"Too many Aucklanders in it Wobbly!"
"Harsh but fair mate"
"Who do you think will be starting in the forwards DH?"
Our impressions of the squad?
We like the squad. For the first time in a number of seasons we have a forward pack that could possibly be larger than our opponents. A probable AB pack on average looks something like this:
Average Height - 1.92m
Average Weight - 113kg
First good thing about the squad is the inclusion of some form Chiefs players. They come with the right skills and some good old fashioned playing values (instilled by John Mitchell). They where probably our most consistent S12 team and so therefore deserve a decent representation.
The other most obvious fact about the squad is the good cover in most positions. Good specialists (i.e locking) and good utility players who can slot into a number of positions. (e.g Cribb, Flavell, Randell).
Also a good mixture of youth and experience as well. There are a number of youngsters whom have the potential to become absolute beasts on the international scene. Namely Carl Hayman and Chris Jack. Total monsters! With the recall of the massive Cooksley they'll have experience & a cool head (as long as he stays fit).
This is who we think the starting AB pack will be based on the training squad. (Could well change - When the Maoris embarrass the Wobblies in Sydney they may get some late inclusions into the playing squad for the tri-nations).
Hayman is going to be a legend! He's a throwback All Black. He would have fitted in well with the Lochores, Meads, Whinnerays and Wylie's of this world without too much trouble at all. No poncy dark glasses and flash cars with this boy. All he really worries about is playing rugby!
Oliver will be a great All Black captain. Enuf said!
Somerville has been the form NZ prop of the S12. Cooksley gets in because he's a big mutha! And Maxwell is just a nutter so therefore deserves his spot.
Robertson and Cribb get in by default. It would be great to have Kupu Vanisi fit, but he's too soft and couldn't hack it this season. Typical Wellingtonian! Seriously he would be in if he was fit because he could potentially match the ability of George Smith.
Here is our backline.
10. Mehrtens/Brown (see later)
14. Howlett (token Aucklander! Actually DAMN good player)
We believe Mehrts will play against the Wobblies, but Brown will play the nasty Boks. Why? Because Butch James would break wee Mehrts in half! Seriously it would be quite good to see Brown smash James. Mehrts skill is needed against the Wobblies. You need more brains playing them.
Lomu is in awesome form and will be a huge concern for anyone playing him this international season. He's fit, motivated and fresh from smashing the pasty Poms.
Cullen needs to pick up his act. He's been cruising this season.
Umaga is not a natural centre. But he is still the best choice at the moment. At least having him there gives us an extra option on the wing (i.e Howlett who starred for the hapless Aucks).
Last season one John Eales kick at the "Cake-Tin" was the difference between being Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup holders, and having f*cking nothing! This year is make or break for Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert. They need to convert close games into wins. They need to make the AB's uncompromising like old. Its harsh, but its All Black rugby reality. Perform, or you are out.
All we can say is, GO THE ALL BLACKS! WIN!!!!!!!!