Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All Blacks - Experience and a Kicking Game

So the AB's team for the rematch with the Aussies is out:

Leon MacDonald,
Mils Muliaina,
Conrad Smith,
Ma'a Nonu,
Sitiveni Sivivatu,
Dan Carter,
Jimmy Cowan/Piri Weepu/Andrew Ellis,
Rodney So'oialo,
Richie McCaw (captain),
Jerome Kaino,
Ali Williams,
Brad Thorn,
Greg Somerville,
Andrew Hore/Keven Mealamu,
Tony Woodcock.

Reserves : Hore/Mealumu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Adam Thomson/Daniel Braid, Cowan/Weepu/Ellis, Stephen Donald, Richard Kahui.

Experience is the key here with all the new boys except Kaino (who played well on Sunday) gone. Muliaina is on the wing simply because he has to be on the field, but MacDonald adds his experience to the mix plus his kicking game. So'oialo returns to 8 where his security at the back of the scrum will enhance distribution. The Centre combination is restored and given a chance to function properly from the start of the game. Oh...and the captain is back.

This is a solid team with a much better balance. I'd have loved to see Afoa in, but if you're going to play Somerville and Afoa in the same game, then Somerville needs to start.

Lauaki has s(l)unk from sight.

Mortlock is back for the Aussies. Elsom is out with Phil Waugh in for him. That will increase the Aussie mobility in the loose, but they will lose some of their destructiveness with the ball in hand and on the tackle.

Look for an AB win at home as the boys come out hurting.


Rhett said...

Mils to the wing... I called it!

Robbie Deans said...

Alright, alright give us a decent run for our money- bring back Frank for captain and put Rhett in as coach!

Rhett said...

Kahui to the wing!

I like this move.

BJ said...

Interesting although I could see it coming from what was happening at training. Smith's reasons:

> He has been training there all week
> He's played a lot of footy there for the Highlanders and Waikato
> He gives the AB's some of the same qualities that Leon gave us

Puzzling. One is not a reason. Two is a relief. Three seems odd - Leon was picked for his kicking and defence.

So. Are we seeing Tuitavake dropped to the bench because of his misses on Tuqiri and Wulf overlooked because of his size? That and the fact that Kahui has played a bit at fullback with a kicking game similar to Muliaina - solid but not outstanding.

Looks like Cowan will start. And Hore as well.

Rhett said...

I think it's because neither Tuitivake or Wulf have provided the sizzle required on the wing. When was the last time we had wingers who were so average? Neither has even scored a try yet.

Kahui may be green, but he has that x-factor. I think that's a big part of it... he provides more value on the park than either of the wingers mentioned.

BJ said...

Smith has also added in another interview that Kahui brings more height in contesting the high ball. The other bloke is a Lote taller than the 2 shorties.

Rhett said...

That's true. Kahui is deceptively big. It's the babyface that makes that a surpise.

Kahui is giving Daniel Carter a run for his money as the main reason for my wife to tune in to rugby.