps were larger this year, and mostly the people were there to fill them.

Don't tell me the NZRFU is taking a responsible attitude to developing New Zealand Rugby! Absolutely amazing!!

Player depth and new talent are critical to the key rugby question after the World Cup: "Who is leaving to play overseas?"

This now looks like being a lesser problem than we might have thought!


Let us know what you think!

Well, I feel sorry for some of the World Cup boys who will have a real fight on their hands getting back into their NPC teams when they get home.What an opportunity they have missed playing in the NPC.

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