All Blacks go for experience

2011-08-23 06:44

Brisbane - World number one New Zealand named their most experienced squad on Tuesday as they chase their first Rugby World Cup success in 24 years at home in next month's tournament.

The 30-man squad, named in Brisbane and which will be led by All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw, comprises 16 forwards and 14 backs.

The All Blacks, consistently ranked number one in the world, have a well-documented history of World Cup collapses which has earned them the tag of chokers on the big stage.

There is a combined 1 133 Test caps of experience in the All Blacks squad.

Along with skipper McCaw there are four others - flyhalf Daniel Carter, hooker Keven Mealamu, fullback Mils Muliaina and lock Ali Williams - who will appear in their third World Cup tournament, while another seven will be playing in their second tournament.

"It’s an incredibly exciting time for the team and a unique opportunity to represent New Zealand at home," coach Graham Henry said.

"The players will be facing the ultimate rugby challenge - playing for the most coveted trophy in world rugby, the Rugby World Cup."

Among this year's All Blacks to miss selection were wingers Hosea Gear, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Ben Smith, loose forward Liam Messam, prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Jarrad Hoeata.

"It was an incredibly difficult process. All the players who missed selection are not only outstanding players but special people," Henry said.

"This team has been selected on current form. We believe there is a good balance," he said.

"There is a blend of experienced All Blacks with nine players who have played more than 50 Tests while at the other end of the scale we have seven players who have played fewer than a dozen Tests who bring youthful enthusiasm to the side."

Auckland Blues lock Anthony Boric was chosen despite not being considered this season after a foot injury in June and will only make his return this week in a provincial match.

Wellington Hurricanes' backrower Victor Vito replaced Messam after playing only 11 minutes of the losing Test against the Springboks last weekend while Messam had been an ever-present in the All Blacks squad this season.

Henry said the Crusaders' Guildford was preferred over the other wing prospects Sivivatu and Gear because of his superior work rate and desire.

"He's probably just played with a little bit more energy than the others, a bit more desire," Henry said "Because of that energy, because of that availability, he got the nod."

The All Blacks won the inaugural World Cup at home in 1987 but have failed since then and in a major upset were dumped out by France 20-18 in the quarter-finals of the 2007 tournament in France.

The All Blacks open their World Cup campaign against Tonga at Eden Park on September 9 and are also grouped with France, Japan and Canada.


Backs - Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava, Cory Jane, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui, Daniel Carter, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis.

Forwards - Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn, Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, John Afoa.


  • Magmansa - 2011-08-23 07:05

    All Blacks to miss selection were wingers Hosea Gear, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Ben Smith, prop Wyatt Crockett. Dam! Would give my left nut to have those guys in our squad!

      Dwerg - 2011-08-23 07:30

      Why no Crockett? and what's the deal with Rene Ranger? is he injured?

      RandomDude - 2011-08-23 07:37

      @Dwerg , look at the 2011 Super Rugby stats .. .. he gives up to A LOT of penalties.

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 09:20

      @Dwerg they went with only one specialist loosehead in Woodcock and the moment he was fit they picked him ahead of Crockett. Then they also went the way of Afoa who can play both sides of the scrum. Think they are taking a big gamble. Its been months since Woodcock played rugby and now he's their only specialist loosehead with the mobile Afoa to fill he shoes if need need be but Afoa doesn't provide the same go forward momentum and struggled immensely this past weekend against the Boks. Ranger is injured. Their other weak point is their no2 Flyhalf. Slade didn't look ready to deal with the pressure of a test flyhalf carries and I think if Carter should go down so will the whole ship!

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 11:24

      @ RDude... that was in the Super15. He really wanted to play this WC and he got his act together when he played for the AB's cant remember him giving away a penalty the few tests he played now... and how many penalties didn't they gave away saturday when he was not playing and Woodcock was their Loosehead....

      FJ2 - 2011-08-23 14:52

      Can't believe they've left Crockett out.

      RandomDude - 2011-08-23 16:58

      @Riaan .. how did he get his act together? .. in the test against Aus he conceded 2 of the 7 penalties NZ conceded in that match .

  • ferrera - 2011-08-23 07:26

    The only weak point in their current squad is their nr 2 flyhalf. If Dan is not injured, any team who beat them will need a bunch of forward passes going their way...

      EJ - 2011-08-23 07:52

      you should be worried about a backup to m. steyn and Lambie, at least the ABs competed against the SA A side without carter and McCaw

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 09:29

      @ EJ In James we have a flyhalf who is more than capable. Not the worlds best but he has experience, he's sollid on defense, he gets the backline away and he did the job for us before. Where as in Slade they have someone with VERY little test experience and on Saturday he folded numerous times under the pressure and in a crunch game in the WC it will be just that much greater. And in those games flyhalf is the one posistion where you would want someone with experience and a cool head.

  • Anthony - 2011-08-23 07:27

    especially hosea gear!

  • imod - 2011-08-23 07:49

    No Crockett? Wow that's a big call considering he was the best NZ loosehead in the Super 15 and one of the standoutout Crusaders players. I'm not complaining though, who knows, we might be able to play John Smit at tighthead now!! lol

      PietSkiet - 2011-08-23 09:21

      Crockett not selected is huge, I thought his name would have gone down third after McCaw and Carter. The one test he did not play this year the AB pack went backwards like we have never seen before. Thank you Graham Henry this your first step in the choking process.

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 09:34

      Agree think it is a mistake that will haunt them. Crockett had an unbelievable season and I thought he cemented his place in the squad. He said he picked the team on current form but with selecting Woodcock who hardly played at all this season ahead of Crockett it is not the case... hey but I'm not complaining!

  • imod - 2011-08-23 07:54

    "There is a combined 1133 Test caps of experience in the All Blacks squad. Along with skipper McCaw there are four others - flyhalf Daniel Carter, hooker Keven Mealamu, fullback Mils Muliaina and lock Ali Williams - who will appear in their third World Cup tournament, while another seven will be playing in their second tournament." Experienced yes, but what i love about this 'experience' is that they've all experienced choking in a World Cup before! :)

  • EJ - 2011-08-23 08:01

    Messam, wtf? No Gear...he hasnt been in good form lately. Siviatu and Crocket is the unfortunate ones. Would prefer Crocket than Afoa,Sivi missed out due to the surplus of talent in the backs. Isaia Toeava and Kahui is another weak selection. Would of liked Fruen there than Kahui due to the good combination paring with SBW. Kahui-SBW didnt work out last weekend.Toeava has butter finger like no one else in world rugby today. Needs glue on his hands when playing. This AB team is selected on versatility and the weather conditions in NZ during September.

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 09:52

      I think they were a bit fed up with Messam... he had a few chances to impress but didn't so they went the way of the more experienced Vito. They went with Jane and Guildford ahead of Gear and Sivivatu. Both Jane and Guildford had better form and they impressed on a few occasions. In my opinion the best onform wingers in the world at the moment. They picked Kahui because he can cover a few positions in the backline and I think their centre pairing will be Smith and Nonu with SBW comming on from the bench so to include Fruen because he combines well with SBW doesn't make any sense. Their Backline looks dangerous and I think they had a very hard time choosing but the best players got chosen here, only being weak a backup flyhalf. I do think though they made a HUGE ERROR in not selecting Crockett he had an unbelievable season thus far

  • Straightdeal - 2011-08-23 08:16

    The ABs won't "choke" again. But they can still come unstuck if Carter has an off day in the Finals.

  • Ulrich - 2011-08-23 08:22

    I don't think Slade is as bad as people make him out to be. The All Black pack wasn't performing on Saturday and so naturally neither did the halfbacks. Look at ANY of our flyhalves when our pack is going backwards, they all look very ordinary (including golden-boy, Lambie).

  • Johann - 2011-08-23 08:33

    I say, bring them on!! Why is it that SA fans always throw the "too old" card about our teams but AB fans seem to be mostly "satisfied" with a team with this experience??

  • T4YG Tweeter - 2011-08-23 08:59

    WHERE THE 'FRIK' IS WYATT CROCKET!! NZ player of the Super Rugby tournament in my opinion!!

  • Maori - 2011-08-23 09:03

    Well balanced squad. Crockett unlucky to miss the squad. Cannot wait for the tournament to start. Sivi, like smoking Joe, had their chances and are no longer the in form players. Cannot wait!

  • cheetahkonin - 2011-08-23 09:04

    Vito but no Messam, you have got to be kidding me!!

  • Chief Kok - 2011-08-23 09:14

    Bloody awesome squad. Glad the off-form players were not included - Messam, Gear and Sivi. Unlucky for Crockett and Toeata. This team WILL WIN the World Cup.

      Bumblebee - 2011-08-23 09:37

      Please don't say that. We haven't won in 25years. So lets first win the damn thing before you speak. You might jinx us. Back the Aussies or France or anyone else for that matter.

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 10:04

      @ Kok You look a little thin at Loosehead.... Only picking Woodcock who just came back from injury that kept him out for virtually the entire Super 15... and this weekend we saw their scrum isn't as good as was once thought... if you go backwards you play with a huge disadvantage and with Slade showing that he crumbles behind a reversing pack All your hopes are pinned on one man... think the NZ coaching staff made it just a little bit harder for themselves...asif trying to win the cup they failed at the last 24years wasn't gonna be hard enough!

      Teebs - 2011-08-23 14:48

      Big call there, eh? "This team WILL WIN the World Cup", eh? There's nothing I enjoy more than seeing cock-sure AB supporters eat their words every four years. I'll bet my house you won't be man enough to come on these forums and man up when your precious ABs choke AGAIN. Maybe we'll all get lucky when, in the aftermath of another failed RWC campaign, some inconsolable NZ Immigration official slips up and erroneously (that means by mistake half-wit) grants you that visitor's visa you've been trying for so many years to get. Now all that remains is for everyone to club together to buy you a plane ticket so you can get the hell out of OUR country. If you get really lucky, there'll be enough money left to rent a trailer somewhere in NZ. Traitor scum!

      Teebs - 2011-08-23 14:52

      @ Bumblebee: Seeing that it's a turn-coat already, don't be surprised if it supports whoever wins (unless it's the country of it's birth, RSA, of course).

  • - 2011-08-23 09:16

    I would like to take Mills on in a 100m sprint. I fancy my chances.

      Grunk - 2011-08-23 09:41

      Particularly if you choose a 100m Rugby field with 15 oppo running at you. I reckon Mils would beat you you by about ,oh, 85 metres or so.

      Grunk - 2011-08-23 09:44

      Sorry I forgot something - your name should be Prick not Spike. - 2011-08-23 09:55

      What I'm getting at Grunk, is that Mills does not have the legs anymore. Hasn't had it for a while. Very mature aren't we? :)...... Grunk

      nzbro - 2011-08-23 10:36

      err spike I think you should rather be quiet until you actually know what you are talking about. @Grunk well said in your first comment ...with 15 oppo running at you & @ spike I dont know which player you are watching mate but mills has more "legs" in him than most of your bok back line all together hence his selection.If the boks could they would grab Mills in a flash.

  • sonnyg - 2011-08-23 09:56

    Bwhaaaaaa, no crocket. Its all falling apart for NZ. LOL

      nzbro - 2011-08-23 10:23

      sonnyg So by your joyful shout you must have regarded crocket as a threat? Has it occurred to you that he may have been replaced by someone more dangerous, someone who is less penalty prone etc. We both know the boks need penalties to score cause they wont reach the try line. something Im sure our 3 wise men (coaches) have noted, hence crocket's ommision. So it wont be the AB falling apart mate. (whats the matter sonnyg?? I see you're not lol anymore? )

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 10:44

      @ nzbro... you got it wrong mate as did your coach. There's no better loosehead in NZ than Crockett at the moment. The man had a monstrous season and a not 100% Woodcock was selected in his place. With Afoa (not a specialist Loosehead) as his backup. and we all saw how he struggled this weekend. Your arguing doesn't make any sense... you say he got dropped because of the amount of penalties he concedes..? Well it couldn't have been much because I can't remember any!!! I can remember a whole lot of penalties going the way of the boks this weekend because of your scrum going backwards and imploding with Woodcock and Afoa in the boilerroom. No super15 team had an answer for Crockett this year and the AB scrum looked sollid with him upfront. Worst call that they possibly could've made. He was arguably your most valuable player after Carter and McCaw and you didn't select him, let me thank you and Bwhahahaha........ LOL!!!!!!

      PietSkiet - 2011-08-23 11:06

      @nzbro: Please explain to me how Woodcock is more dangerous than Crockett if he goes every scrum. (and that is against Jannie Du Plessis with all due respect). Face it the coaching staff just made their vital selection mistake like they have done in the 3 previous World Cups. Once again thanks Graham. LOL - 2011-08-23 12:57

      nzbro - If Richie gets blown up for every infringement, we will have enough penalties. Our boytjie Heinrich will ensure that Richie needs to be on the wrong side of the law to get any ball around the rucks.

      RandomDude - 2011-08-23 17:34

      @ Riaan , I think NZbro is exactly right . Crockett conceded 2 of the 7 NZ gave up in the game against Aus. I can't see any other reason for leaving him out. WC finals are thigh and tries are very hard to come by , penalties are key. The formula for a successful WC campaign is rock solid defense , discipline and accurate kicking. With the other Frank there and Thorn back I don't think their scrum will be a problem for them .

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 21:05

      @ RDude It doesn't matter how you slice it, its a bad call taking only one specialist loosehead to the WC and its one thats been out with injury this whole season. If his injury returns or he gets injured again they have problems. HUGE problems. Its a specialist position. If you run out of Locks you can use loosies as locks or backline players as loosies but your props cant be replaced. You cant even use a tighthead to play in the place of a looshead he won't cope and their scrum will did what it did on saturday and how many points did it cost them then. Afoa can scrum both ways but he's alot more comfartable on the tighthead side and he along with Woodcock struggled immensely saturday. They've been preparing 4 years for Henry's case 8years and he takes one loosehead. Either He got Balls the size of coconuts or he fumbled this one and I think its the latter.

  • macrini1 - 2011-08-23 10:33

    Gear should have been selected, as he offers something different to the other wingers (i.e. he has excellent finishing abilities, unfortunately hes not as sharp on the counter attack which is how the All Blacks seen to play). Word over here is he's non-travelling reserve. Sivi was also unlucky.

  • David - 2011-08-23 10:43

    Is this the NZ team or Fiji? Or Samoa?

      EJ - 2011-08-23 15:25

      is your team from The netherlands?...damn..look at those european surnames. Stop poaching I say

      macrini1 - 2011-08-23 23:24

      No Fijian descendants in that team son, just 30 Kiwis.

  • Hotti - 2011-08-23 10:44

    Brother Graham Henry, you got it so very wrong AGAIN - No Robbie Fruend, NO WYATT CROCKETT ... your problem remains at 2, 9 and should Carter be tackled by Bakkies 10! The last world cup you were unjust with Weepu, you will be punished....

      macrini1 - 2011-08-23 11:52

      Talking out your a**e NOTTI, Piri is in top form; Mealamu is in top form; and why would Carter run into Bakkes if he has already ran past him. Fruean can't tackle, Crockett isn't the AB's best. End of story you c**k.

  • wood - 2011-08-23 11:26

    Riann you cannot compare the front 3 in the Supers with the Tr Nations teams. Wyatt did great in the Supers but on lhe last two times against Australia( Oz for Christs sake) in HGK and Aukl he dropped several times .Think he might be a flat track bully in Super contests and that is why the selectors left him out. Slade- I ,think the jury is still out ,first big test,hostile atmosphere and a retreating pack ,big order for a first timer. Some nice touches but some indecision too.Curious if he will come on in Brisbane. By the by was impressed with Bokke pack but God those backs are clueless(except goal kicking) and if NZ get pinged for fwd passes in a few weeks what will they do with Fourie who is either Usain Bolt double or permanently offside.

      rockster666 - 2011-08-23 12:18

      Hes a wannabe AB thats why hes always standing offside bloody cheats

      Riaan - 2011-08-23 14:30

      @wood Agree that test level rugby is a different monster than to what you'll find in super rugby. But this weekend was the first time Crockett didn't play and they didn't even look like they stood a chance Where as before they looked to have one of the stronger scrums around, they looked like we do with John at tighthead. Well you can argue that alot of the old war horses weren't playing this weekend but McCaw doesn't add anything come scrum time, he barely binds at all, only Brad Thorn will add some significant forward momentum but he scrums behind the tight head and they will be lacking on the loosehead side. No matter how you put it, it was a dismal decision going to the worldcup with only one loosehead prop and on top of it all its one that has struggled with injury this entire season thus far. Its VERY risky atleast if not irresponsible!!! I'm afraid they dropped the ball on this one, but I'm not complaining

  • - 2011-08-23 14:05

    mmm. The Bokke can beat this side with 10 men.

      Maori - 2011-08-23 14:35

      It's a squad, not a side, your saadkop!

  • wood - 2011-08-23 18:59

    Riann 3 years ago I would have agreed with you on the advisability of taking one loosehead prop but as you know the rules have changed and set pieces are relatively few and far between. For you guys style, maximizing forward power is 95 % of your game plan whereas ours is mobility and minimising set pieces I´ll be honest though your comments have set me thinking and we are notorious at putting jack of all trades in instead of specialists. Having thought again about Crokett´s demise against Oz it has to be the right decision - pls God

  • Sheldon - 2011-08-23 21:58

    interesting to see a lot of the so called b team in the squad a lot more then the boks. quite a lot of b team players with enough test experience.

  • Ozman - 2011-08-23 22:24

    Coach under pressure.........

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