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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Ngwenya Was Left Off The Eagles Fall Roster

Before rumors get started we'd thought we'd relay some information on why Taku Ngwenya was left off the Eagles fall tour squad. In speaking with head coach Mike Tolkin the non-selection doesn't have as much to do with Ngwneya himself as it does with some up and coming wingers he wants to get a look at who have played well in the past. The first among those names is Tim Maupin. He had a very solid Americas Rugby Championship and deserved to be on the fall tour. Joe Cowley can play fullback or wing and and also needs time to play. Luke Hume is a regular option but having not latched on to a club this fall he needs game time.

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If you think about it, the Eagles have only had a few options on the wing for the last year. James Paterson is a solid option but has struggled with injuries. It's really been Hume and Ngwenya that have been the options. The Eagles need to build depth at the position if they want to avoid a repeat of last summer when they missed Ngwenya for certain matches or needed to rotate players. There are other options, like a Blaine Scully, Chris Wyles, or Folau Niua, but their best positions are probably elsewhere.

Another factor is Ngwenya's current situation is the form of his club, Biarritz. They are having a terrible season with only one win and nine losses. They are nine points behind their closes opponents and 13 points away from clearing the relegation zone. With the season nearly half over Biarritz can't afford to lose one of their better players. Unless they can pick up points now they are going to be in a dogfight at the end of the season. If you are Tolkin would you rather not have Ngwenya now or not have him in the Spring for World Cup qualifying? Showing a little generosity to his club now could pay off down the road.

In talking with Tolkin it's clear that Ngwenya is still very much in the Eagles plans moving forward. Right now it's simply the case of trying to reward younger players for playing well. Ngwenya's non-selection also doesn't come as a result of hime going off on his own as has been reported elsewhere. He definitely has a tendency to play loose at times but often that comes out of a frustration of some of his teammates not being able to play at the pace--both physically and mentally--that he is accustomed to in the Top 14. As has been seen, when the Eagles are on their toes playing at a high level Ngwenya fits right in. So all in all it's not that big of an issue on the team and you can expect to see him in March.


  1. As an Eagles fan, I'd like to have him available but I'm happy we have other wingers who have earned some playing time. As a Biarritz fan, we could use all the help we can get right now.

  2. Alex Goff's comments on Ngwenya were absolute tripe and just something Mr Goff made up to suit his own bias I suspect.

    I don't think Ngwenya is loose. He hoes looking for opportunities, which is a damn fine thing in rugby these days anyway as guys who just stand out on their wing all day are the ones not contributing anything. And he only has had to come off his wing because the guys inside him seem incapable of giving him the ball in space (contrary to Mr Goff's claims). Gee, if this guy was playing for the ABs he would be getting the ball multiple times in a match instead of just the once or twice he gets it from his Eagles teammates! Finally, it's worth noting that he was one of the few guys to make some headway v Ireland in Houston on attack.

    That the two cents worth from a NZ fan who has been watching the game for almost 40 years.