What to do with the #13 jersey for the All Blacks? Its been a problem for some years on and off - flirtations with fullbacks over the years (Muliaina and Cullen) and now with the 2 players expected to battle for the position in 2009 are out for the business end of the Tri Nations (Smith/Kahui).
There are some interesting theories out there:
- Promote Nonu to centre and push Carter to 2nd V outside Donald - actually this is the one I fear the selectors will opt for - but its fatally flawed as we must have Carter at 1st V
- With McAlister also out the smart choice for me is to bring Nonu back at 2nd V outside Carter and use the successful formula of 2008 - Nonu was at his best outside Carter in 2008 and was possibly the only NZer not to benefit from Carter's selection (as he was dropped)
- That then leaves the centre berth - Toeva has had a couple of goes there without impressing across the whole game - he remains my choice for consistency of selection and frankly the guy still possesses a raw talent that is worth persevering with - he has had some wonderful moments alongside the woeful ones
- There isn't anyone in the Air NZ Cup who is showing they are ready. If it comes down to a selection from outside the squad then I would go for Tuitivaki
- The option of pulling Muliaina back to centre making room for Corey Jane is a possibility, but for me, you've still got to be working a theory for the future and that one is plainly stopgap at best - plus Muliaina's best tests have always been at fullback
- I could be persuaded to push Nonu out to centre and bring Toeva into 2nd V - that way the kicking option is brought into the mix, but it seems to me to bring a double uncertainty into the mix - how will Toeva go generally? how will Nonu go at centre?
WHat may be telling are the Air NZ Cup games this weekend - Toeva is at Centre for Auckland and Nonu is at Centre for Wellington. Maybe Jamie is listening to the 3 wise men this week?