Tuesday 22 May 2007

The Blackness Prepares To Fall On France... and Canada

All Black Summer Squad
Dan Carter (out-half)
Jerry Collins (back-row)
Nick Evans (out-half)
Troy Flavell (lock/back-row)
Carl Hayman (prop)
Andrew Hore (hooker)
Doug Howlett (wing/full-back)
Chris Jack (lock)
Byron Kelleher (scrum-half)
Brendon Leonard (out-half... I think)
Luke McAlister (out-half/centre)
Richie McCaw (Captain)(flanker)
Leon MacDonald (full-back)
Chris Masoe (flanker)
Aaron Mauger (centre)
Keven Mealamu (hooker)
Malili Muliaina (full-back/centre)
Anton Oliver (hooker)
Keith Robinson (lock)
Josevata Rokocoko (wing)
John Schwalger (prop)
Sitiveni Sivivatu (wing)
Conrad Smith (centre)
Rodney So’oialo (back-row)
Reuben Thorne (back-row/lock)
Neemia Tialata (prop)
Isaia Toeava (centre)
Piri Weepu (scrum-half)
Ali William (lock)
Tony Woodcock (prop)

This 30-man group is quite possibly their tri-nations squad and the majority of their future world cup team. Some surprises in there; two relative unknowns to world rugby John Schwalger and Brendon Leonard were selected based on their Super 14 form whilst Ma'a Nonu and Rico Gear were dropped. Despite picking Schwalger and Leonard on Super 14 form Henry has ironically kept faith in others who had poor Super 14 campaigns. Rokococko, Williams and Thorne all failed to hit form after they returned from the special All Black conditioning camp but still find themselves included in Henry's plans.

Just skimming through the list of players the sheer amount of talent on show, and the depth New Zealand have at every position is just sick. Their second team would probably thrash most other international teams. The only concern for the All Black management is to get these boys working as efficiently as a unit after the Super 14. Though the Kiwis should have no problem rediscovering that rampaging, ruthless form of theirs against a very understrength French team and those poor poor poor Canadians. Then all they have to do is carry that form into the tri-nations, survive that, maybe win it, and arrive at the world cup completely unscathed, all 30 players still standing. It's a tough ask but to be honest, the Kiwis can afford to lose a multitude of players such is their strength in depth. The only ones they should be worried about are Carter and McCaw.

Anyway first victims are the Frogs (twice) and those unfortunate Canuck bastards

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