The All Blacks’ loss on Saturday night was the perfect preparation for the World Cup.
The loss gives the coaching staff an opportunity to delve into issues of which they weren’t aware, and select a squad that can get the job done.
While the Australians thoroughly deserved their victory, the performance from the men in black was one to forget.
The panic button isn’t needed just yet, but some players’ chances of playing at the World Cup may have been affected by the loss. With only 31 spots available on the plane to the World Cup, the All Blacks coaching staff face some tough calls.
I have decided to select a squad of 31 players for the World Cup.
Richie McCaw (C)
Victor Vito could easily slot in for Messam, who hasn’t had a good performance in the black jersey since Kaino has been back in black.
Smith is still excellent at his role, but his stupid mistakes are costing the All Blacks. Perenara hasn’t closed the gap on him, which is a shame because Smith needs a wake-up call.
Aaron Cruden is still our best #10, and would have the starting spot over Carter, with Barrett landing the bench role. Sadly, Carter is past his best.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow unlucky to miss out. I see the coaching staff selection Sopoaga, after fly half issues with DC, with Slade to cover halfback and fly half.
Sonny Bill Williams
Williams wouldn’t make the squad if he wasn’t a marketing ploy – not enough heart, and he lacks rugby IQ. Ryan Crotty is very unlucky to miss out.
The absence of Ma’a Nonu was evident on Saturday night.
Nehe Milner Skudder is very unlucky to miss out, and would be a shoo-in for any other country in the world. Israel Dagg holds his position in the team only because of experience.
This is the squad to take the men in black to back-to-back World Cups. The coaching staff have a huge task, but it will be made easier with common sense and trust in their players.
Let’s go get Bill!