All Blacks


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.

Backs

Mils Muliaina
Israel Dagg
Sitiveni Sivivatu
Conrad Smith
Ma’a Nonu
Piri Weepu
Daniel Carter
Jimmy Cowan
Richard Kahui
Hosea Gear
Aaron Cruden
Cory Jane
Zac Guildford

 Forwards

Wyatt Crockett
Kevin Mealamu
Owen Franks
Andrew Hore
Ben Franks
Brad Thorn
Sam Whitelock
Jerome Kaino
Kieran Reid
Adam Thomson
Richie McCaw
Tony Woodcock
Anthony Boric
John Afoa
Corey Flynn
Victor Vito
Liam Messam

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!!!

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2 thoughts on “All Blacks

  1. Jonathan –

    I like most of your thinking here mate – but……I would have to make room for Isaia Toeava. I think his versatility is too important to leave him out of the squad; I would pick him ahead of Zac Guilford. I too don’t really rate SBW – but along with Colin Slade, I don’t think the selectors will have the guts to leave him out of the squad at this late stage. I’m also not sure there is room for both Liam Messam and Victor Vito in the squad as both remain unproven against really tough oppositon.

    I think they will probably go for a 16-14 forwards-backs split. This will see Andy Ellis picked as the third half-back and Victor Vito drop out altogether.

    As an aside – who would you start out of Israel Dagg and Mils Muliaina? I think Dagg needs to start somewhere. If they won’t drop Mils I’d make space for Dagg on the wing.

    Take care bud!
    Jarrod Angove

    • Hey Jarrod,

      Fair call. I like Toeava’s versatility but I do have concerns regarding his consistency in these big matches and the fact that he hasn’t had much game time this season counts against his ability to perform at the RWC in my opinion which puts him in the same bracket as Colin Slade. Anyhow both Toeava and Guildford have made it which provides some young talent within the squad and an chance to see if Henry’s “special project” will turn out as a success.

      You were correct regarding the 16-14 split. My preferred selection was based mainly on Piri Weepu being able to cover both halfback and first five.

      If it was a contest for the fullback position I would definitely play Mils because he is so solid and consistent. He is also a key leader in the team. However with that said I definitely think that Dagg should be a option on the wing as his form and attacking flair deserve it.

      What do you think about Slade being selected over the obviously in form Aaron Cruden? While I think it is a big jump from ANZC to test level I reckon that the fact that Cruden is in form and has had significant game time as opposed to Slade. He can also kick goals more consistently and is excellent at running back play and cutting through the line.

      Hope your having a great week 🙂

      Jonathan

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