Realized the other day that I hadn’t posted here for a while so thought I might list my preferred All Blacks Squad ahead of the official announcement tomorrow so here goes. This is based upon the AB’s taking 30 players with probably a 17-13 forwards-backs split.
Comment: In the backs the obvious omission is SBW but really is it that surprising? When has he ever played a match of rugby at anywhere near the standard of Conrad Smith or Ma’a Nonu? Why is he even there now? Because he is a highly paid ex-league player who has to be picked because of the price the NZRU paid for him. He has shown no long term commitment to rugby and has proven this by stating that he will not announce his future until after the Tri Nations, in other words, “when the RWC2o11 squad is announced”. For these reasons I believe he should not be included but please feel free to state your views in the comments section below if you disagree. I do rate Piri Weepu as a viable back up to Dan Carter but he also provides a back up if Aaron Cruden is selected and is unable to perform to standard. Colin Slade cannot perform to standard against quality opposition it appears and therefore should not be selected. Cruden is likewise not proven but is in form and can kick goals so I have named him in my squad. The other selections are relatively self-explanatory.
Forwards: I think that the top two locks despite my personal liking for Ali Williams, are most definitely Sam Whitelock and Brad Thorn. Adam Thomson should be in the starting line up because of his high work rate and excellent ball carrying ability. Tony Woodcock is there courtesy of the extra forward place in the squad. If he can get fit again he could be potent but at the moment the Franks brothers are the form props. Andrew Hore and Kevin Mealamu are both exceptional hookers and are virtually interchangeable at the moment in my opinion with Corey Flynn as back up. John Afoa is unlikely to have a major involvement but is there based on experience. Jerome Kaino is a class performer and will play a key part though his place in the line up is uncertain at the moment with Adam Thompson also a class act.
Tomorrow will tell who will carry the hopes of our nation in one months time on the quest for the ultimate challenge that our national sport has to offer! Debate on the squad from readers would be welcome!!!