Opinionated Rugby Commentary - by Fans for Fans
Spill what you really think about events in the rugby world.
My First All Blacks Squad 2012 - Class vs Form 31 views
24 April 2012 by The Swede Eaters
Scotty Donaldson names his First All Blacks Squad of 2012. It is tough deciding between form vs class and how many new players to include at the expense of some of the Rugby World Cup 2011 winners.
The first All Blacks squad of 2012 will be announced in a month for the June internationals and I have decided to select 26 players to feature in the Steinlager Series against Ireland.
The main dilemma is class vs form with some of the Rugby World Cup 2011 winning All Blacks looking tired and in a mixed bag of form. Who do you think will make the first squad of 2012?
I wonder how many debutants there will be and what squad makeup the selectors will go for? Will they use these test matches to blood some youngsters? Will the Blues poorly performing elder statesmen like Ali Williams, Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu and Ma'a Nonu be used or saved for the August Rugby Championship? Have we seen the last of some of these guys in the All Blacks jersey? Will any player who won't be around in 2015 still be selected?
My First All Blacks Squad 2012
14 forwards 12 backs
Sonny Bill Williams
Points to note
I have picked Hosea Gear over Zac Guildford in a call that could have gone either way. I think they are different types of winger and Gear has been in slightly better form. Julian Savea isn't ready yet. Andre Taylor has also been playing well.
Ma'a Nonu should get there on class despite poor form for the Blues. Kahui and SBW can both cover wing. Others who are unlucky to miss out include Robbie Fruean (Crusaders) and utilities like Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison (Highlanders). This could depend on squad structure.
Aaron Smith - He gets in ahead of Kerr-Barlow.
Matt Todd gets in ahead of Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer and Luke Braid as openside flanker options and Liam Messam's utility value.
Brodie Retallick has been impressive and gets in ahead of the Blues veteran Ali Williams and injured Anthony Boric. Boric would make it if fit. Luke Romano, James Broadhurst and Josh Bekhuis are worth considering.
I am sticking with the old fellas upfront in Hore and Mealamu. Dane Coles and Hika Elliot are the new breed of hooker, while Southland Boys High former pupils Corey Flynn and Jason Rutledge have been going well.
Three props pick themselves. I have selected Charlie Faumuina ahead of Wyatt Crockett and Jamie Mackintosh after an impressive start to the season.
Historically the All Blacks selectors have gone for three hookers and halfbacks if this new regime go for with this squad then I would hope that they would blood Tawera Kerr-Barlow and either Dane Coles or Hika Elliot. Players like Piri Weepu, Jimmy Cowan and Corey Flynn won't be around for the next Rugby World Cup so I think it could be time to try some new blood. It would probably be at the expense of Charlie Faumuina and Beauden Barrett.
What do you think of My First All Blacks Squad 2012 - 14 forwards and 12 backs? Who would you pick? There are about seven positions undecided yet.