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New Zealand squad


Hall of Fame Member
Team named today:



Corey Flynn Canterbury (14)
Andrew Hore Taranaki (54)
Keven Mealamu Auckland (85)

John Afoa Auckland (33)
Ben Franks Tasman (11)
Owen Franks Canterbury (23)
Tony Woodcock North Harbour (75)

Anthony Boric North Harbour (20)
Brad Thorn Canterbury (51)
Samuel Whitelock Canterbury (17)
Ali Williams Auckland (65)

Loose forwards
Jerome Kaino Auckland (41)
Richie McCaw (capt) Canterbury (97)
Kieran Read Canterbury (31)
Adam Thomson Otago (21)
Victor Vito Wellington (7)


Jimmy Cowan Southland (47)
Andy Ellis Canterbury (20)
Piri Weepu Wellington (48)

First five–eighths
Daniel Carter Canterbury (82)
Colin Slade Canterbury (5)

Richard Kahui Waikato (12)
Ma’a Nonu Wellington (58)
Conrad Smith Wellington (48)
Sonny Bill Williams Canterbury (7)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg Hawke’s Bay (7)
Zac Guildford Hawke’s Bay (6)
Cory Jane Wellington (24)
Mils Muliaina Waikato (97)
Isaia Toeava Auckland (31)

The squad, which will be captained by 30-year-old All Blacks captain Richie McCaw at his third Rugby World Cup, is made up of 16 forwards and 14 backs, and with 1,133 Test caps between them, is the most experienced All Blacks squad ever assembled.

Five of the team’s leading players, McCaw, first five-eighth Daniel Carter, hooker Keven Mealamu, fullback Mils Muliaina and lock Ali Williams, will be taking part in their third consecutive Rugby World Cup tournament, while seven will be playing in their second tournament - hooker Corey Flynn, midfielder Ma'a Nonu and lock Brad Thorn played in the 2003 campaign; while prop Tony Woodcock, halfback Andy Ellis, centre Conrad Smith and outside back Isaia Toeava played in Rugby World Cup 2007.

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said: "Firstly, I would like to congratulate all those players selected. It's an incredibly exciting time for the team and a unique opportunity to represent New Zealand at home. The players will be facing the ultimate rugby challenge - playing for the most coveted trophy in world rugby, the Rugby World Cup.

"At the same time I want to pay tribute to those players who have missed out on selection. It was an incredibly difficult process; all the players who missed selection are not only outstanding players but special people. We are close as a group which made this selection all the more difficult."

2011 All Blacks who have missed selection include wings Hosea Gear, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Ben Smith, loose forward Liam Messam, prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Jarrad Hoeata. Henry said they would be included in a pool of back–up players to cover for any injuries during the tournament.

Commenting on the make-up of the squad, Henry said: "Generally, this team has been selected on current form. We believe there is a good balance; 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.

"There is also a balance in the fact that we have players who are specialists in their position while others have utility value and can cover a number of positions, so we have the players to cover any possibilities which may be thrown up during the tournament."

One other feature of the squad is the selection of Blues and North Harbour lock Anthony Boric, who was not considered for All Blacks selection earlier this year after suffering a foot injury during the Super Rugby Finals Series. Boric returns to rugby this week in North Harbour’s provincial rugby match against Wellington.

Henry said the All Blacks squad was excited to be playing in front of their home fans.

"We have been receiving fantastic support from New Zealanders, we know the country is getting excited by what lies ahead - there is a real buzz around - and the players are really looking forward to soaking up the off-field atmosphere with our home fans.”

The All Blacks squad is currently in Brisbane preparing for the final match of the Tri Nations against Australia at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday.

The squad in Brisbane is as follows:

Forwards: John Afoa, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Brad Thorn, Adam Thomson, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock and Victor Vito.

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

Props: largely pick themselves. The Franks brothers were morals, and I'm guessing they believe they can get Woodcock up to speed more easily than trying to fix Crockett's technical errors. Afoa is the only real specialist tighthead floating around behind O. Franks.

Locks: Bit of a risk bringing in Boric considering he hasn't played any footy for about three months. Williams needs to get his head stuck into a LOT more rucks and stop playing so loose. Whitelock and Thorn logical others. I do hope a lot of work is going to go into lineouts and restarts between now and September 9.

Loosies: Messam the hard-luck story, but I've never rated the guy anyway, so I don't mind seeing Vito there who can provide a lot more physicality.

Halfbacks: As expected. Cowan will start the big games with Weepu off the bench.

First-fives: They were never going to ditch Slade at this late stage, and I expect him to go a lot better behind a pack going forward, or at least maintaining parity.

Centres: As expected

Outside backs: The most hotly-contested area. Jane was getting the nod after his improved performance, Dagg proved he is a class act and will only get better with game time (and he provides genuine speed); the genuine speed factor and work rate of Guildford got him the nod over Gear, who tends to loiter on his wing and Sivivatu who just seems to pick up injury after injury and often gives the impression he's a bit lazy.

Either way, I'm pretty happy.


Hall of Fame Member
Unconvinced by Corey Flynn and Zac Guildford over recent times, but other than that, no real complaints. Ali Williams, Boric and Kahui all need to show they're over injury problems.


Cricketer Of The Year
Didn't pick Guildford's selection as I still had it in my mind that Sivivatu would be selected, and I also thought Gear might get the nod over Jane (though am pleased to see Jane in the squad). Otherwise the squad is as I thought, including Vito's selection. Personally I think its worth the risk taking Boric, Woodcock and Kahui. Slade might've had an average outing against South Africa but I think it would've been foolish to drop him now - in my view theres no guarantee that Cruden would be a better option for the WC.


Cricketer Of The Year
I look forward to Slade replicating his hero Quade Cooper by flinging the ball back into the ingoal to no one. Because that's how international 10s roll.
Sure do! They also cross kick in-goal, flick pass on the tryline, throw match winning cut-out passes, punish All Black Captains indiscretions at the ruck, kick goals, make breaks, do backflips, miss tackles, counter attack brilliantly and be a general all round ****. Oh and win Super Rugby titles. Whilst also sparking some interest for the game.


Hall of Fame Member
Gear is better than Guildford...

I would prefer Dagg on the wing for the SA game to diffuse the million bombs that are going to come down.

Lastly I hope that Slade starts against Aussie - his confidence was damaged on the weekend. He needs to bounce back.


Cricketer Of The Year
I guess it begs the questions as to why Gear played ahead of Guildford against South Africa on the weekend then. Why not even name Guildford in the 22 if he was going to make the WC squad, with a non-WC selection, Gear, playing in his position? Ditto for Liam Messam ahead of Victor Vito. Is it possible those two players essentially played themselves out of WC contention with their performances?


Hall of Fame Member
I guess they didn't make up their minds until after the SA game. Yep Gear and Messam didn't do enough. I remember thinking after the game that I must look up Messam's stats -(size) because he seemed small out there.

TT Boy

Hall of Fame Member
Tough on the Gear family…Rico was very unlucky to miss out in 2007 and Hosea likewise here. Presumably Hosea will follow Rico’s example and go overseas now.


Cricket Web Owner
Just seen the All Blacks starting line-up.

Have to trust in Henry I suppose, but what has he done to the backline! Far out....

Obviously not listening to the bulk of the rugby public calling for the top team to play every game.
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Not Terrible
Just seen the All Blacks starting line-up.

Have to trust in Henry I suppose, but what has he done to the backline! Far out....

Obviously not listening to the bulk of the rugby public calling for the top team to play every game.
Honestly our pool provides no genuinely challenging team besides France.

Tonga is ranked 12th in the world, Japan 13th, Canada 14th. We've ended up with a ridiculously easy draw. They aren't the worst teams in the tournament but none of them are going to challenge.

South Africa and England face much harder pools.


Cricketer Of The Year
The side for those who haven't yet seen it:
Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Victor Vito, Jimmy Cowan, Daniel Carter, Isaia Toeava, Sonny Bill Williams, Ma’a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Israel Dagg.
Reserves: Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Anthony Boric, Sam Whitelock, Piri Weepu, Colin Slade, Cory Jane

I'm pretty pleased about that starting XV; its not the full-strength line-up but close enough to it to build combinations. Forward pack essentially picks itself (besides Mealamu). The backline certainly raises some talking points but I'm happy to see Toeava get a start, think Kahui is actually a good performer on the wing, and the inclusion of SBW to face Tonga at least is a reasonably wise move. Also pleasing to see Dagg selected; most are tipping for him to have a major influence in the World Cup - myself include - and thats promising that hes been given a start and presumably full game at fullback.


Cricketer Of The Year
Obviously not listening to the bulk of the rugby public calling for the top team to play every game.
That'll be the same public that'll turn that around if the "top team" is fatigued in a semi-final or final defeat...we have a squad of 30 and so long as the changes aren't ridiculous between pool matches, I think rotation of the squad is crucial. Besides, we already go into the tournament with two injured players in the squad, plus Boric and Woodcock coming off recent injuries, so the amount of rotation particularly amongst the forwards is going to be minimal.