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Thread: Always thought Kiwis had odd balls

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    Always thought Kiwis had odd balls

    Western Force fly in Kiwi balls in preparation for their three-game, trans-Tasman Super Rugby road trip

    Nick Taylor
    The West Australian
    Wed, 26 May 2021 10:11AM

    Western Force have left nothing to chance in their bid to open Australia’s trans-Tasman, Super Rugby account in Friday’s clash with the Hurricanes in Napier.
    And that includes flying in Kiwi balls for training.
    Gilbert brand balls were used in the Australian edition of Super Rugby, but New Zealand teams use the Adidas make.
    “We got them sent over to give the guys an extra five days with them,” Force head of Rugby Matt Hodgson said.
    “It’s a different shape, it’s a lighter ball.
    “We trained all week with them to get used to it.
    “Our hookers (throwing in) prefer it.”
    They even got to acclimatise to New Zealand weather, training in the wet before flying out on Tuesday. Rain is forecast for Napier all week.
    “That helped,” Hodgson said.
    “Training in the wet, training with different balls, we’ve given the players the best opportunities coming into these three weeks.”
    After the Hurricanes clash the Force travel to Christchurch to play Super Aotearoa champions the Crusaders and end their tour against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland.
    Hodgson faced New Zealand sides plenty of times in his 140 Super games for the Force and against the All Blacks for the Wallabies.
    “It’s just 15 blokes you’re playing.” he said.
    “It doesn’t matter what name they have or what jersey they’ve got on their back.
    “It’s about telling the boys the story that it’s just 15 men that we’re playing against to get rid of that aura of who we’re playing against.
    “Just play football. They’re just 15 players. Don’t go into our shells.”
    Hodgson said there was belief in the squad.
    “We match up well (against Kiwi teams),” he said.
    “The biggest difference between all Australian teams is Kiwis play for 80 minutes, we play in patches.
    “We need to have that consistency, get our rugby IQ increased slightly....rugby awareness of when to run, when to kick, when to take space.
    “Monday to Friday we always talk about...you back your strengths and find the weaknesses in opposition.
    “Come game day you’re ready to go. It’s just instinct.”
    Hodgson called for consistency from officials.
    “The problem is not whether it’s an Australian referee or a New Zealand referee,” he said.
    “Every referee is refereeing certain areas of the game differently so it’s hard to get that consistency.
    “Consistency, that’s all we’re for asking as a team.
    “Every team is asking to have that same way of refereeing for the whole duration.”

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Hodgo sounding rather like a head coach there.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Hodgo sounding rather like a head coach there.
    ... Yes, and he can expect a rocket from a couple of regulars here for having the temerity to ask for more consistent officiating.

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