The 2020 rugby calendar has been chaotic, but lucky for us Super Rugby in New Zealand is back in business. We had Mickey Bateman in studio to talk everything kiwi rugby.
|Mickey Bateman fends off Akira Ioane|
Mickey played his high school rugby at King’s College in south Auckland (a short drive from epic rival St. Kentigern College (St. Kent’s) He was lucky to share the field with some NZ rugby legends who are now thriving at the top level.
Shoutout to Mickey’s Meals who had been supplying the Colorado Raptors with meals each day. Due to the unfortunate pandemic and the cancelled MLR season, Mickey’s Meals has pivoted to serving meals to front line workers in the city of Glendale. Cheers to him for coming on Rugby PickEm to share his intimate knowledge of New Zealand Rugby. Enjoy!
Region: Northland, North Harbour, Auckland, (Counties Manukau, Thames Valley … Chiefs holdouts?)
Fanbases: “This is our year” optimism to open up the season, followed by perpetual disappointment and tons of excuses on a yearly basis. This year’s average blues fan will most likely be a bandwagon fan because of the recent signings that we’ll get to. We know Taylor Howden has been a ride or die fan, with them through the ups and the downs …
Blues 45–21 Sharks
Blues 23–7 Brumbies
Blues 21–17 Crusaders
Only 2 semi final appearances since the 03 title. Laughing stock of the NZ division, which this year so much more exciting … because they have loaded up on big names.
|Carlos Spencer and the 2003 Auckland Blues|
Beauden Barrett - until an even more recent signing, this was the biggest name to move franchises within NZ. Fast, track running style, playmaker.
BUT then news broke (after some fake news: Carter to RUNY) … that the vet was in talks with the Blues… he’ll run water for the season opener, but keep your eyes peeled for a DC sighting in week 3 or 4. Btw, he’s still got it.
Dan Carter - 38 year old AB legend. Kept Beaudy on the bench for the allblacks as long as he could before Hansen finally got to use him at 10 when DC retired from the ABs.
Dalton Papalii - took over for Blake Gibson for Auckland in the Mitre 10 cup, then, made his all black debut when 60+ cap (and now AB captain) Sam Cane got injured … had his first run in a track meet against Japan 69-31 victory over Japan at the Ajinomoto Stadium. Released from the squad by Hansen in 2019. New coach, new page in 2020?
Blake Gibson - 7’s, hard as nails, continues to show up for the Blues and throw his hand up for AB’s selection.
Marcel Renata - aka “Big Maaahhce” King’s College, Varsity Vipers. Called up to the Maori ABs in 2015
Akira Iaone - Auckland Grammar (shoutout to Taylz Howden), threw kids around in HS.
BLUES: Beauden Barrett, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Caleb Clarke, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Matt Duffie, Kurt Eklund, TJ Faiane, Blake Gibson, Josh Goodhue, Jack Heighton, Alex Hodgman, Jordan Hyland, Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Tony Lamborn, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Sione Mafileo, Joe Marchant, Emoni Narawa, Ray Niuia, Sam Nock, Jared Page, Dalton Papalii, James Parsons, Stephen Perofeta, Jacob Pierce, Harry Plummer, Marcel Renata, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Tom Robinson, Jonathan Ruru, Hoskins Sotutu, Mark Telea, Tanielu Tele'a, James Tucker, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Baden Wardlaw.
Region: East Coast, Poverty Bay, Hawke’s Bay, Wanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Wairarapa-Bush, Wellington
Fanbases: Alternative hipsters, skinny jeans, artsy types, coffees at a cafe …. Wellington Alty (the Melbourne of Australia)
Crusaders 19–12 Hurricanes
Highlanders 21–14 Hurricanes
Hurricanes 20–3 Lions
|Colesy seems stoked|
Tj Peranara - co-captian with Colsey
Jordie Barrett - I hear the Beaudy Barrett hype, but I’m shorting Beady stock and I’m long on Jordie Barrett futures. Taller, almost as fast, does well in the air, sees the field. Let’s be honest though, you’d have any of the 3 brothers on your team in a heartbeat
Murphy Taramai - Capped Glendale Raptor - Loves a good country dance at the Grizzley Rose.
Salesi Rayasi - NZ 7’s boy - Big young dump-truck Julian Savea type. Had to pick Super Rugby over continuing with the HSBC 7s.
Kobus Van Wyk (just missed)- not a pup when it comes to super rugby caps, but with the hurricanes, only 3 caps.
HURRICANES: Pouri Rakete-Stones, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Tyrel Lomax, Ben May, Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli, James Blackwell, Kane Le'aupepe, Liam Mitchell, Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere Vaea Fifita, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Murphy Taramai, Devan Flanders, Gareth Evans, TJ Perenara, Jamie Booth, Jonathan Taumateine, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Fletcher Smith, Ngani Laumape, Vince Aso, Billy Proctor, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Danny Toala, Kobus van Wyk, Wes Goosen, Ben Lam, Jonah Lowe, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett, James Marshall, Chase Tiatia.
Region: Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, King County, Taranaki, Thames Valley, Waikato
Fanbase: #ChiefsMana, Bay of Plenty - Deep Maori Roots, Hardworking .. .country farmers and fisherman
Bulls 61–17 Chiefs
Chiefs 37–6 Sharks
Chiefs 27–22 Brumbies
After a 2009 whooping, the Chiefs finally went back to back in 2012 & 2013.
|Little Damo poised for a big 2020 comeback|
Angus Ta'avao - The Chiefs cultural leader. Caps all over NZ and Australia Super Rugby. Ata Malifa’s cousin, and has the same loving, kind demeanor. Mr. Consistent when it comes to scrummaging (although he’s currently rehabbing an injury).
Damian McKenzie - Injured since the world cup (gutted). Loves a little beach cricket.
Brad Weber (just missed) in my honorable mention (he’ll push Aaron Smith and TJ in this shortened season for the 9 jersey with a page being turned in the ABs camp and all the eyes on NZ super. Loves to crawl up a guys ass down field to finish break-away tries.
Sam McNicol - Electric, blondie, really quick.
Shaun Stevenson - Auckland Grammar boy, one of the more “slippery” outside backs. An educated boot to boot.
Orybn Leger (just missed)- 23 center “circulating”.
Tyler Ardron - gotta love to see a tier 2 guy go make a name in Super. Set to make a fats tacks french contract with Castres.
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi - Ex-Leaguie (NRL), in a tough spot competing with Brad Weber, but loves to keep his head on a swivel around the ruck.
Mitchell Karpik (just missed) - His pops was Mickey’s HS teacher
Kenny Naholo (just missed) - Waisake Naholo’s cousin. For those that forget, Waisake broke his leg before the 2015 RWC and returned to Fiji to magically get it sorted out in 3 weeks only to return to the ABs and dominate in the World Cup.
CHIEFS: Nathan Harris, Bradley Slater, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ryan Coxon, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Reuben O'Neill, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta'avao, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tyler Ardron, Michael Allardice, Laghlan McWhannell, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Dylan Nel, Lisati Milo-Harris, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Brad Weber, Aaron Cruden, Tiaan Falcon, Damian McKenzie, Kaleb Trask, Orbyn Leger, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tumua Manu, Alex Nankivell, Bailyn Sullivan, Solomon Alaimalo, Sam McNicol, Kini Naholo, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Shaun Stevenson, Quinn Tupaea, Sean Wainui.
Region: North Otago, Otago, Southland
Fanbases: Rural folk, party university, ALL The college piss heads in Dunedin.
Crusaders 24–19 Highlanders
Highlanders 21–14 Hurricanes
From 98 - 02, the Crusaders ended the Highlanders season 4 out of 5 seasons. 3 semis and one final …. (gutted)
|Bryn Gatland drills the game winner for the Highlanders in front of a sold out zoo (Forsyth-Barr)|
Josh Ioane - Another piece of Auckland rugby talent. Pulled for a last minute groin injury. Absolutely GUTTED. Mitch Hunt replaced him (and ended up hitting the game winning against his pops).
Shannon Frizell - part of the loose flanker group that had a tough time breaking through to the super competitive AB’s set up, but now that he’s there, he’s ready to excel.
Pari Pari Parkinson - lock or loosie? Who knows?
Teariki Ben-Nicholas - Another King’s College boy. #8 in high school, super hard working. Buys rounds at the pub.
Scott Gregory - 7’s boy pulled into Super, forced to make a tough decision but clearly
Jesse Parete - comes from Waikato. Brings the fierceness wherever he goes.
HIGHLANDERS: Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Ricky Jackson, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Ayden Johnstone, Siate Tokolahi, Jeff Thwaites, Ethan De Groot, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Jack Whetton, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, James Lentjes, Dillon Hunt, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Shannon Frizell, Sione Misiloi, Zane Kapeli, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Jesse Parete, Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Folau Fakatava, Bryn Gatland, Josh Ioane, Mitch Hunt, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Scott Gregory, Ngane Punivai, Jona Nareki, Tevita Nabura, Josh McKay, Michael Collins, Chris Kuridrani, Connor Garden-Bachop.
Region: Canterbury, Buller, Mid-Canterbury, South-Cantebury, Tasman, West Coast
Fanbases: Farmers on the floodplain of the Waimakariri River. Loyal fans, but by far the easiest team to support due to their past success.
Titles: 10 - 4
Crusaders 20–13 Blues
Crusaders 24–19 Highlanders
Crusaders 20–19 Brumbies
Crusaders 31–13 Brumbies
Blues 21–17 Crusaders
Brumbies 47–38 Crusaders
Crusaders 35–25 Waratahs
Crusaders 19–12 Hurricanes
Crusaders 20–12 Waratahs
Reds 18–13 Crusaders
Waratahs 33–32 Crusaders
Crusaders 25–17 Lions
Crusaders 37–18 Lions
Crusaders 19–3 Jaguares
9 finals appearances is 11 years. 7-2 in that stretch …. A decade later, 3 in a row and counting. A single word comes to mind when describing the Crusaders 20 year performance in Super Rugby: DOMINATION
|Scott "Razor" Robinson ... just one of the boyz|
Scott Barrett © - Middle brother, already solidifying himself as a consistent AB’s starter in the locks.
Richie Mo'unga - Is it possible to be on the “hot seat” even if you’ve won three straight Super Rugby Titles? It is if you lose a World Cup semi to England. While Richie has continued to shine wearing the red and black Crusader jersey, expect him to be out for blood in the #SuperRugbyAotearoa comp over the next few months.
Braydon Ennor - St. Kent’s (another Auckland lad) alum who at the young age of 22 already has 25 caps for the Sword.
Oliver Jager - Irishman, 12 caps since 2017 (6’4”, 280 lbs)
2 randos (well, 5 randos)
Codie Taylor - AB’s Hooker
Cullen Grace - 6’3, 240 lbs. Timaru Boys’ High School
Tom Christie - Shirley Boys’ High School, 22 years old
Manasa Mataele - 23 year old Fijian, Marist Boys HS
Jack Goodhue - (another Auckland boy). Best hair in rugby. Primed for another great season.
CRUSADERS: Michael Alaalatoa, Harry Allan, Scott Barrett (c), Ethan Blackadder, George Bower, Tom Christie, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Mitchell Dunshea, Cullen Grace, Billy Harmon, Sione Havili, Oliver Jager, Andrew Makalio, Brodie McAlister, Joe Moody, Luke Romano, Ethan Roots, Tom Sanders, Quinten Strange, Codie Taylor, Isi Tuungafasi. George Bridge, Fergus Burke, Brett Cameron, Mitchell Drummond, Ere Enari, Braydon Ennor, Leicester Faingaanuku, Inga Finau, Jack Goodhue, Bryn Hall, David Havili, Will Jordan, Manasa Mataele, Dallas McLeod, Richie Mo'unga, Fetuli Paea, Sevu Reece.
Bt: Fiercest Super Rugby Rivalry?
Mickey: Blues vs. Crusaders
Mickey’s Favorite super rugby memory?
The 2003 Super Rugby Final (Auckland Blues victorious)
Future of Super?
SA leaving for Europe. Jaguares to the MLR?
Who cares, who knows, why bother …