Why the All Blacks hold the best position ahead of the World Cup

New Zealand’s comeback win over South Africa was not only an indication of the quality of the side, but also leaves Graham Henry’s team in an enviable position. With a few games left in this year’s Tri-Nations and an Autumn tour to the Northern Hemisphere in a couple of months, Henry has stated that he plans to use these games to blood some other players so that “we’ve got players in every position who can play at international level going into the World Cup.” The reality is that a second string All Blacks side would probably give any other team a run for their money anyway; just look at the New Zealand Maori’s performances against England and Ireland for an indication of just how good the strength in depth is.

Aaron Cruden could step up from his apprenticeship role.

With Dan Carter now set to be out for 8 weeks after an ankle operation, 21 year old Aaron Cruden should be the man to come in, in what is a fantastic opportunity to test himself out at international level against the Boks and the Wallabies. Other players who could be rested include the slightly elder statesmen of the team such as Brad Thorn, Tony Woodcock and Kevin Mealamu in the forwards, whilst in the backs New Zealand have so many top young fliers that the likes of Muliaina, Rokocoko and Conrad Smith can easily be replaced. Bearing this in mind, here’s a stab at what an All Black second string may look like:

Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Neemia Tialata, Sam Whitelock, Anthony Boric, Victor Vito, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Alby Mathewson, Aaron Cruden, Rene Ranger, Benson Stanley, Richard Kahui, Zac Guildford, Israel Dagg.

Apart from a doubt at 7, it doesn’t look bad at all. Great for the All Blacks, ominous for everyone else.


2 comments so far

  1. Graham Henry on

    I think, in all honesty, that we’ll choke again.

    • bencoles on

      I suppose you do have to be consistent.

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