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 All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named

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PostSubject: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeSat Jul 04, 2009 1:56 am

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10582531

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All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named


Exciting winger Lelia Masaga is the most notable omission from the All Blacks side named today to contest the Tri Nations rugby championship.
The 30-man squad features the return of world class captain and flanker Richie McCaw, No 8 Rodney So'oialo and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu, who missed the tests against France and Italy last month due to injury.

Also introduced are two members of the Junior All Blacks - winger Hosea Gear and lock Jason Eaton - while prop Owen Franks and lock Bryn Evans are officially included in the squad after being classified as on standby through June.

The inclusion of Franks as a fifth prop boosts the number of forwards to 17, representing a change of heart from the selectors' pronouncement last week that they would select a 16-14 forwards-backs split.

Masaga is squeezed out, despite a solid debut against Italy in Christchurch last weekend. Gear's form in the Pacific Nations Cup proved hard to ignore and he joins Joe Rokocoko and Sivivatu - who has overcome a dislocated shoulder - as the wing specialists.

Also welcomed back are McCaw from a knee injury and long-time loose forward comrade So'oialo, who was officially on "recovery and rehabilitation" last month.


Players not considered for selection due to injury include lock Ali Williams (achilles), winger Rudi Wulf (shoulder), flanker Adam Thomson (hand), centre Richard Kahui (shoulder), lock Anthony Boric (toe), halfback Andy Ellis (ribs), hooker Corey Flynn (forearm), flanker Scott Waldrom (back) and first-five eighths Daniel Carter (achilles).

Also, utility back Isaia Toeava is likely to miss the first three tests of the Tri-Nations because of injury. He was named in the squad today despite a scan late this week confirming that he has a stress fracture in his left foot.

First five-eighth Stephen Donald is also recovering from a hamstring strain that ruled him out of the Italy test.

Four players will be present as cover when the All Blacks have a training camp in Wellington on Wednesday and Thursday. They are Wellington utility back Tamati Ellison, Canterbury first five-eighth Stephen Brett, Canterbury prop Ben Franks and North Harbour outside back Anthony Tuitavake, who were all members of the Junior All Blacks.

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry was under no illusions how challenging this year's Tri Nations would be.

"It's going to be a huge contest right from the first test," he said.
"But this group of players has the resolve and the character to meet that challenge head on so we are expecting it to be another massive competition between the three top-ranked countries in world rugby."

The All Blacks open the tournament against Australia in Auckland on July 18, followed by concurrent tests in South Africa against the Springboks - in Bloemfontein on July 25 and Durban on August 1.

They play the Wallabies at Sydney, on August 22 and finish the competition with two home tests against the Springboks in Hamilton, on September 12 and the Wallabies in Wellington, on September 19.

Full squad list:
Backs: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Hosea Gear, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Luke McAlister, Stephen Donald, Piri Weepu, Jimmy Cowan, Brendon Leonard
Forwards: Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw (captain), Tanerau Latimer, Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino, Jason Eaton, Isaac Ross, Bryn Evans, Brad Thorn, John Afoa, Neemia Tialata, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Aled de Malmanche.

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PostSubject: Re: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeSat Jul 04, 2009 2:01 am

Hosea had a average as Super 14 season, then got injured. Not sure why he got selected above Masaga. Surprised to see Eaton back in the side, although I suppose with Williams and Boric still out we're getting a little short on locks. Cant see Eaton getting much game time though, think they'll stick with Thorn, Ross and Evans off the bench. I don't rate Owen Franks, would of preferred Mackintosh.

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PostSubject: Re: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeSat Jul 04, 2009 3:59 am

Quite harsh to drop Masaga after only 1 test, especially as both his and Gear's test debuts were about on par with each other.

Word on the 'street' was pretty clear about Eaton getting in, for his experience at test level as much as his ability to play 6 as well at lock. But he's definitely the 4th lock in the squad, no doubt about that.

Mackintosh was never going to get in, he's a specialist loosehead and is third behind Woodcock and Crockett. Franks (like his brother Ben, and Tialata) can play both sides of the scrum, hence his inclusion.

Glad that Jane wasn't squeezed out as some thought he might, he deserves to be there after his performances.

Also glad that Ellison's getting some kudos, even if it's as the backup utility back role behind Toeava. Also interesting that Brett got the callup over Slade, considering Slade was the initial JAB callup with Brett called up later when McAlister left...

Still a very raw looking squad...
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PostSubject: Re: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeSat Jul 04, 2009 9:28 am

Im Disapointed Gear got in over Masaga :/
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PostSubject: Re: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeSun Jul 05, 2009 12:27 am

I dont mind Masaga being left out to be honest. I thought he showed a real lack of vision when he had the ball against Italy, really one dimensional. Lots of potential obviously but imo needs at least one, maybe two more S14 campaigns to develop further.

I'd place more stock in Gear's good form for the Juniors in tough conditions than Masaga's S14 form at this stage and I've always thought he could become just as good, if not better than his brother given time.

Good to see Eaton back, he's never quite been the same since his knee injury but at least he brings some experience and versatility to the backrow.

Looks like Messam is definitely on the outer though, some pretty blunt comments made by Henry reported in todays Herald. Looks like Mr Invisible Mk 2 Kieran Read will be heavily involved though. Bullshit.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10582628
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PostSubject: Re: All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named   All Blacks squad for Tri Nations named Icon_minitimeMon Jul 06, 2009 12:22 am

Yeah, I suppose they're looking at Read's "reliability" as an asset. Although Eaton's inclusion puts some doubt into Read's role, as Eaton was deliberately asked to cover 6, suggesting they may look for a specialist 7 on the bench to cover McCaw.
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