Manawatu Standard

Has respect for your elders been forgotten?

- Richard Knowler

Is there an unwritten code in Super Rugby Aotearoa that young players shouldn’t rough-up senior All Blacks?

Attempting to knock the stuffing out of an AB with an aggressive tackle is one thing. An eager bloke should relish the chance to test his machismo, courage and tenacity against the rock stars.

However, is there a line that had best not be crossed? At what point should a young geezer learn to keep his gob shut and dial back on the niggle against the senior statesmen?

Getting the right balance is important. Senior All Blacks should expect a Young Turk to go hard. The key is for them not to push their luck.

1. Should Blues openside flanker Dalton Papalii curb his enthusiasm against the Crusaders?

There’s a lot to like about Papalii. At 113kg he’s a big unit, and when he wraps his arms over the ball in a ruck he’s like a stubborn octopus. Yet Papalii, who has four test caps, had best be cautious.

The sight of him giving Aaron Smith, arguably the greatest All Black halfback, a big shove during last weekend’s match against the Highlander­s wasn’t so sweet.

Some may say Papalii was fired up. Others would counter that it was unnecessar­y. Smith, who weighs about 20kg less than Papalii, has played 97 tests for the All Blacks. You could say Papalii needs to mind his manners, or pick on someone his own size.

2 Can Leon Macdonald coach the silly stuff out of the Blues?

It should be a prerequisi­te before they meet the Crusaders in Christchur­ch on Anzac Day.

The red card and three-week suspension to Alex Hodgman for his no-arms tackle, yellow card to Hoskins Sotutu for kicking the ball in a ruck and penalty against Leni Apisai for obstructio­n cost were ugly features of their 35-29 loss to the Highlander­s.

Papalii also went for the niggle early, shoving Mitch Hunt’s head after Jonathan Ruru scored an early try for the Blues. It’s got to stop.

What does Dane Coles’ re-signing with NZ Rugby mean?

That, for starters, he’s a loyal soldier to the New Zealand cause.

Despite his age, he will be almost 37 when the World Cup in France starts, Coles can still offer plenty to the game here. His bolshie behaviour, which results in penalties, can infuriate All Blacks’ supporters, but his intellectu­al property remains in NZ. That has to be a good thing.

Whether Coles remains in contention for the RWC is debatable. The clock is always ticking and Codie Taylor, Asafo Aumua, Liam Coltman and Nathan Harris have time on their side.

What Coles has is this: the want to still be a competitor.

4. If Damian Mckenzie was listed on the NZX, would he still be considered a good investment?

Given his spike in form, in the No 15 or 10 jerseys for the Chiefs, shares in Mckenzie Inc would be in hot demand right now.

The question is this. Has he peaked or will he continue to surge? During the stunning win over the Crusaders last weekend he stood flat and was prepared to have a rip from first receiver.

He’s back at fullback against the Hurricanes. We now wait to see whether he will swap roles with No 10 Bryn Gatland on attack.

5. Who would be the SRA coach of the year right now?

Clayton Mcmillan, surely. Four consecutiv­e victories and a chance of qualifying for the final.

The Chiefs have had some fortune along the way. Some would say it was long overdue.

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