Riddle me this: All Black Squad Assessment (part 3)

16 08 2007

Yesterday, The Riddler looked at the Back Row, Half-backs & Fly Halves selections. Today, The Riddler will look at the Centres, Wings & Full-backs… then give a wrap-up of the New Zealand All Blacks… here are the links to Part 1 & Part 2

The Mighty All BlacksCentres
The area likely to cause the AB’s the most pain… if pain is to be suffered. Four have been selected. Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister, Isaia Toeava & Aaron Mauger. While all very smart players in their own right they fall short of some other combinations like the Australian, South African & Irish ones. They will be targeted and must be on their game. Don’t think they could have picked any better though so hopefully they are up to the task.

Three of the best here. Sitiveni Sivivatu, Joe Rokocoko and Doug Howlett are all brilliant players and rank amongst the very best in their positions in the world. The AB’s have a collection of wingers the envy of any side in the world and they are all match winners. Very pleased with the selections. Couldn’t have picked it better myself.

Two in the squad. Mils Muliaina and Leon McDonald. Huge fan of Mils but have to admit, don’t really have the time of day for McDonald. It’s not because I don’t think he isn’t a talented. He has talent by the bucket loads. However he is not a team player. He is one of the most reluctant players to pass the ball I have ever witnessed, and many a good tries have gone begging because he simply chose to try and be the hero himself. He will always play second string to Mils until he learns to play for the team and not himself. However he is too good to leave out of the squad and I would have probably picked him.

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!Conclusions
Altogether pretty happy with this squad. Would have gone with almost every selection in the backline. Only one I may not have gone with is Ellis and that is due to lack of exposure of seeing him play. However if the selectors are picking him from Junior AB performances he must be flying this season.

In the forwards would have liked to see Oliver shown the door. I thought he might have played bad enough against the Aussies at Eden Park to warrant that. Webb Ellis TrophyHe is the biggest liability in this squad without a shadow of a doubt. Thorne has done nothing special to warrant his spot either and would have liked to see a Holah in the squad instead of him. An extra lock is definitely needed and a Flavell would have been a good inclusion at the expense of someone like Oliver.

Very powerful squad with only real weakness being the centres and potential taking too few locks. This squad is definitely capable of hoisting William Webb Ellis aloft in a few months time.

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