4 Jun

Export Yourselves
by Tony Elson
4 Jun 2008

Seems like Rat(ttue) has really stirred it up – supported by a lot of crap that is mostly (not all) coming out of the Canterbury region.

I think it is an
absolute disgrace that people won’t support the AB’s because Henry is in
charge.

What short bloody memories. Already people are just itching
for the Irish to win against a team with a week to prepare with a whole bunch of
new players in the squad. It is embarrassing and disgusting. Some
people have no shame, and definitely no class. What do the expect to happen
if Henry and Co get the sack? Replace that coaching team with the likes
of Foster and Colin Cooper? Deans ain’t coming back soon
unless he gets the boot!

I hope it is Deans
who completely falls on his arse – not because he has left NZ, but because he is
coaching our mortal enemies on the rugby pitch. I hope he fails miserably
because Australia has had too much influence in our rugby – and world rugby for
too long (for good reasons – like winning the WC twice, and bad for trying to
bend the rules to mitigate their suspect levels of depth in their
resources).

I hope he fails miserably because I hate Australia, and I love
the AB’s – that is it. I don’t wish him well from a professional point of
view because I like to see them lose. I probably wouldn’t feel the same if
he coached SA or Wales, or even England. We usually beat
them!

So, Henry…good
luck. You’re going to need it because one serious slip and they will be
baying for your blood. The pressure is really on these guys – but that is
what they get paid for. I hope they aren’t run out of the game by the
likes of the complete non-NZer’s at the Auckland Herald (the Rat) and those
utter disgraces who support Deans at all costs.

Maybe Chch should be
excluded from future AB tests until the residents can prove their NZ
citizenship! The real AB fans from the home of the Red Necks must be
cringing in their beer with shame and embarrassment. In fact, all of us
should be.

Loathe to promote Dominion Breweries, but I’ll pinch a quote
from them….”export yourselves”.

1 Jun

All Blacks Squad for Iveco Series & Phillips Tri Nations
by Tracey Nelson
1 Jun 2008

There are six new caps in the 26-man squad named this morning in Christchurch. They are Anthony Boric, Anthony Tuitavake, Rudi Wulf (all North Harbour), Stephen Donald and Richard Kahui (both Waikato) and Adam Thompson (Otago).

When asked if this was a new era for the All Blacks, coach Graham Henry replied "Possibly. We started the Super 14 with a clean sheet, and we’ve named probably half the side that went to the Rugby World Cup along with six new caps. We wanted to make sure that the guys are keen and on a full tank of petrol for next week (the test against Ireland in Wellington). It will take time for the new boys to bed into the team – our biggest challenge is how to handle this group. We have some players who have had no games for three weeks, and others coming off a Final".

Further to the mix that has been selected, he went on to say "We don’t believe in setting a game-plan and then finding the players to fit it. The game-plan is always evolving, so we pick the best players and continually adapt the game-plan".

One notable omission from the squad is been Crusaders’ form blind-side flanker Kieran Read, who yet again had a storming game in the Super 14 Final. The selectors noted that he has had a big workload over the Super 14 and that they felt he needed a break but is very much in contention and all being equal will be on the end of year tour. They have preferred Jerome Kaino and Adam Thompson in the blindside role, although they also see Rodney So’oialo as more than capable of filling the blindside role.

When questioned about cover for McCaw, Wayne Smith confirmed that So’oialo would fill that role but should there be an injury to McCaw they would look outside the squad for a specialist replacement. That would appear to be Daniel Braid at this stage, given his inclusion in the All Blacks’ wider training squad.

Commenting on what Brad Thorn will bring to the side, Henry said "He has played superbly and had an outstanding Super 14. He compliments Ali (Williams) and has a great attitude. He has respect as a player amongst his team mates. He is a great ball carrier, and he loves to scrum which is a very rare thing in these modern days".

On Sione Lauaki, the selectors commented that he had been very good at the Rugby World Cup up until his suspension (that was ultimately overturned on appeal), and is a good team member and a bit of a leader. They had noted he had been outstanding for the Chiefs in the big games this year, and his attitude is good. The job now is to keep that attitude going.

Ma’a Nonu is the only specialist 2nd 5 named, with Stephen Brett not included. The selectors commented that playing in a dominant side does give more opportunities when you have a good forward pack to play behind. They confirmed that Brett is still in the wider picture and is likely to be an All Black in the future. When questioned about Nonu, Henry said they felt he had "grown his game" this season and his passing game to this outsides was "possibly the best in the competition", and he had made the most busts in the midfield. Stephen Donald, while picked as a 1st 5, is considered capable of covering 2nd 5 as is centre Richard Kahui.

Regarding the wingers, they feel that Rudi Wulf is "possibly the best and certainly the bravest player under the high ball. He has hunger and drive". He will play on the left wing as that is where he feels most comfortable. Sitiveni Sivivatu is comfortable on both sides of the field and has also had time at fullback with the Chiefs, so they are confident he can play in the 14 jersey.

Two of the players named in the squad are carrying injuries that will rule them out of selection for the test against Ireland next weekend. Prop Tony Woodcock has an injured toe and halfback Brendon Leonard is suffering from a bruised knee. John Schwalger (Wellington) and Jimmy Cowan (Southland) will assemble with the squad in Wellington later this afternoon to cover them.

The full squad is:

Props: John Afoa, Greg Somerville, Neemia Tialata, Tony Woodcock

Hookers: Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu

Locks: Anthony Boric, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams

Loose fowards: Jerome Kaino, Sione Lauaki, Richie McCaw (c), Rodney So’oialo, Adam Thompson

Halfbacks: Andrew Ellis, Brendon Leonard

First five: Dan Carter, Stephen Donald

Second five: Ma’a Nonu

Centres: Richard Kahui, Conrad Smith

Wingers: Sitiveni Sivivatu, Anthony Tuitavake, Rudi Wulf

Fullbacks: Leon MacDonald, Mils Muliaina

The Iveco series starts on June 7th with the test against Ireland (Wellington) followed by two tests against England on June 14 (Auckland) and June 21 (Christchurch).