The balance is against them – they are worse o now than they were last year. The two big losses are Andy Ellis and Nemani Nadolo. They will miss Ellis’ experience, control of the game and the fact he is an all round good guy. Nadolo was their one major weapon out wide and often felt like he was saving them all on his own. Not an easy man to replace.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TACTICALLY?
They will use their tight five more as ball runners and line breakers into the middle of the field to build more momentum before they go wide. The arrival of Tamanivalu gives them the ability to crash over the gainline and use his strength to create attacking options on both sides of the ruck.
GUT FEEL – RISERS OR FALLERS?
Gut says fallers. We aren’t sure whether the new coaching team has the experience to make their mark immediately. There is also a fair chance that with so many All Blacks – in their tight five especially – that a few key players will build slowly into their season with the British Lions the target to peak for in June.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
They will make the playo s but struggled to beat the New Zealand teams last year and we suspect that won’t change.