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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 

Super 14: Mealamu's mana ensures that when he does speak everybody listens

This is one tough hombre'. Remember, he was responsible for us not gaining our first ever victory in Dunedin.

Here the New Zealand Herald's Chris Rattue details how the Blues have appointed the quiet Mealamu as the second player of Polynesian descent to lead the Auckland based side.

Coach David Nucifora advised Keven Mealamu to play his natural game, without cranking up the volume, before announcing last night that the outstanding All Black hooker would lead the Blues in 2006.

Mealamu, who turns 27 during the inaugural Super 14, takes over the captaincy from Cardiff recruit Xavier Rush.

He is the second player of Polynesian descent to lead the Blues, following in the footsteps of fellow New Zealand-born Samoan Michael Jones, who captained the 1998 team.

Nucifora believes the Blues leadership circle was too small when Rush and Carlos Spencer were around and says Mealamu will have wide support.

But Mealamu, a well-spoken but not naturally voluble character, will be the player chiefly responsible for drawing together the talented but sometimes disparate mix from the big franchise.

The Blues are preparing for their first serious trial of the season against the Waratahs at Gosford on Saturday night, and Mealamu said from Australia he was immensely proud at being named captain.

He has not led a side since his fine schoolboy career with Aorere College, but has won the nod over candidates such as Auckland forward Angus Macdonald.

The lanky Macdonald is being lined up as a No 8 but he will face sturdy competition from Harbour heavyweight Nick Williams. Veteran All Black wing Doug Howlett will be Mealamu's vice-captain.

Proven and natural leaders - especially any who would be guaranteed major game time the way Mealamu is - were simply not available to Nucifora so the new Blues coach has turned to the all-action hooker to lead by example.

Mealamu's appointment will provide an encouraging start to the year for a player who enjoyed a magnificent 2005 season, but one in which he was embroiled in the Brian O'Driscoll tackle controversy.

"I think for me it is a good step up, a good challenge and I'm looking forward to it," Mealamu said about the captaincy.

"You get a good feel for the game at hooker, I'll have a good support crew, and of course your number 10 runs the game quite a bit.

"I discussed it with my wife and parents - your parents always know what's best for you as well and they were very proud. It was a very proud day for me.

"It's always best to play to people's strengths ... Dougie is a good talker and he'll complement me and we will all try and do this thing together."

Nucifora said: "Yes, he will be on the field a lot but we had a good look at the off-field issues as well.

"Keven is not what you would call a verbose guy, he won't be flapping at the gums all the time, but when he speaks people listen.

"It's just his manner - Kiwis call it mana. People see how hard physically he plays the game which earns the respect of players and management.

"To go out there at the highest level of football and give everything you've got every week is not easy, and Keven does that.

"In discussions I've had with him, I've said I don't expect him to change suddenly. I'm sure he will develop in the role - it's not as if he will do something straight away and say this is how I will always do it.

"But I also think in the past there's been too much reliance on a couple of people at the Blues. It has probably stifled some of the leadership qualities ... they tended to rely a heck of a lot on Carlos and Rushie."

Mealamu has just returned to the Blues camp although the necessities of modern rugby meant he trained every day for five of his six holiday weeks.

He wants to move on from the O'Driscoll affair, where he and Tana Umaga faced accusations of committing a deliberately dangerous tackle on the Lions captain in the first test at Christchurch.

Nucifora believed the controversy affected the Auckland hooker deeply, especially as it was "regurgitated" during the Grand Slam tour.

"It can't have been easy but I would never consider Keven a dirty player, or one even tempted to use foul play. It's not him. He plays hard but fair," said Nucifora.

Mealamu said: "The only people who know for sure are me and Tana, and we know that we would never do anything like that on purpose to hurt someone."

* Troy Flavell's team have been knocked out of the current competition in Japan, giving him extra rest before the next tournament starts. Blues forward Flavell might be home early next month - or as late as round three of the Super 14.
Comments:
This guy is a class player, hard as nails, great leg action on the drive, keeps his body position low and pumps like a piston.

Unlike Kandas.
 
who, in turn, full well knows the value of subtle change of speed, flexibility and rythm...  
... and moving into the right channels ...  
Kandas

I'm blonde and would love to meet you!
 
Then mail me!!!!!!  
I model most days, don't get many opportunities to meet up with guys.

I'm based in Plettenburg Bay. You?

I'm 1.78m tall, curvaceous and have long lithe legs.

I have lips like Angelina Jollie and people tell me my eyes are stunning all the time.

Get's a bit boring sometimes, all I want is a real man to have fun with for a while.
 
Anon

And very stupid, he said mail him, not post a comment
 
Ja well, I'm blonde  
Anon

Ja, were is PlettenBURG Bay?
 
Ja Kandas

SĂȘ maar net as ek in die hoek teen die muur moet gaan staan :-)))
 
Uh Uhm...

Ladies...

Uhm
 
Tafeltjie

Anon does seem to have certain qualities...
 
Kandas

Then ask for her number.
 
Kandas,

Ja, Johnny Depp aswell, and don't forget Robert D Jr
 
I mean Jollie does have a certain ring to it...  
Although, also, the qualities do seem a bit Rasputinesque/PissAntenesque at times...

Don't know why, though.
 
Also had that come to mind  
Hey, listen, Tafelberg

I'm not, like, pretending to be clever or anything.

I'm just a girl who likes Kandas, ok? Leave me alone.

I know I'm not very bright but I'm kind and I like animals and stuff.

I can cook but I'm not, like, a chef or anything.

Anyway, I'm only 24 and I've lived a pretty quiet life.

If you were a girl you'd understand but I know you are a guy, so it doesn't matter, okay?
 
Now I'm upset.  
I just heard about Kandas and was told he's very nice, I'm not even really into rugby or anything.

In fact, I don't really bother watching it, I don't understand all the stuff but my Dad likes it so sometimes I just keep up with it.

He supports the Bulls or the Pretoria team any way. Or that other name, Thswanie or something.

I like walking on the beach and going to Cape Town for shoots. But its okay if Kandas likes rugby, my friend said he's very funny. I like funny kind guys.
 
And I am as horny as hell.  
Anon

Go back to your quiet life
 
Anon

So go buy yourself a vibrator, you can even name it Kandas
 
Sheez

Very Rasputinesque indeed!
 
Kandas,

I'm as bemused as you, boet!!!

Not me!
 
Maybe 'blondie' doesn't know how to email you?

Anon, mail kandas@ruggaworld.com
 
I must say, it's tough to get to know people here.

Is that Tafelberg guy a webleader or something?

I mean I only came to chat to Kandas. I wanted to send him some pictures from my portfolio and maybe be friends.

But it's okay.
 
So send the pictures blondie!!!!  
Anon

Tafelberg is a lady. Not webmaster, that would be Kandas. Send him an email, not to be rude, but if you like him just email him.
 
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