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All Blacks Squad Announced

TRF Mr Fish

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Courtesy of allblacks.com

Forwards

Hookers
Dane Coles - Wellington (4)
Andrew Hore - Taranaki (74)
Keven Mealamu - Auckland (102)

Props
Ben Afeaki North Harbour
Wyatt Crockett - Canterbury (11)
Ben Franks - Hawke-s Bay (23)
Owen Franks - Canterbury (45)
Tony Woodcock - North Harbour (96)

Locks
Brodie Retallick - Bay of Plenty (13)
Luke Romano - Canterbury (11)
Jeremy Thrush - Wellington
Samuel Whitelock - Canterbury (39)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane - Bay of Plenty (5)
Steven Luatua - Auckland
Liam Messam - Waikato (20)
Kieran Read, captain - Canterbury (48)
Victor Vito - Wellington (20)

Backs

Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow - Waikato (2)
Aaron Smith - Manawatu (13)
Piri Weepu - Auckland (69)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett - Taranaki (5)
Daniel Carter - Canterbury (94)
Aaron Cruden - Manawatu (20)

Midfielders
Ma'a Nonu - Wellington (76)
Rene Ranger - Northland (3)
Francis Saili - North Harbour
Conrad Smith - Wellington (66)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg - Hawke's Bay (25)
Charles Piutau - Auckland
Julian Savea - Wellington (9)
Ben Smith - Otago (12)

Injury replacement:
Matt Todd - Canterbury
 

TRF Mr Fish

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It's a very predictable squad in the end, with the only surprise really being Matt Todd's call up as an injury replacement. It's very similar to what was predicted in the Super Rugby threads. I'm quite happy with the squad, all things considered, there's no one who I think has been overlooked severely unjustly - though the unlucky players are TJ Perenara, Brad Shields and Dominic Bird (who couldn't be selected due to injury). There are no bolters, either, with Frank Halai not selected (which I think is a good decision, see how he goes next year in Super Rugby, and if he's a force to be reckoned with once more then by all means select him).

My 23 for the first match against France (not the top team as such, just the first one to play) would be:
1 Woodcock
2 Mealamu
3 Franks
4 Romano
5 Retalick
6 Messam
7 Cane
8 Read (c)
9 Smith
10 Carter
11 Savea
12 Nonu
13 Smith
14 Smith
15 Dagg (I'd probably have Smith and Dagg swapped round, but I have a feeling the selectors will opt for what I've listed here)
16 Coles
17 Franks
18 Afeaki
19 Luatua
20 Vito
21 Kerr-Barlow
22 Cruden
23 Piutau

The selectors can mix it up a bit from there, but I think it's best to at least start with settled combinations. I'd like to see Coles and Kerr-Barlow maybe get starts in this series, though I wouldn't oppose them being on the bench for all three games with the other incumbents swapping starting position each week. Luatua will get a game at six, I'd hope, and Vito will probably be the bench loose forward in all matches. I still don't see any point in playing Thrush - he's just a stop gap, in my opinion. Luatua and Vito can both cover the lock spot, if need be. I hope Afeaki will get a start - being the only other tighthead in the squad I'd be surprised if he didn't. The same goes for Saili. Cruden deserves a game at 10, with perhaps Carter or Nonu outside him. Maybe give Saili a go in the third test with Carter and Smith on either side of him. Piutau may get a start on the wing. Ranger and Barrett may not be so lucky, hard to say at this point in time though. I'm anticipating at least two more injuries soon ;)
 

nickdnz

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Gutted for TJ Peranara - no way I think he should have missed out..
 

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Yeah sad for TJ, probably been the best scrumhalf form wise this year. Have they not picked Gear because he is going to France next year? If so I thought Ranger was also or has he decided against it?
 

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Agree again about Peranara missing out... maybe he'll get a proper look in in the End of Year Tour? Happy to see Jeremy Thrush getting a look in, but I suspect it might be more because of others dropping around him then anything, unfortunately.
 

TRF Mr Fish

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Yeah sad for TJ, probably been the best scrumhalf form wise this year. Have they not picked Gear because he is going to France next year? If so I thought Ranger was also or has he decided against it?

I think it's a combination of Gear going overseas and also not really being on form.

Perenara will get his chance, presumably at the expense of Weepu on the end of year tour.
 

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I've noticed the all black coaches like wingers that can kick and catch like fullbacks, thats probably why Gear has missed out so many times. I won't be surprised if they use Piutau as a winger
 
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tenpm

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Yeah sad for TJ, probably been the best scrumhalf form wise this year. Have they not picked Gear because he is going to France next year? If so I thought Ranger was also or has he decided against it?

Ranger has signed with Montpellier, but he's looking at a payout to get out of the contract right now.
 

smartcooky

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I've noticed the all black coaches like wingers that can kick and catch like fullbacks, thats probably why Gear has missed out so many times. I won't be surprised if they use Piutau as a winger


Or.... they could use....wait for it, wait for it...........


BEN SMITH!!!
 

TRF Mr Fish

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So it looks like Carter may be out of the first test with a little trouble in his hand. While it sucks for Carter (and NZ), it's always nice when Cruden is given another game. Funnily enough Cruden probably has the best synergy with the halfbacks in the squad, having played at the Hurricanes with Weepu, at the Chiefs with Kerr-Barlow, and with Smith for Manawatu.
 

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No McCaw. You guys are fuked.
 

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they will miss his dirty....ahem sorry, gritty play a lot that's for sure...
 

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my problem is on 12... Nonu is misfiring... have anyone seen Tim Na-nai play 12 yet :? he remind me so much of Pita Alitini... isn't saili an outside centre as well :? any updates on weepu's injury :? they might bring TJ in now :? who is going to replace carter :?
 

TRF Mr Fish

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Nonu will be fine, I'm not in the slightest worried - Saili is a 12, not a 13, also.
 

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Ben Smith should be your 15, your captain and the next president of NZ - he has it all
 

nickdnz

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Interesting with no McCaw and no Carter. Last time I remember that being the case against the French was in 2009...

On a positive note however - I think Cruden is a very good replacement. Look forward to this!
 

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my problem is on 12... Nonu is misfiring... have anyone seen Tim Na-nai play 12 yet :? he remind me so much of Pita Alitini... isn't saili an outside centre as well :? any updates on weepu's injury :? they might bring TJ in now :? who is going to replace carter :?
I like your sig about Naas. Unfortunately its not true
 
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