Arrivederci, Mils

Fare thee well Mils Muliaina, who is leaving Connacht and is bound for warmer, drier climes in Northern Italy. Although Mils should be warned, the Italian winters and springs aren’t entirely tropical either.

It brings to a close one of the more useless performances by a high-profile import for an Irish province. Mils has started precisely ten matches in his only season with Connacht, scored no tries and generally didn’t play much decent rugby. He was lamentable against Leinster, briefly sparked into life against Scarlets, but didn’t do much of note after that.

A certain group of Connacht fans have been quick to go on the defensive on Mils’ behalf, and appear to be in a rush to credit Muliaina with being hugely influential on Ver Kidz in Connacht’s backline. Some have even tried to credit Mils with Robbie Henshaw’s emergence as a truck-it-up inside-centre for Ireland. Go Mils! His influence must be staggering to reach as far as Carton House when he isn’t even there. Without being on the training paddock itself, it’s impossible to identify what, if any, influence Mils has had on the young Connacht backs, so it’s simply idle speculation and wishful thinking to claim otherwise. Yes, the management statement issued around his leaving contained lots of glowing reportage about his driving of standards, but then they would say that, wouldn’t they? It’s PR puff, and should be treated as such. How high he can have driven standards when mostly injured, overweight and underperforming on the pitch is hard to quantify.  It doesn’t appear that Connacht put up much of a fight to keep him on for a second year.

There was a time when Irish provinces felt they needed the type of Southern Hemisphere superstar who could add something the natives didn’t have yet. John Langford is of course the classic template – the Gospel of John “Thou shalt not drink on a Thursday night if thee faces a big game on Saturday” came as news to the Paddies, but the knowledge he brought has long been absorbed. Rocky Elsom, Dougie Howlett, Ollie Le Roux, Johan Muller are further hugely influential players in provincial development. This was what Muliaina was supposed to bring. Will Darragh Leader and Robbie Henshaw lament in 40 years time that they wanted more time to learn from Mils back in 2015? We doubt it.

There is a legitimate claim for Muliaina to be anointed the worst ever signing by an Irish province, particularly given the investment in him. Whenever this pub debate classic comes up, it’s customary to roll out the Clinton Hupperts, Harry Vermasses and Peter Borlases of the world as the nadir of provincial recruitment, but none of those were especially heralded on arrival. They were just hopeless. Muliaina arrived as one of the all-time greats – a test centurion for New Zealand, an achievement which confers upon the holder absolute world class. For a player of such stature to perform so abjectly must go down as a new low. Sure, Christian Cullen had an injury-plagued nightmare at Munster, culminating in an abysmal performance against Scarlets as Munster were thrashed in the Heineken Cup quarter-final, but he did at least appear to be trying, and the likes of O’Gara have commented on how committed he was to turning things around, but just couldn’t stop getting hurt.

There’s a risk of embarrassing failure with any high-profile import, but it tends to be especially high with these types of ‘last of the summer wine’ type signings; bringing in players way past their peak, in the hopes of ekeing out the last drops of quality. The model for success was the afore-mentioned Le Roux, who proved that a little (or a lot, perhaps) of extra timber need not be a barrier to success – but then he was a prop and not a full-back. Muliaina will most likely go down as the model for failure. Mid-30s Kiwi superstar backs looking for a last payday: approach with caution.

NB to commenters – please don’t go into detail about The Thing That Happened with PC Plod in Gloucester. Allegations about parking spaces at the dog track Sportsground are fair game, however.



  1. Sorry, not buying it. Poor though Muliaina has been, he’ll have to settle for runner-up in the list of ill-advised SH imports. The Whiff / Munster defence of Cullen – “he was trying, he was just made of glass” – is exactly the same as the PR guff that Connacht – “he’s old and a bit crocked but he’s a great influence in training” – have been coming out with.

    The only real difference, and the key to why Cullen is the gold standard for bad signings, is that Cullen cost a lot more money and effectively left Munster a NIQ spot down for ***four*** seasons, rather than one in Muliaina’s case.

    • Cullen certainly has a claim based on longevity. Four seasons is a long time to be hanging around being injured and rubbish.

      One thing that does surprise a little though is when you check out Cullen’s wiki profile he played and scored more than you might recall: 44 appearances and a fairly decent 15 tries (a strike rate of one in every three games!). He was still a disaster though. And that final denoument against Scarlets was grim viewing. But we’re still handing the gong over to Mils.

      • Cullen’s appearance rate equates exactly to Mils – 11 over 1 year, versus 44 in 4 – and while his try rate – of which only 2 were in the HEC, playing with what was then unquestionably the best club/provincial team in the world – was far better (i.e. it existed), I’ll see that and raise you that if he was there 4 years then Munster must have extended his contract at some stage.

        (Sorry Dubya? Fool me once, you’re the fool, fool me twice… you can’t be fooled again. Quite: thank you.)

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. Or plump for the Van Der Linde suggestion in the comments below.

  2. @LeinsterPAGuy

     /  April 8, 2015

    There will only ever be one Eddie Hekenui.

    • col

       /  April 8, 2015

      At least Eddie made it on the pitch. Owen Finnegan anyone?

  3. connachtexile

     /  April 8, 2015

    You mean Mils who was signed on as a player in a mentoring capacity only played ten games in a season while also helping the province sell hundreds of season tickets in a year where Connacht didn’t have Heineken Cup rugby was a bad investment? Nope don’t think so.
    He was no Juan Gomez of Leinster that’s for sure. Or CJ Van der Linde. Or Owen Finnegan.

    • But Gomez and Finnegan wouldn’t have been on the big money in the way Muliaina, Cullen, or Van der Linde (good spot, rather unsurprisingly I’d forgotten him) were.

      • connachtexile

         /  April 8, 2015

        Not sure about Gomez. He was capped by Argentina by that stage and had turned down Leinster previous to play a short term contract at Stade Francais who wanted to keep him. So Leinster would have being competing against them for his signature.
        WoC is also forgetting the likes of Lote Tuqiri who hardly covered himself in glory when he signed for Leinster. Connacht have one big signing who didn’t play well and the press pile on, yet without thinking about it I could name a rake of other signings who are just as bad if not worse from a financial perspective.

        Also if you ask most of the Connacht fans if Mils was a failure and the answer was no. Everything else is semantics by journalists.

        • I think it’s unfair to tar Tuqiri with that brush. In much the same way that I argued Cullen was far worse than Muliaina in that he stank the place up for much longer, I’d let Tuqiri off on the basis that he was only contracted for a few months.

          And I’d argue that Mils was a failure and that most Connacht fans would agree. When I step back from my understandable irritation at the pig-ignorant anti-Connacht tabloid innuendo regularly spouted by a certain national newspaper, and just evaluate the games, Mils played brilliantly in his first two games against Zebre and Scarlets, and well against Munster, but has otherwise been mediocre or poor.

          • connachtexile

             /  April 8, 2015

            Will have to disagree with you about Tuqiri. As for Mils I think it depends on what you were expecting. I for one while happy he came never bought into the hype about him so maybe that’s why I’m not in pieces that he wasn’t scoring a hat trick per game. I certainly wouldn’t have him as the worst foreign signing ever. I wouldn’t even him as Connacht’s worst foreign singing. He may not have being a success but he wasn’t a disaster either.

          • Leinsterlion

             /  April 8, 2015

            Tuqiri was a total waste of space, “academy full of outside backs?”, “I know, lets sign this guy who was good six years ago, and has done nothing since, its sure to work out”.

          • kevin

             /  April 9, 2015

            Leinsterlion: undeniably true but Stefan Terblanche is an even worse version ..a 35 year old shitheap that was never a good player to begin with! His sole contribution to Ulster is stalling Gilroy’s career progression!

          • I think Terblanche did ok – Payne went down with a season-ending injury after a few weeks at Ulster and Terblanche was picked out of semi-retirement. He never did a whole bunch in attack, but he was a good defender and excellent under the high ball.

            Also note that Gilroy played most of that season on the wing – it was Adam D’Arcy’s place Terblanche took. *Shudders involuntarily*

          • kevin

             /  April 9, 2015

            Oh i forgot he played at 15! In fairness he wasn’t a disaster by any means but one of my pet peeves with Irish rugby is provinces selecting average imports ahead of young players that are just as much better/good/marginally worse, with more scope for improvement. Cameron Jowett > Kev Mc Laughlin, Gopperth>Madigan etc. (Muliaiana is actually a great example of this, but given his history he was probably worth the risk). Were Ulster threadbare in their backline at the time? I thought that was the season Nevin Spence and Michael Allen announced themselves? Difference in quality with Terblanche wouldnt have been much and ye would be much richer for it now (notwithstanding the horrible Spence tragedy)

  4. Well I would imagine him going to Connacht might have added some desire for Bundee Aki to come here aswell.

    • Maybe my memory’s fuzzy (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but didn’t Bundee sign before Mils? I’d say that Lam is probably the bigger draw for Connacht signings at the minute than Mils.

      • Honestly can’t remember who signed first, but us signing Craig Clarke after he captained the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Rugby titles was probably influenced Aki more than Lam or Muliaina.

    • This is the sort of presumption/wishful thinking we’re referring to. It seems there’s a bit of a desire to attricute anything good that’s happened in Connacht to Mils Muliaina. I’m just not buying this one.

      • Billy

         /  April 8, 2015

        Is it not equally presumptuous to assume that in Connacht’s most successful league season ever that he didn’t have some sort of off-field impact? This year Connacht have been about one Dan Parks away from cracking the top 4 while playing some very enterprising rugby – a massive improvement on previous years.

        It’s also impossible to refute that his signature in the first place was a massive coup reputationally – the benefits of which should last a couple of years.

        Also, given that his contract details are not in the public domain, you are making a massive assumption on the outlay for his salary.

        • Unless of course the embarrassment clings to Connacht and ageing Kiwis see them as an easy buck

          • Billy

             /  April 8, 2015

            Embarrassment is very harsh. It seems like you expected the Muliaina of 10 years ago to provide a spark to the Connacht backline.

            I, and I expect many others, expected a 34 year old full back with 100+ AB caps to provide experience and presence to compensate for the loss of Dan Parks and Gavin Duffy. Based on the success of Connacht’s season there’s nothing to suggest he hasn’t had an impact off the pitch and while his performances on the pitch have been underwhelming, they’ve hardly been cringe-inducing.

            Reputationally, not only was it a coup to the rugby world generally, it also sent a message to the up and coming Connacht talent, i.e. “Why leave when we can attract WC winning ABs here”

          • Reputationally – that’s fair.

            But “there’s nothing to suggest he hasn’t had an impact off the pitch” – we shouldn’t assume that he has had an impact unless there is clear evidence he hasn’t – quite the opposite in fact. What tangible evidence is there for his impact off the pitch?

          • Stevo

             /  April 8, 2015

            How can there ever be tangible evidence for something as intangible as ‘impact off the pitch’? All we’ll get is anecdotal evidence, which is what we have for John Langford and those who followed him. The difference is we’re less inclined to give short shrift to the stories from the Munster dressing room because of Langford’s impact on the pitch.

        • And, is €300k miles off the mark?

          • Who knows, seems impossible to get a reliable answer on that. I have variously heard that: (1) yes it’s bang on, even though the first person I heard quote that figure in the meeja was Trininjus; (2) no, it’s more like the most Connacht previously offered a player i.e. ~180K offered to Mike McCarthy; (3) no, it’s more like the most Connacht previously paid players i.e. ~150K to the likes of Dan, George and Clarke. I expect the truth lies somewhere between (1) and (2) but that’s just a guess.

            While we’re at it, what do Ben Te’o, Kane Douglas, and Naughty Nuck pull down? 😉

            At least Nuck and Mils costs return to the respective provincial pots for next season’s budget…

          • Good info chief – thanks for that. Naughty Nuck, whatever he gets paid, isn’t worth it. Unless you are the owner of Esperanto’s

          • I dont really have any need to see Mils time here as good, I’m well aware he was rubbish. I was just remarking that signing a player who had 100 caps for the ABs and was probably a figure that a lot of young people in NZ looked up too might at least make you consider coming here.

          • Billy

             /  April 8, 2015

            I think that sounds a little peaky but in truth we are both completely guessing… Plus we have no context in terms of Connacht’s wage structure or what the market was like last summer (probably shallow pre-WC)…

  5. No mention of Eddie Hekenui? Boo hiss.
    Tuqiri comes in a similar bracket as Mils and also left shrouded in scandal (more covered up). Doubt he was on as much though.
    The provinces don’t have money to be throwing around on potentially crocked former stars.
    If it is influence we want, spend it on a coach (which I presume is the thinking behind Nacewa’s return); if it is a player, spend that kind of money only on fit players.

  6. Ah lads, Steven Sykes! Tony Goldfinch was very good in a Rock Metro Cup run around the turn of the Millennium as well

    • Sykes was a disaster, though not as higfh profile as Muliana on arrival. Kane Douglas is edging closer by the week to becoming the new Sykes.

  7. @shelflife68

     /  April 8, 2015

    Who is this CJ Van der Linde ? is he any relation to Diinjured Van der Linde that was in Leinster for a while ?

  8. Sparking

     /  April 8, 2015

    I’m not aware of any group of Connacht fans that have been defending Mils, most that I speak with think he has been underwhelming at best. The influence on young players is a management line and don’t all management defend their players in public at least what happens in private email can be an entirely different matter of course.

  9. hulkinator

     /  April 8, 2015

    On the playing field it was a complete waste of money. He didn’t play well and had no positive effect from what I saw.

    Behind the scenes it could be a different matter. His influence might have rubbed off on some of the young players. You can’t measure it so its impossible to know. I think we might hear a few things in time when some players write their books.

    No doubting though that many high profile players at clubs are only interested in money. Look at the Welsh team. Jamie Roberts hardly ever played for Cardiff because he was “injured” but always was available for Wales. Theres a different Sam Warburton that plays for Cardiff compared to the one who plays for Wales. Same with Faletau, Lydiate etc and other Welsh players. Thats why they’ve so few injuries.
    Southern hemisphere players heading north are coming for the money. Something teams should keep in mind.

    • Hookisms & Hyperbole

       /  April 8, 2015

      Joeli Veitayaki.

      That is all.

      • Absolutely. Ended up playing for Bangor 3rds.

        • Kevin Maggs' Hair

           /  April 11, 2015

          Isn’t the real story here that Ulster signed Joeli’s BROTHER by accident? Apparently he could have given John Daly a run for his money on the chocolate muffins.

  10. Fordie

     /  April 8, 2015

    Can’t believe Jean de Villiers has not been mentioned here yet, surely up there with the worst of the Imports.

    • kevin

       /  April 9, 2015

      THANK YOU! I’d argue a strong case for him being #1 in the flop charts, as he was a justifiably expensive top class player and possibly the best 12 they could have bought at the time, …and was absolutely shite! The fact that he’s been a very good player since, routinely captaining the 2nd best team in the world further underlines his general floppiness! Has anyone heard any whispers why he was so bad? I feel sorry for Munster because he was the right signing to make…this sympathy dried up after the subsequent signing of Tuitopou, who can also consider himself blessed to have avoided this comment thread

      • He of course got memorably burned by Drico, but he wasn’t completely terrible either – just terrible given his quality before and after! There were rumours he didn’t fit into the dressing room – he certainly never settled.

        Tuitupou was poor – yet he wound up as Sale Sharks captain!

        • kevin

           /  April 9, 2015

          Didn’t fit into the dressing room is extremely vague. He never struck me as a player coining it, I wouldn’t question his effort on the pitch anyway.

          Hardly a fairytale ending!! Think it says more about the decline of Sale than it does of wee Sam’s enduring quality! Look at their team for god sake, their openside is….actually never mind! Don’t want to upset anyone here!

  11. Think the 42 have hit the nail on the head on this one. Brian Lima for Munster. Zero matches played. I’d forgotten he’d even signed for Munster. Cj must be a close second. World Cup winner and supposed destructive scrummager who turned out to be a wet blanket and made of glass. Released early and heads home to almost immediately find form. Waste of pitch space.

    • Every time a worst signature comes up it feels like I imagined the Brian Lima signing. The fact that I’m so many posts down the page re-enforces it. I was going to read the comments and Google it to make sure it actually happened before putting it forward.

  12. cormpat

     /  April 8, 2015

    Hello WOC, I’m a long term lurker, first time poster. It’s academic really who was the worst high profile foreign import signing by the province’s & I’m sure that there will be equally poor performing players signed in the future (by all the provinces).
    I’m a Connacht fan & have heard that his influence on the young tyro’s has been negligible. I’ve heard that as he’s been injured a lot he hasn’t been attending training sessions. Now, if he’s not coming to training how can he be influencing the players & passing on his pearls of wisdom? However I do think there has been some positive benefits, we never signed a player of his caliber before & he definitely created a buzz, & he probably did help with ticket & merchandise sales.
    Bottom line; if he was any good, Connacht would have signed him up for another year.

    • Welcome beneath the line Cormpat, and thanks for getting involved in the conversation – grab your crash helmet!

  13. mohill11

     /  April 8, 2015

    Muliaina may still have a role to play before the end of the season in helping secure the points to enable Connacht to automatically qualify (or via the playoffs) for the HEC next season. I agree his performances have been underwhelming, but I sense from some of the stuff written by people like O’Reilly in the ST that there is a whiff of begrudgery about Connacht having money to invest and develop which would be better spent at Leinster with the visionary coach in place there!!

    • I think that’s probably unlikely at this point, Mils is injured and out for another few weeks, leaving games against Zebre and Ospreys a possibility, at a time when Connacht will be chasing as many points as possible. Imo Connacht looked much more threatening against Glaws once Mils went off and Leader came on. Even against Zebre we probably won’t be able to justify playing Mils unless its because TOH and Leader have both played the previous two games and are rested to face Ospreys.

      I definitely feel some of Shelflife’s unrest at these articles. Last year there was a bit of jealousy surrounding Connacht’s high profile signings, especially in comparison to the lesser fare of the bigger provinces. Now that one of those has not blown the league away (which was never supposed to be the result anyways) the knives are out for the supposedly pennywise but pound foolish Connacht. Its a little simplistic, and a little patronizing, but its kind of to be expected given most rugby journalists wouldn’t waste time watching a Connacht game outside of derbies.

      At the same time, if Mils leaves Connacht without having scored a single try then its difficult to make an argument that he had a significant impact on the field. Without looking at stats, it would be hard to argue that his knowledge improved line breaks or defense while on the field, which are the only other quantifiable metrics. But to provide some defense of Mils, nobody knows when their form is going to dip from positive contribution to a squad to negative. It seems Mils and Zebre still think he has something to offer, but we haven’t seen much of it this season.

      The most difficult decision in a rugby career must be knowing to retire while still being a positive contributor to your squad. BOD got away with his decision to play one more year and had a fairytale send off, but plenty of players have missed that mark and hung around too long to the extent that their reputation became tarnished – Rog, Muller, Hayes, Jenno this year perhaps – unfortunately this may well happen to Mils as well, but who can tell a 100 capped World Cup winner when their time is up? And as long as teams are willing to offer him a wage to play, why would he see himself as over the hill?

  14. ThatsDevinalStraw

     /  April 8, 2015

    Joeli Veitayaki anyone?

    • jacothelad

       /  April 10, 2015

      As I said above, he was pretty awful when he got here. He fell in with the Fijian soldiers living in Holywood barracks and discovered Ulster cuisine and Guiness. However, his life career after rugby has been pretty special. We know that not everyone’s life is defined by their rugby career. I’m very happy for him as he was a phenomenally nice man. I remember the look of despair on his face when he was penalised, I think very unfairly, time after time in one of his first games for Ulster. I think it was that cretin of a ref who penalised Connacht in the last minute of a game v. the O’s with a made up offence. Jebus, he was the ruination of many games. I’ve wiped his name from my memory banks. Anyone know who he is? Not Changeing x2 or Peter Allen or even Andy Ireland. All dreadful but rugby geniuses compared to the one I’m thinking about.

  15. Shelflife68

     /  April 8, 2015

    Overall I think this article and the articles in the Sindo and the ST are very quick to get the knives out for Mils and Connacht, when you consider that normally we get a little head nod from Whiff then suddenly we get a full on article telling us that it was the mother of all screw ups and that no one else has signed a dud.

    Firstly not many Connacht fans that I engage with are jumping to Mils defense, yes in relation to the Cardiff episode in that a man is entitled to his good name until proven otherwise but from a playing PoV there is a resigned acceptance that he hasn’t delivered the goods on the pitch and that maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world to see him go.

    So what did Mils bring to the Connacht party ?

    First and foremost some serious publicity all over the world, people who never heard of us are suddenly looking at the map and working out who and where we are.
    Secondly he brought us some major clout with sponsors clamouring over themselves to get him to get alongside him.

    Thirdly you don’t get 100 caps without learning something along the way and while it’s clearly not measurable I’m sure that he imparted a lot along the way.

    Was it worth it ? Who knows, I belive the 300k talked about was NZ$ which is about €200k which isn’t far off what salmonsonconnacht was mentioning but we will never know the exact amount. Was it worth it ? Hard to quantify really , I’m sure that it resulted in more season tickets being bought and more replica shirts been sold and maybe some additional sponsorship coming in the door but I’d say overall and I’d say it’s the feeling most Connacht fans have is that we prob didn’t get enough bang for our buck but it was far from the disaster that is being portrayed here and in the press.

    What saddens me most about the 3 pieces is the speed at which they were happy to almost gloat at the fact that the gamble didn’t pay off for us and how silly we were to even think about making such a signing, sure who did we think we were ?? Fecken updates from the West spending our money !!!

    It annoys me that all the other flops from other provinces were quickly forgotten and swept under the carpet , but Connacht’s mistakes were put under the spotlight with even the great PR machine getting a dig for “grinding to a halt” with their failure to comment on Mils arrest when everyone knows that you simple can’t comment on matters such as that.

    We are finding our way, we are getting decent funding from the Irfu, we have got off our arses and started helping ourselves as well and this season we have done a remarkable job, we have 14 points more than last season, crowds are stable in spite of no HC and a Supporters club has opened up as well.

    Will we make mistakes ? Yup have we made one with Mils ? In hindsight it hasn’t worked out as well as we would have liked, but we like other provinces will learn from our mistakes and move on.

    All we ask is that we are given a chance and not kicked when we are getting to our feet.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  April 8, 2015

      You are getting the wrong end of the stick, look at all the names of the numerous Leinster and Munster flops, how legendary in their badness, how they get brought up on threads like this, and nary a Connacht import is mentioned. All that has happened is, Connacht have arrived, people are paying attention, welcome to relevance.

      • Two class comments there. Connacht are arriving….whether muliana will be viewed as a help or a hinderence….I guess history is written by the victors, so if they can grab 6th the car park gags and most disappointing signing lists will start to feel a good bit funnier for you guys. It would be easier to laugh at yourselves then! Watching ulster, I’d be looking over my shoulder a bit for next season either way to be honest. Probably especially if you don’t qualify this year. By the by – Clint Newlands, great name but he wasn’t tara. Also, what of useless ed?! Went on to tear it up in the super 15! Maybe that’s a bit generous but he and Sykes must have had an allergy to rain or something.

        • jacothelad

           /  April 10, 2015

          I don’t think Ulster will lose any sleep worrying about Connacht next year. You’re closer to Leinster than Ulster who are actually the top Irish team in the league despite playing like drains. 1961 must seem a long way back for long term Connacht fans.

    • We can’t win with you boys! When we don’t post on Connacht, we get accused of ignoring them; and when we do, we get beaten up. On the Tweetbox, our Connacht friends (including yourself) are great for the debate, but we haven’t quite cracked it on the blog, have we.

      We’ll keep trying chief.

      • mohill11

         /  April 9, 2015

        You’re doing just fine WOC. You coming down to join us at the Dog Track on Saturday by the way as we get our campaign for 6th back on track as we entertain the Men from the North?

      • Shelflife

         /  April 9, 2015

        In fairness Whiff posting negative blog will always result in a few slaps been thrown :-), I enjoy the blog and fair comment and criticism is always good. It just seemed that the two newspaper articles were very quick to put the boot in.

        Leinster Lion I dont think that we have arrived yet but we are on the way !

  16. toro toro

     /  April 8, 2015

    “there is hardly a gaping need at fullback in Ulster. Or in any province for the matter – Kearney and Jones are the Irish fullbacks and Mils Muliaina has just the century of BNZ caps”

    Long few days, lads?

  17. Spikes

     /  April 9, 2015

    Should we be differentiating between bad outcome and bad process?
    Bad outcome being a good player who was willing and able and filled a real need, but permanently injured, failed to fit in etc – Christian Cullen, JDV etc.
    Bad process – “what were they thinking” – someone who was never good, over the hill, bad attitude or no better than domestic alternatives – Tuquiri, Borlase etc.

    It’s not just the provinces who’ve had problems with high profile imports not living up to expectations – Lydiate and Roberts struggled in Paris, and greats such as Victor Matfield and Mark Andrews appear to have phoned it in outside South Africa.

  18. Here’s a tip, lads. Next time just write “Guest written by Connacht fan…” and make up a name. You’ll be off the hook.

    Anyway, Brian Lima. That’s all I’ll say.

  19. Andrew

     /  April 10, 2015

    Alroysh Isa

  20. Spikes

     /  April 10, 2015

    And a quick tip of the hat to someone who would have been on this list eighteen months ago but has really turned things around… Michael Bent.

    • When Bent rolled in, we said the target was to become the new Tom Court – solid dependable HEC-level option – at best

  21. osheaf01

     /  April 13, 2015

    When are you starting your MOC Must Stay blog?

  22. scrumdog

     /  April 14, 2015

    Have the provinces now learned the lesson that players with 100 caps are probably in ‘cotton wool’ territory and have too much mileage on the clock. There are some exceptions but mostly not. Muliaina would possibly be a good signing as a backs skills coach but not as a player at this stage in his life.Lam has to have approved the Mils signing….and Craig Clarke was he signed without a scan, having had over half a dozen concussions? More care in the ticking of the ‘basic boxes’ before signing need to be applied and not solely on reputation, fitness testing and verified medical clearances are obviously essential. Anyone care to inform us on what David Nusifora has accomplished yet or is he another MOC?

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