Into big unknown with rugby break
AFTER this weekend's Super Rugby games, the competition rests and splits for a full three weeks.
That does not mean rest and dispersal, as in going on a mid-season holiday to Bali. Rather, the focus of Super team will move from weekly fixtures to managing players in various "other" locations and to rehab and rejuvenation.
Test players will be together taking on the Scots and then the Welsh.
Non-Test players will continue to train with their Super team, possibly play some trials and even a third-tier club game or two. But there will be disruption to their normal game recovery and prep.
I'm wondering what this enforced interruption will do for the teams as they approach the remaining Super Rugby games, and possibly the finals.
In addition, if 2012 has taught us anything, there will be injuries to Test and Super stars alike to add to the Super Rugby three-week disruption.
For the Tahs, Rebels and Force - all out of finals contention - what do they focus on? Being the best possible spoilers for 2012?
Possibly look to a youth policy and 2013?
With the Reds working on some momentum prior to the split, but not guaranteed a finals place, how will they go when they re-form?
And what now for the Brumbies?
These guys are professionals and will have processes, plans, preferred practices etc in place, but these issues add up to a lot of unknowns for all involved.
Will Piri make it?
BIG talk across the ditch is that Piri Weepu's name could be missing from the All Blacks squad for their upcoming Tests against Ireland.
I wrote earlier this year about Piri's issues with weight and form, and from what I've seen and read since, he is still a long way from hitting his best.
With a new coach looking to develop culture and stamp his authority, Piri could be made an early example by coach Steve Hansen.
SAD news about James "Big Kev" Horwill's hamstring injury sustained against the Brumbies in last Saturday's local derby.
We will all know more over the next few days, or week, but more than any other player, Big Kev's loss to the Wallabies is enormous.
His leadership and talent will be missed in the coming Tests against Scotland and Wales.
It is that leadership and influence on the team - especially the younger debutants such as Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Michael Hooper and Cadeyrn Neville - that will be missed.
Having a role model, or "influential other" there to instil the Wallaby way to the youngsters at the train-on camp would have been invaluable.
Having said that, it offers an opportunity for another player to come in and fill the void, increasing the quality of the Wallabies' group of leaders.
If there is any good news, it is that it is better for "Big Kev" to experienced the injury now and not during the "new" Rugby Championship (four nations tournament involving Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina), which has taken over from the Tri-Nations.