Monday, September 14, 2009

End of Year Tour

While there is one more test to go (and therefore now is not the time to sharpen coaching knives) it IS time to begin thinking through the 30 for the end of year tour. So I've picked my team, not the one they will pick. Comment away if you've done little else but think about this and find yourself blogless...

My method is this:

  • Take out the injured ones
  • Work how who needs a rest and leave them at home
  • Give the performers this year a chance
  • Retire those who seem past it now and give some new blood a shot

In that last category? So'oialo, Thorn, Donald, Rokococo. In the 2nd category Mils.

Fullbacks - Corey Jane and Israel Dagg (lets see who comes through as the top contender)
Wings - Sivivatu, Masaga, Gear (Jane, Slade etc can fill in)
Centres - Toeava, Robert Fruean (HUGE potential) - Assumption: Smith and Kahui are not available
2nd Five - Nonu, Jayden Hayward (the most talented 2nd V on display in the Air NZ Cup) - Assumption: McAllister is injured
1st Five - Carter, Cruden, Slade (Slade has utility value as well)
Halfback - Cowan, Leonard (it would be good to have a third, but not enough space and who?)
No.8 - Read, Messum (must be given a chance to develop his huge potential)
Blindside - Kaino, Thompson (can cover 7 as well)
Open Side - McCaw, Whitelock
Locks - Ross, Boric, Eaton, Jack (to see if he's ready and to pass on experience
Props - Woodward, McIntosh, Franks, Afoa (they'll take Crockett instead of McIntosh)
Hookers - Hore, De Malmanche, Hika Elliot (got to get another go)
Alright so thats 32 :) 2 to be omitted...take out a lock, a hooker or a first five...maybe they'll prefer Slade as a fullback to Dagg which would be a shame...

I reserve the right to think some more :)


Rhett said...

Alrighty then... here is my "Panic Button" 22 for the first test on the "November" tour (actually starts in October vs the Wallabies). This is the team I'd go with if we lose or show no improvement against the Aussies this weekend. And it's not a long-term shutout for some key players, it's more an experiment at an opportune time before the next World Cup.

1. Wyatt Crocket
2. Aled de Malmanche
3. Owen Franks
4. Isaac Ross
5. Chris Jack
6. Adam Thompson
7. Richie McCaw
8. Kieran Read
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Dan Carter
11. Hosea Gear
12. Stephen Brett
13. Robert Fruean (Richard Kahui, if available)
14. Sitiveni Sivivatu
15. Cory Jane

16. Hika Elliot
17. John Afoa
18. Anthony Boric
19. George Whitelock
20. Brendan Leonard
21. Aaron Cruden
22. Colin Slade/Tamati Ellison (flip a coin)

What d'ya think?

BJ said...

I assumed Ellison was injured. He'd be in my squad somewhere if not. Probably I'd take Toeava as a fullback and drop Dagg to make room for him at centre.

I can't imagine starting de Malmanche cos he can't throw. He's in the team for his power running and I'd leave him on the bench. But Elliot seems to have fallen from favour.

Brett and Fruean in the midfield would be interesting. The thing that worries me most about Brett is his defence.

Its a good exercise though!

Rhett said...

I really don't want to jump on the bandwagon, but the recall of Tialata at training today and Hansen's comment that Air NZ Cup form wasn't really high on his priority list (since it's out "3rd string" com) is making me less and less enthusiastic.

Imagine if Henry HAD led us to World Cup success. Hansen would probably be in charge right now!!!

BJ said...

It made me wonder if they might drop Woodcock. With all the talk about "time in the jumper" and players not stepping up. Tialata is a better balance (as a loosehead) to back up Crockett.

Looks like both wingers will have some time out as well.

BJ said...

So I was wrong. Tialata is back and Franks becomes another propping discard. What has Tialata done to earn his recall and where exactly has Frank's promise gone? Thompson for Kaino was predictable but the shock is Ross. Another youngster thrown to the wolves? One can only hope that his omission is not as a result of the lineout but rather a desire to enhance the physical presence of the pack. It would hardly be fair to punish Ross for taking the poison chalice of the lineout when all this week we have heard how close they are to perfecting it! When you add it up, they've gone to 2 bigger and more physically intimidating tight forwards. Backline changes predictable and nice to see Gear on the bench - look for an early substitution if Joe doesn't show up.

Not sure I agree wholeheartedly with the changes but at least you can see a method in the madness this time.