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My First All Blacks Squad of 2013 - Do You Agree? 1 views 2 Comments
08 May 2013 by The Swede Eaters
 

I name my first All Blacks squad of 2013. Do you agree? Who would you put in the team?

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen names his All Blacks squad for the June International test matches against France later this month and there are plenty of talking points.

Last year the All Blacks selectors named a 35-man training squad ahead of their series against Ireland and then trimmed it down to a 30 man squad once the series began. This gave plenty of young players the opportunity to train with the squad without being thrown straight into the fire. In 2013 I am assuming Hansen will do the same thing and instead of blooding some of the young stars, he will give them opportunities in the End of Year Autumn Internationals in Europe.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the established All Blacks who haven't really hit their straps yet in Super Rugby. Players like Ma'a Nonu, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Israel Dagg have come under criticism for their performances so far this season, but we must remember that these guys usually hit top gear when they play for the All Blacks.

There are also some injury concerns and of course the question of who will fill the big boots of skipper Richie McCaw?

New Zealand has plenty of depth in most positions with the older players being challenged by some exciting young players which is great.

I think there are plenty of worthy options at prop, lock, blindside flanker and Number Eight in the forwards and halfback, first five eighth, wingers and fullback in the backs.

At hooker, both established players Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu have had injury problems this season, while Hore is taking a while to get into decent form. Hika Elliot is the next cab off the rank, but while he has played for the All Blacks before, he hasn't really developed as anticipated. Dane Coles is injured at the moment and so is rising star James Parsons who has been playing well for the Blues.

The Chiefs Sam Cane should start at openside flanker against France, but there isn't too much serious competition for the spot. In test matches someone like Victor Vito or Liam Messam may provide cover from the bench, but the only other main contender is Crusader Matt Todd who is a tackling machine but probably less of a scavenger. John Hardie and Luke Braid are probably the next in the pecking order.

The midfield is a headache really. Ma'a Nonu has been in sketchy form, but since Sonny Bill Williams has gone to rugby league, Richard Kahui is injured and then off to Japan and Conrad Smith got knocked out again, there are question marks over who else will play there. Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith are utilities who can play at centre, but I think Smith is better at fullback or on the wing, while Ellison has only just come back from injury, but has made an immediate impact with the Highlanders. Robbie Fruean hasn't fulfilled his potential, while Tim Nanai-Williams and Rene Ranger are two exciting players who can also cover wing and could make the training squad at least. Ryan Crotty and Tim Taylor from the Crusaders and Shaun Treeby, Bundee Aki and Francis Sailli are too inexperienced, but could be bolters for the training squad or End of Year tour.

Halfback is a tough one with Piri Weepu and Aaron Smith the incumbents, but Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Andy Ellis and TJ Perenara are challenging for the third spot.

There are also plenty of good young props like Ben Taumiefuna, Ben Afeaki and Charlie Faumauina challenging more established All Blacks like Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett and Ben and Owen Franks.

Here are some potential bolters who could make it - Frank Halai (Blues), James Parsons (Blues), Tom Taylor (Crusaders), Tim Nanai- Williams (Chiefs), Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs), Ben Afeaki (Chiefs), Steven Luatua (Blues), Charles Piutau (Blues), Luke Braid (Blues), Brad Shields (Hurricanes), Ben Taumiefuna (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Thomas Bird (Crusaders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders).

Last year 35 players made the wider training squad (19 forwards and 16 backs) - so here is my All Blacks wider training squad 2013.

Fullbacks - Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Charles Piutau.

Wingers - Julian Savea, Hosea Gear, Rene Ranger.

Centres - Tamati Ellison, Conrad Smith (if fit), Ma'a Nonu (if fit), Tom Taylor.

First Five Eighths - Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett.

Halfbacks - Piri Weepu, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara.

Loose forwards - Kieran Read (if fit), Victor Vito, Steven Luatua, Matt Todd, Sam Cane, Liam Messam.

Locks - Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Ali Williams, Sam Whitelock.

Props - Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Ben Afeaki (if fit), Wyatt Crockett, Ben Taumiefuna.

Hooker - Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu (if fit), Hika Elliot.

There are some injury concerns over players and I think the following could make the squad if players like Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Ben Afeaki and Keven Mealamu don't make the squad through injury then I think Tim Nanai-Williams, Ryan Crotty, Brad Shields, Pauliasi Manu and James Parsons would make the squad instead respectively.

The All Blacks training squad could disrupt Super Rugby teams for the two or three weeks leading up to the June International window where the New Zealand All Blacks host France.

Do you agree with my All Blacks squad of 35? Who would you include?

To win a great prize, simply name the first All Blacks starting XV which will take the field against France on June 18. Enter here!

http://www.superrugbytips.com/2013/05/my-all-blacks-squad-for-june.html


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Tags: Super Rugby, All Blacks,



comment Comments (2)
Rating:

2 . KEMZ1 10 May 2013 04:49 AM
Nice picks but i probably would have ranger in as a centre and probably have snakey and possibly ma'a resting. loosies aren't too bad although i would have brad shields in for matt todd. Front row & hookers - ben tamefuna probably not and yes definately have parsons involved.

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1 . Paulys All blacks 08 May 2013 10:56 PM
i like all those players you have named, my bigest concern is at Hooker. I think Mealamu is a worry fitness wise, Andrew Hore is too unrealiable now, and hika elliot has never proven to be great at hooker. Parsons maybe the man for the hooker position I don't know..... Brad Sheilds should be in the side, even if he's there as a stand up guy with Steven Luatua.....other than that a pretty good team, hopefully a winning team.

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