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3 October 2014
Hi Keith, I can't believe how bad Wellington is and Auckland, despite some of their wins are not much better and even Canty has gone into a tail-spin. I believe there is a reason for this which none of the present cheer leading media can deduce.
First of all the Rugby Union puts all its focus on the All Blacks, and plays them at the same time as the ITM Cup. Imagine what Wellington would be like if more regularly it had Jane, Savea, Smith, Nonu, Perenara, Thrush and Coles.
It's also suffered a lot of injuries with players having no time to recover from the S15 because, again the NZRU's fault, they allow that competition to go on too long. So Wellington is without A Savea, Toomaga-Allen and Goodes. Similarly, look at Canterbury, with no first fives because the ABs take fringe players into their squad like Slade and Taylor, who hasn't even stripped for the ABs has he? And of course the constantly injured Carter.
I've liked the rise of Taranaki and Tasman in the ITM Cup, and Manawatu too, but it's partly due to the NZRU having lowered the standard of provincial rugby. It might be a more level playing field but it is also a recipe for mediocrity.
Oh well keep smiling; I'm trying to. (Name withheld by request) (messages sent to firstname.lastname@example.org )
Marty Berry came on v Australia at Eden Park in a losing Bledisloe Cup game for just 18 seconds. But his other midweek games for the ABs spread over 7 seasons.
Racing Club de France, Chalon and France
43 internationals for France 1953–61
A stylish French fullback who became that country’s most-capped last line of defence, Michel Vannier was a gifted runner who was also blessed with a calm assurance. He played in three French teams which won the Five Nations Championship and was a member of the great French team which went to South Africa in 1958 and won the test series.
Vannier first came into the French international side in 1953 against Wales, in Paris. He had an unhappy day but held his place for the internationals of the next season. He steadily built up his tally of caps over the next five seasons. He was an excellent goal-kicker and had a sure touch with a drop-kick. In the end he totaled 175 points in international matches.
Vannier was most unfortunate that a serious knee injury forced him to miss the tests in South Africa in 1958. He missed all of 1959’s international matches but was back in 1960, a comeback that was highly acclaimed and popular with the rugby followers of France.
His last international was in Australia at the end of the French tour there and to New Zealand in 1961. His form on tour had not been as impressive as before, but his total of caps won had reached 43. The mark stood as a French record until the great Serge Blanco passed it in 1987.
From 1987 to 2011 inclusive; How many men have refereed the seven Rugby World Cup finals?