28 May

Haka's possible All Black squad
by Tracey Nelson
28 May 2010

This weekend the All Black selectors will name their 26-man squad for the upcoming June tests against Ireland (New Plymouth) and Wales (Dunedin and Hamilton). The field is wide open this year with a raft of injuries leaving the way clear for some new caps and bolters.

With a likely split of 14 forwards and 12 backs, this is what the team at Haka have come up with as a likely All Black squad.

Props: Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Neemia Tialata

Hookers: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa

Locks: Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Tom Donnelly

Loosies: Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito

Halfback: Jimmy Cowan, Alby Mathewson

1st 5: Dan Carter, Stephen Donald

Centres: Benson Stanley, Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister

Wingers: Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear, Rudi Wulf

Fullbacks: Cory Jane, Israel Dagg

Not considered due to injury:
Mike Delany, Corey Flynn, Jason Eaton, Andrew Hore, Richard Kahui, Lelia Masaga, Mils Muliaina, Ma’a Nonu, Isaia Toeava, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ali Williams.

Possible bolters: Kahn Fotuali’i, Jason Rutledge

We’ve gone for five props and one hooker, with John Afoa to cover both positions off the bench. Adam Thomson will provide openside flanker cover. Alby Mathewson gets the nod ahead of last year’s end of tour halfbacks Brendon Leonard and Andy Ellis. We’ve named Stephen Donald subject to fitness, and he will provide cover for 1st and 2nd 5. Benson Stanley is our choice to start at 2nd 5 with Conrad Smith at centre, Luke McAlister to cover the midfield.

We’ve picked three wingers who encompass finishing skills, good workrate and ability under the high ball at night, which means Joe Rokocoko misses out despite his good form in the latter stages of the Super 14. With Mils Muliaina in doubt due to his calf injury we’ve gone for Cory Jane and Israel Dagg as fullbacks, with Jane also able to cover the wing.

Our possible bolters are Fotuali’i at halfback and Jason Rutledge at hooker. Otago’s Ben Smith may also come into contention though, as he can cover centre as well as playing wing/fullback. Should Stephen Donald not be available due to injury, Colin Slade is our next pick as a utility who can cover 1st 5 and fullback.

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