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All Blacks 2019 RWC squad

Larksea

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All Blacks 2019 RWC squad

Hookers
Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Codie Taylor

Props
Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tuungafasi

Locks
Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock

Loose forwards
Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Matt Todd

Halfbacks
TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams

Outside backs
Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, Ben Smith

Notable omissions: Owen Franks, Liam Squire, Ngani Laumape

Obviously Owen Franks is a huge call, he has more test caps than all the other props combined. Owen has always been seen as a specialist scrummager and defender around the rucks. He's never been able to develop his ball carrying which has been an anomaly in NZ as I believe NZ pioneered Props that can link, carry and distribute when needed Franks always bucked that trend and seemed to remain old school. I think it could be argued that his ability at scrum time is no longer so much better than the other options we have to lose out on the extra mobility and ball carrying skills guys like Angus and Ofa bring. I'd also say that in recent years when Laulala has been injury free he's been easily the equal of Franks at scrum time. The selection also confirms the remarkable rise of Ta'avao who gave up on his AB dream and went to Aussie to try and make the wallabies, failed in that bid and was lucky to get a spot back in NZ to try and save his career, maybe thanks to karl tu'inukuafe who moved from the Chiefs to the Blues.

Also spare a thought for karl tu'inukuafe who looked like he had become an All Black mainstay with an inspirational story behind his rise in Rugby but he's just struggled to capture that same this year form.

Good to see Moli back the options were light on the loosehead side, he has a ton of ability and looked good for the chiefs on his return from a horrific injury.

Locks were fairly predictable, last WC we went with 3 but with Retalick currently injured and too important to leave out 4 have been selected with Tuipulotu being the obvious benefactor.

That leaves room for just 5 lose forwards 3 of which are specialist open side flankers. I like it I honestly could not leave Todd out the guy would start for any other test side in the world. Tough as nails, stops everything that comes at him and carries hard. This guy could have left NZ long ago after constantly being stuck behind McCaw and Cane what a legend hard for a chiefs supporter to admit, He's absolute class.

Luke Jacobson is a massive call, I would have selected him but I didn't think the selectors would. His stats in super rugby made him the superior option but he had some concussion symptoms which limited his playtime during TRC. Just came back with a big game for Waikato and that was likely enough to see him pip Fifita.

Brad Weber confirmed.

Only 2 first fives and its likely both will be on the park at the same time. Looking for inside the squad for cover at 10 and you find Jordie Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty who apparently played 10 in lower grades. of them the only genuine test goal kicker is Jordie. In an idea world we would only be in a situation to use these options in easier pool games where Bauden and Richie may be rested. Josh Ioane will be on call, also wonder if he will still start against Tonga to give him some more experience in the event he is called in as injury cover later.

Midfield is predictable with Laumape missing out but he needs to stay ready he's the obvious call up and SBW/Crotty have had injury issues the last couple of seasons.

with only 2 first fives selected that means they avoid having to make a huge call at the back with all 5 outside back options picked. The obvious knock on for that is Jordie Barrett and Ben Smith may have to cover 10 in a pinch.
I like this squad, I've been saying for a while now that NZ's best chance at this WC is to be bold on selection and push the evolution of the side. Don't be afraid and get locked into established selections because its WC year.

With Bridge, Sevu, Weber, Jacobson, Ta'avao, Moli, Richie we have bold selections of world class talent that will still be a bit of a mystery for many of our traditional WC Rivals.
 
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Radsy

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Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke! IF (big if) he can keep his head healthy, he'll offer more than Squire could.

Franks is omitted for the same reasons as Tuinukuafe. Not a ballcarrier and a step slower to rucks and on defense.

Squire can only blame himself for trying to back his way in.
 

Larksea

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Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke! IF (big if) he can keep his head healthy, he'll offer more than Squire could.

Franks is omitted for the same reasons as Tuinukuafe. Not a ballcarrier and a step slower to rucks and on defense.

Squire can only blame himself for trying to back his way in.
I dunno, Ive seen Tuinukuafe make some really solid carries, made some good ones for the AB's last year. looking at his stats he's easily a better carrier than Franks and has even been credited with 5 try assists this year for the blues and beaten 7 defenders.
Not hard though Owens ball carrying stats are basically non existant, he can go whole seasons and not beat a defender, actually looking at the stats he has not beaten a defender in his last 6 seasons for the crusaders.
 

Radsy

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I dunno, Ive seen Tuinukuafe make some really solid carries, mae some good ones for the AB's last year. looking at his stats he's easily a better carrier than Franks and has even been credited with 5 try assists this year for the blues and beaten 7 defenders.
Not hard though Owens ball carrying stats are basically non existant, he can go whole seasons and not beat a defender, actually looking at the stats he has not beaten a defender in his last 6 seasons for the crusaders.
That's actually a wild stat about Franks. Karl always seemed to run decently well but didn't want to carry. Every time I watched the Blues this year he was a replacement, so I'm surprised he had the impact that the stats say he did. Where do you find these stats?
 

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gutted for Squire, i had a lot or respect for stepping aside while he didn't think he could give it 100%, you know what they say, sometimes it harder to get out of the AB's than into it

two first fives is a big call...when we look at the in squad cover...none are really a proper replacement other than any other first class rugby playing back, i don't think playing at a lower level really counts for much
 

Larksea

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gutted for Squire, i had a lot or respect for stepping aside while he didn't think he could give it 100%, you know what they say, sometimes it harder to get out of the AB's than into it

two first fives is a big call...when we look at the in squad cover...none are really a proper replacement other than any other first class rugby playing back, i don't think playing at a lower level really counts for much
yip sounds like Squire was a coin toss, I think I would have picked him up. But it does seem like the selectors have been very impressed with Jacobson while he has been in the squad and he did just have a big game for Waikato. It's very likely that sealed the deal.

Depth at 10 is an area of weakness IMO, behind Richie and Barrett we have a lot of very young very talented guys in their first couple of super rugby seasons with lots of potential but lacking the polish needed for test footy. I would play Josh Ioane against Tonga to give him some more experience and time with the squad in case he is needed for injury cover.
 

Jabby

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yeah, i think i would rather than someone inexperienced but playing in a position they know so the bread and butter come naturally than play someone out of position
 

Icemn

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Since we only picked 2 flyhalves...

Can we make the assumption that only 1 would start per game?

The risk of injuries are greater if both are on the field at the same time.

Hell what if both get injured in the same game...
 

Larksea

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That's actually a wild stat about Franks. Karl always seemed to run decently well but didn't want to carry. Every time I watched the Blues this year he was a replacement, so I'm surprised he had the impact that the stats say he did. Where do you find these stats?
rugbypass
franks running game never developed, he's never been able to run onto a ball. the extent of him as a carrier has been catching the ball flat footed and taking one to three steps with the ball before the defense hits him and he goes to ground. The crazy thing is he's never even developed a driving pick 'n go game either. Which is the reason he never scores tries.
Funny I remember an impromptu interview he did in an elevator when the AB's were on tour in Europe years ago and the interviewer caught him carrying a rugby skills book on how to develop a running game. It's obviously something he has worked on, or tried to work on.
I think its been overlooked for so long because tight head is such a critical position in the scrum and we generally never had a weakness at scrum time when he was there for years. Plus he always stopped ball carriers on the advantage line with his defense. But he hasn't had as much rugby this year, looking at his stats his tackle defense is down a bit.

I think another critical thing we dont have access too is that the selectors and trainers put the players through strength and fitness tests as well to enable them to compare the players, give them "work ons" and also see where they are tracking to where they normally are. I bet his numbers are down from where he normally is at his best and that has also been a factor in his non-selection. I'd also wager someone like Ben Smith is on the right path in terms of his numbers which would have helped him keep his spot.
 

Radsy

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Frank’s decision to use stem cell therapy showed impressive dedication in his attempt to be fully fit for the rugby championship. However, there’s no way his shoulder is fully healed and back to strength. It was a valiant effort.
 

Jabby

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Since we only picked 2 flyhalves...

Can we make the assumption that only 1 would start per game?

The risk of injuries are greater if both are on the field at the same time.

Hell what if both get injured in the same game...
Thats a good point, a lot of what ive ready suggested the 10.Richie 15.Beauden thing was locked in as the way forward but even forgetting injuries that means both your first fives are playing most games, fatigue could be a real issue come the business end...maybe hansen was just locking in his back up plan and we will see a more conventional 15.smith/jordie and 10.richie/beauden as first choice
 

donmcdazzle

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I would've taken Laumape. Goodhue, Crotty and to a lesser extent ALB are quite steady players but not really game breakers like Laumape is - he offers something a bit different to the rest (even SBW) and has a real nose for scoring tries. I reckon opposition teams would rather mark up against Crotty coming back from injury than a fit and firing Laumape.

Would also have taken Squire - dynamic on attack and defense and is big and strong. I'd be starting Squire, Savea and Read then have Cane/Todd on the bench. Squire is way better on attack than Cane, who has pretty ordinary ball skills and doesn't get many breakdown turnovers anyway. I sense a bit of redundancy between Cane and Todd so don't know why we needed to take them both, just replace one with the other if they got injured.
 

Radsy

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Thats a good point, a lot of what ive ready suggested the 10.Richie 15.Beauden thing was locked in as the way forward but even forgetting injuries that means both your first fives are playing most games, fatigue could be a real issue come the business end...maybe hansen was just locking in his back up plan and we will see a more conventional 15.smith/jordie and 10.richie/beauden as first choice
It definitely makes things interesting. I would imagine that in the games v Namibia and Canada, you use the opportunity to only play one of either Mo'unga or Barrett. I'd be contemplating resting both in those matches and letting Jordie or Crotty run the cutter.
 

donmcdazzle

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Thats a good point, a lot of what ive ready suggested the 10.Richie 15.Beauden thing was locked in as the way forward but even forgetting injuries that means both your first fives are playing most games, fatigue could be a real issue come the business end...maybe hansen was just locking in his back up plan and we will see a more conventional 15.smith/jordie and 10.richie/beauden as first choice
You'd have to think we are locked into Mo'unga at 10 and Barrett at 15 now surely.. we only need that combo for (best case scenario) four games; SA, quarter, semi, final. Let Jordie play at 10 and Smith play 15 against the minnows and Italy if we need to rest the others.
 

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...just feels weird, have we ever played someone in a key role like 10 out of position before in such important games, yes these may be "minows" but we're still talking about first class rugby players with nothing to loose in a comp where we're already having to play someone as string as RSA in the pool....dont really have the luxury to drop a game
 

donmcdazzle

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...just feels weird, have we ever played someone in a key role like 10 out of position before in such important games, yes these may be "minows" but we're still talking about first class rugby players with nothing to loose in a comp where we're already having to play someone as string as RSA in the pool....dont really have the luxury to drop a game
Yeah agreed it is strange to have 2 first fives but really only 1 (as the other is a first string starter). I reckon one of them may start against Italy, they're probably too good to have Jordie at 10 against. I could play 10 against Namibia and Canada and we would still win comfortably so not worried about those two.
 

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I would've taken Laumape. Goodhue, Crotty and to a lesser extent ALB are quite steady players but not really game breakers like Laumape is - he offers something a bit different to the rest (even SBW) and has a real nose for scoring tries. I reckon opposition teams would rather mark up against Crotty coming back from injury than a fit and firing Laumape.

Would also have taken Squire - dynamic on attack and defense and is big and strong. I'd be starting Squire, Savea and Read then have Cane/Todd on the bench. Squire is way better on attack than Cane, who has pretty ordinary ball skills and doesn't get many breakdown turnovers anyway. I sense a bit of redundancy between Cane and Todd so don't know why we needed to take them both, just replace one with the other if they got injured.
Cane's been getting a lot of turnovers this year, he's getting more per minute played than Savea and he's been getting them at critical times as well.
rugbypass for example has cane with 6 turnovers from 5 games Savea 10 from 16 games, Savea obviously played a lot more with Cane coming back late from his neck injury. Stats from other sites show a similar story with numbers being different depending on the criteria of what they class as a turnover. when super rugby ended I calculated using stats from a couple of different sites that Cane was getting turnovers at almost double the rate of Savea when calculating by per minute played. Savea is an amazing carrier but he almost always dies with the ball where Cane is more of a link carrier than Savea or squire and does a very good job a with it. of them all Cane is the best advantage line defender which IMO is the primary role of a 7

laumape scores tries but like Savea he often dies with the ball, his distribution game is lacking, in super Rugby ALB is getting more than double the try assists per minute played compared to laumape which came from leading the comp for midfield offloads by a lot. Alb has had an amazing season, the guy missed 1 tackle in the 4 tests he played this year. he excelled in every aspect of the game. Most midfielders average about 1 pass per run the better distributors more. Laumape is averaging closer to half a pass per run. Laumape as an individuel scores more tries but the stats suggest that a team ALB is in will score more tries. Alb is also making significantly more tackles per minute at a much higher accuracy(91%) compared to Laumape(82%). Fun stat - ALB beat more defenders than Laumape this super rugby season. That would prob surprise a few.

Crotty's stats are excellent all round. Crazy thing he's almost the opposite of Laumape in terms of he almost never scores tries, only one for the crusaders this year but its pretty well known that the crusaders outside backs have been running them in like crazy and its fair to say Crotty is a part of that equation.

Bit off topic but IMO the way Laumape plays and the skills he has he's almost better suited to playing on the wing. obviously without knowing his high ball skills his body type doesn't convert well to that area. Also speculation but Laumape though being build like a tank he is pretty small. I think against the bigger teams we are going to hit when the WC gets interesting his style may not be as effective as the likes of ALB/Goodhue. I look at a similar player in Tuilagi his power game does convert well into big games. i'd give Laumape an edge in speed but Tuilagi has a good 15-18KG on Laumape. Its harder to get that style to convert to the top end of test footy. And that ~10% he's missing from his defense is even more important.

I'm going to say it again though, I think the odds Laumape plays in this WC are still good. Look at all the series and tours from the last few years Laumape is hardly ever an initial pick but gets a shot after an injury.
 
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donmcdazzle

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Cane's been getting a lot of turnovers this year, he's getting more per minute played than Savea and he's been getting them at critical times as well.
rugbypass for example has cane with 6 turnovers from 5 games Savea 10 from 16 games, Savea obviously played a lot more with Cane coming back late from his neck injury. Stats from other sites show a similar story with numbers being different depending on the criteria of what they class as a turnover. when super rugby ended I calculated using stats from a couple of different sites that Cane was getting turnovers at almost double the rate of Savea when calculating by per minute played. Savea is an amazing carrier but he almost always dies with the ball where Cane is more of a link carrier than Savea or squire and does a very good job a with it. of them all Cane is the best advantage line defender which IMO is the primary role of a 7

laumape scores tries but like Savea he often dies with the ball, his distribution game is lacking, in super Rugby ALB is getting more than double the try assists per minute played compared to laumape which came from leading the comp for midfield offloads by a lot. Alb has had an amazing season, the guy missed 1 tackle in the 4 tests he played this year. he excelled in every aspect of the game. Most midfielders average about 1 pass per run the better distributors more. Laumape is averaging closer to half a pass per run. Laumape as an individuel scores more tries but the stats suggest that a team ALB is in will score more tries. Alb is also making significantly more more tackles per minute at a much higher accuracy(91%) compared to Laumape(82%). Fun stat - ALB beat more defenders than Laumape this super rugby season. That would prob surprise a few.

Crotty's stats are excellent all round. Crazy thing he's almost the opposite of Laumape in terms of he almost never scores tries, only one for the crusaders this year but its pretty well known that the crusaders outside backs have been running them in like crazy and its fair to say Crotty is a part of that equation.

Bit off topic but IMO the way Laumape plays and the skills he has he's almost better suited to playing on the wing. obviously without knowing his high ball skills his body type doesn't convert well to that area. Also speculation but Laumape though being build like a tank he is pretty small. I think against the bigger teams we are going to hit when the WC gets interesting his style may not be as effective as the likes of ALB/Goodhue. And that ~10% he's missing from his defense is even more important.

I'm going to say it again though, I think the odds Laumape plays in this WC are still good. Look at all the series and tours from the last few years Laumape is hardly ever an initial pick but gets a shot after an injury.
Great post there Larksea.

I agree with your point (and the stats) on Cane being more effective with turnovers than Savea, but prefer the rest of what Savea brings compared to Cane. Cane is a pretty ineffective on attack really, especially running onto the ball he has a tendency to knock on. How did Todd fare against Cane on the turnover front? I see those two as pretty interchangeable - stats may prove me wrong!

I didn't have the perception Cane was a particularly powerful defender either - accurate and extremely busy for sure, but didn't think he was super dominant. In saying all of that, he is a very good 7, we just have a funny mix and the conundrum of our form player in the country (Savea) not really fitting a specific position.

Yup agree on ALB as well, that's why I said to a lesser extent than Crotty and Goodhue. He had an amazing Super season and has looked great in tests this year. I love his workrate as well, seems to be all over the field on both sides. I guess what I mean about Laumape is he beats players in a different way to someone like ALB. Less about spinning out of tackles etc and more about just smashing through (although has tidy footwork and good pace himself). Given I expect defences to tighten up in the world cup, I'd like the option to have a powerhouse out there. Laumape was excellent in the Lions series remember, was a pretty effective tool against the rush defence, I was frustrated we weren't giving him more ball.

Suspect you're right though, someone is likely to fall over so he might play a role in any case.

Who do you think is our starting midfield? SBW and which of the others?
 

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gutted for Squire, i had a lot or respect for stepping aside while he didn't think he could give it 100%, you know what they say, sometimes it harder to get out of the AB's than into it

two first fives is a big call...when we look at the in squad cover...none are really a proper replacement other than any other first class rugby playing back, i don't think playing at a lower level really counts for much
Squire is available as replacement and you remember what happened in the last RWC with Moody replacing Woodcock?
 
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