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Craig Dowd

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Craig Dowd played 60 Tests for New Zealand between 1993 and 2000, including in two World Cups, and he was part of the All Blacks team that won their first series in South Africa in 1996. He played for the Blues and Auckland in New Zealand domestic rugby, and for Wasps in England from 2001 to 2005. In 2009, he coached North Harbour in the ITM Cup. More recently has been a SKY Television comments man.

Craig Dowd
What more does Luke Braid have to do?
Craig Dowd
June 4, 2014
Luke Braid has been in fine form with the Blues © Getty Images

Just over a month ago when discussing the Benji Marshall saga, and the whole road block his inclusion in the Blues in 2014 had created, I said that Lolagi Visinia and Ihaia West were two players who had suffered. They both showed against the Hurricanes on Saturday night that they should have been included right from day one of the Super Rugby season. I was really pleased to see them both play instrumental parts in a great performance against the Hurricanes. How good were the Blues at home?

Blues 37-24 Hurricanes (Australia only)

I did not expect the game to be so one-sided in the Blues' favour. I was expecting more from the Hurricanes. It appeared they got blown off their course by the penalty try that was awarded, and they suffered with the Blues running in another try when the offender was sin-binned. But take nothing away from the Blues; they went out and were as ruthless as they have been all season at home. God only knows why this cannot be taken on the road.

And you would have to ask if Luke Braid is the forgotten man of New Zealand rugby. You look around the scene and say, yes, Richie McCaw is a leader and he has some campaigners behind him. Sam Cane appears to be the anointed one, but he is now out for the series against England and Matt Todd is next in line. I just scratch my head: what more does he have to do to be included in that mix?

I guess the selectors know the players they took into the camp environment, and they will revert to the players they know, but I feel sorry for a player like Braid who just seems to have slipped through the cracks in the system. He's there, he's good, but for whatever reason he is never thrown out there in the selection mix.

Crusaders 30-7 Force (Australia only)

As for the Crusaders, you have to say they are playing with the consistency expected of them at the business end of the season without hitting their straps as well as they can. I was pleased to see their penalty tries awarded against Western Force.

One was from a scrum, and quite clearly the dominant scrum got the reward. That's what needs to happen. If you are going forward and you have got the correct binding then all rights should lie with the dominant scrum. Too often we see the team with the dominant scrum getting penalised.

The penalty try for the collapsed maul was fair enough, too. If your maul is moving forward, there's not much that is going to stop you apart from your opponent infringing - which should result in a penalty try.

The penalty try in the Blues game was interesting. Matt Proctor's hand was definitely facing up as he tried to recover the ball but I think from the referee's angle he saw enough in his own mind that he was going to punish him.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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