Graham Henry's focus on the Rugby World Cup is clear. By naming two full squads, he's learned the lessons of past campaigns which have failed, in part, because of injuries in critical positions. NZ can now field two full teams, both of which are capable of playing in the final at Stade de France in October next year... should we get there. No other team have this depth which gives NZ a distinct advantage.
Naming Jerry Collins to captain the first two tests against Ireland is a genuine surprise. Anton Oliver's chances of captaining seem to have been undone by the Highlanders poor Super 14 but what of Rodney So'oialo? Not that I'm criticising, Jerry is a talismanic figure, particularly for Hurricanes fans and is clearly the one of the best blindside flankers in the world.
Biggest ommission, Reuben Thorne - he's had another very good season, can play both at blindside and lock and has been there before. If McCaw were out of the competition early, who would captain the All Blacks in a final? Great to see Kaino back in the squad, I wonder if Flavell has the temperament, Scott Hamilton's season has its rewards, and gotta feel sorry for Andrew Ellis.
5 days ago