Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blues Prop John Afoa playing like a back

This one's for all the fat boys out there who know that, deep down, they have the talent, ambition, and skills of any one of the pretty boy backs.

Big John Afoa of the Blues had a stormer on the weekend. Afoa was all over the place in the loose, which is always great to see from a guy who's position demands so much hard work come scrumtime.

He showed us that he can mix it up with the best of them, with tall Western Force center Ryan Cross being no match when it comes to taking a high ball.

Weighing in at over 120kg's, the capped All Black prop then showed us that running with ball in hand, changing direction and getting a pass away isn't a problem for him either.
Now if only that slug second rower Troy Flavell had kept up...



  • bwa ha ha

    His upper body had to much momentum, and his legs couldn't keep up!

    god gert, waar's my perd

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 9:26 am  

  • Sorry to be the party-pooper, but even though that's impressive skills and pace, it's not important in a prop. You need props to do the ugly grind (Afoa may well do that, I don't mean to say he can't) and they should be valued by their ability to scrummage, ruck and maul. Everything else is a bonus, but only that.

    Dunning has shown he can drop-kick, Rodney Blake has shown he has...erm...alot of hype and a cool nick-name, but who would pick them over a Carl Hayman or Andrew Sheridan?

    Australia have fallen into the temptation of gloss for far too long now. Super 14 hasn't helped and doesn't look like progressing much with the new laws, but at least SA realised the value of keeping the beef goes beyond the Super 14.

    By Blogger Kerivoula, at March 20, 2008 9:32 am  

  • It's funny the constant Australia bashing that goes along with any comment about forwards play (front row in particular). Sure it hasn't been at top standard for a few years now, but it is on the improve. People seem to over value the scrum. Sure it is important but is it more important than a good lineout? England's lineout has been atrocious (and the All Blacks none to good either) for a couple of years now, but there are no attacks over this. I don't get why such a stigma has been placed on Australian front row play from a few years of mediocre (some downright dreadful) performances.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 9:55 am  

  • sambobly

    Fair comment, but the last 2 World Cups have demonstrated just how important (and under-rated) the scrum has been for Australia.

    In 2003 the Aussie's had the best back line in the world, but lost by being dominated by an English pack. In 2007, the Aussie backs weren't the best, but far better than England's, but never looked like having a sniff of the game.

    Nothing has demonstrated the importance of scrums more than the fact that the much-maligned English have been to the last 2 WC finals, winning one, on the back of a strong pack, while the much-vaunted Aussies (with massively talented backs: Giteau, Larkham, Gregan, Latham, Mortlock etc.) have under-performed.

    This is not Aussie-bashing but a defence of the ugly art of scrummaging.

    P.S. Line-outs are important, but it is easier to be competitive at line-outs than it is in the scrums. It is less technical and requires fewer players to perform.

    By Blogger Kerivoula, at March 20, 2008 10:22 am  

  • i love it
    perfect example of total rugby
    i think when forwards also play in the line it can be a big advantage.

    By Blogger Luc de Kock, at March 20, 2008 10:33 am  

  • To be totally honest if you have a prop who, by looks id imagine can scrum, ruck and maul well but who can also catch a ball and make some yards then he is easily picked before a prop who can just do forward work!

    so many times in games the ball is looked to be shipped out wide until they realise out wide consistes of a winger a hooker and a prop.....well if you have movement like this out on the pitch you may very well ship it out!

    Anyway, thats beside the point. Great video, shame he couldnt stay on his feet lol, delayed reaction with the tap tackle.....or that damn blade of grass that sticks up and trips people!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 11:13 am  

  • He is a big Unit isnt he. I think he needed a lie down. :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 12:45 pm  

  • as a front rower i really love seeing this video, or any video like it
    something great about forwards running the ball, they know they dont get it alot, so they try alot damn harder than say a flyhalf who knows "oh if i get tackled i'll have it back in a phase or two"
    good vid, thanks

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 2:05 pm  

  • I think kerivoula makes a fair point...but damn thats good to see !!!

    He's no john hayes though...:P

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 2:35 pm  

  • Sorry to bring a cliche, but forwards win matches, backs decide by how much. If you're a back and your forwards are losing the battle upfront then you won't get any ball.
    That's how important it is for your forwards to do what they do best and dominate the tight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 3:11 pm  

  • Hey thats anawesome video, it shows how strong props really are

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 4:05 pm  

  • Kerivoula, besdies your apology for being a party pooper, you're totally off your head man.

    The point of this video is to show a great bit of skill by a front rower, that is very rarely seen. It's light hearted, and basically giving the guy credit for showing some great examples of what he's capable of.

    Would you have preferred if he'd knocked the ball on, caused a scrum, and then RD had made a video of the SCRUM??

    Come on man, save your venting about scrum issues for another time. You normally make sense but you missed the mark on this one.

    It's a great vid and I bet props around the world love seeing action like that, as they so rarely get a chance to show off the skills they do have. You make it sound as if you'd prefer if this type of video wasn't shown? Odd.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 4:50 pm  

  • Sharky,

    the man is just making a statement about some props wanting to run with the ball before 'mastering their craft' and putting the hard work in.

    John Afao certainly does not fall in that category, and he might be an All Black again, before long!

    By Blogger Sander, at March 20, 2008 5:46 pm  

  • I think there are some good points on both sides here. I'm sure you've all been in my position whereby the team you're watching/supporting suddenly have good momentum and quick ball and they then ship it out wide where they have extra numbers only to have a prop or lock knock it on. I can't express the anger and frustration I have for locks receiving the ball in midfield when there are centres or wing three quarters on either side!

    But back to the point, I must say it's great to see players like this taking the ball on, showing good footwork, vision and pace. But IF the player in question was also being dominated at scrum-time, he would simply be dropped. At the end of the day every player has a primary job. Great players are able to that job very well, and offer that little bit extra. Alot of (even international) players don't have that gift and should stick to performing in their 1ry role.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 7:52 pm  

  • Yeah I just think the comments were kinda negative despite it being a good vid and more importantly a good bit of skill, which pretty much starts a silly discussion which eventually ends up off the point.

    It's not as if Afoa was running around looking to play like a backline player - it just happened naturally and has no effect on his scrumming etc.

    Irrelevant is the word that comes to mind.

    But hey, just my thoughts on the matter. Have a great weekend all :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 8:34 pm  

  • this is completely off the point but RD y havent u posted all of those teffific jamie noon hits fromk the 6 nations match against ireland?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 10:45 pm  

  • Hmmm i do agree with you guys about players and their primary roles, but if you take an example of Victor Matfield (im not a Bok by the way) who i think is an awesome lock, that man shows that he has great skills all over the pitch, he can kick, he can run, and his hands are bloooody amazing!

    My point being if you had to pick a lock, who would you pick? a standard lock who is as good as matfield in scrummaging and lineouts etc. or Matfield himself with the added qualities?.......

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2008 11:39 pm  

  • I dont really think that John Afoa showed any great skill in the vid; some pretty standard footwork against an already broken/stretched defence. Holding the ball in one hand is not what i regard a skill. he did show some great pace for a prop in his second break but threw a bad pass, (again ball in one hand)and fell over himself on both occasions.

    Pace yes, skill? no

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 21, 2008 5:54 pm  

  • I saw a match earlier this year from the french league where a prop caught a kick in a similar position inside the 22, and called a mark. The commentators started talking good about him being quick minded, but that soon fell apart as he failed to restart from the free-kick properly(no contact with the foot). Really funny incident.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 22, 2008 11:08 am  

  • awsome, although castrgevani's try today was rather amusing :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 22, 2008 5:38 pm  

  • I think that is great that a prop can shift like that & actually look comfortable in the back line because you dont find it very often. I would rather have a proper that could move well with the ball & look comfortable in the back line then a big usless prop apart from scrumage. You can train a prop to be gd at scrum time & gd at ruck and maul but you cant train them to have the awareness like he has!
    fantastic i think!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 25, 2008 7:37 pm  

  • cj van de linde and os du rahndt....boy when they get the ball its like bryan habana+jason robinson+jonah lomu

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 26, 2008 7:55 am  

  • now im not english, but even i know the english lineout hasn't been underperforming recently, it's not as good as it was, but steve borthwick is amazing in the lineout, and tom croft and nick kennedy coming through for them are also veru good.

    p.s. ireland, please pick casey + o'connell, not donncha again, donncha is good but not as good as casey

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 17, 2008 12:36 am  

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