Riddle me this: All Black Squad Assessment (part 2)

15 08 2007

Yesterday, The Riddler gave us an overview, and looked at Front Row & Lock selections. Today, The Riddler will look at the Back Row, Half-backs & Fly Halves of the New Zealand All Blacks… (links to Part 1 & Part 3)

The Mighty All BlacksBack row
Six players selected here. Jerry Collins, Sione Lauaki, Chris Masoe, Richie McCaw, Rodney So’oialo and Reuben Thorne. Big surprise here is Lauaki’s inclusion. and a very pleasant one as well. He is a very high impact player with explosive pace and strength.

The Wellington trio are in the squad, and Collins and So’oialo have lifted their games after lethargic starts. Masoe needs to pick his act up. McCaw is just class. Best in the world. A hero in NZ and labelled a cheat everywhere else because he is simply too god for any other side in the world to contain. Thorne is in the squad and don’t see why. He is ordinary in my eyes and Marty Holah would have been a better pick. Overall, pretty impressed by the selections here.

Halfbacks
Three selected here and a huge surprise. Byron Kelleher, Brendan Leonard & Andrew Ellis all get their chances with Weepu sensationally dropped. Don’t think too many people around New Zealand were concerned though as Brendan Leonard has shown himself to be world class, and has All Black starting halfback written all over his forehead after this world cup. Many would like him over Kelleher to start the games already in his career.

Ellis was a huge surprise to get the nod over Weepu as well. Obviously he has had standout games for the Junior AB’s because he hasn’t even had a look in at the main squad… but found himself selected for the World Cup. Ecstatic at the halfback selections. Didn’t think Weepu was playing anywhere near the required standard, and a message was sent through the squad with his axing: nobody is safe.

Flyhalves
Two here, with the potential to play Luke McAlister here as well. Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!Daniel Carter and Nick Evans get the nod. Carter is world class and the stand-out number 10 in the world.

However Evan’s is no slouch either. He has class written all over him and would likely make the starting squad of every other country in the world. The what if Dan get injured scenario is not a scary one when you have Evan’s sitting in the wings. Very impressed by the quality and depth here.

Tomorrow, The Riddler will look at Centres, Wings & Full-backs… and give a wrap up of the entire squad…

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2 responses

16 08 2007
Mel

Would agree with your assesment. Drop Oliver for another lock. Lauaki deserves to be there is one tough b. Don’t know about Ellis, although I though Peri Weepu has been pretty ordinary this year. I also think that Kelleher has been pretty ordinary this year. Brendon Leonard should be the starting half back!!! When he came on against AUS and they also replace Oliver, the whole game changed… he made a big impact. Chris Masoe deserves to be there as well.

Good article Riddler

16 08 2007
Riddle me this: All Black Squad Assessment (part 1) « With Malice…

[…] give an overview, look at the Front Row & Locks of the New Zealand All Blacks… (links to part 2 & part […]

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