Super Rugby 2014 is at the halfway stage for nine of the fifteen teams involved as we move into Super Rugby Round 10. This makes it an ideal time to cast our eye towards the All Blacks squad for the June International test series.
Here is our All Blacks Form XV based on performances in Super Rugby 2014, using statistics from fantasy rugby website – www.testrugby.com
Criteria for this team is highest average points per game in www.testrugby.com and with the exception of prop, the player must be in the top 20 total points scorers in their position. This is to eliminate players gaining selection based on one or two good games.
All Blacks Form XV 2014
15. Ben Smith
14. Tim Nanai- Williams
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. Aaron Smith
8. Kieran Read
7. Luke Braid
6. Liam Messam
5. Brodie Retallick
4. Sam Whitelock
3. Ben Franks
2. Dane Coles
1. Tony Woodcock
It is great to see so many All Blacks in this team with most of these players already wearing the All Blacks jersey before. Luke Braid gets the openside jersey with most other opensides sharing minutes with team mates. Beauden Barrett wins the Number 10 jersey, while exciting players like Malakai Fekitoa and Tim Nanai-Williams gain selection ahead of All Black incumbents.
What do you think of the All Blacks Form XV squad? Will this squad be similar to the All Blacks squad that plays England in June?
All Blacks Form XV Squad
Hookers – Liam Coltman and Rhys Marshall are the next cabs off the rank, but the gap between Dane Coles and the rest is huge. The retirement of Andrew Hore and constant injuries to Keven Mealamu have left a gap in the New Zealand hooking stocks.
Props – The Crusaders have been rotating their All Black props like Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks, meaning they missed selection. Blues prop Charlie Faumuina, Highlanders prop Kane Hames and Hurricanes Jeffery Toomaga-Allen are the next best. With props the average points were the lowest of all positions, as props tend to be substituted depending on the depth of their squad and injuries.
Locks – Whitelock and Retallick are the cream of the crop, while Jeremy Thrush and Joe Wheeler are next. Luke Romano has had injury problems but otherwise would be considered one of the best locks in New Zealand.
Loose forwards – Steven Luatua, Nasi Manu and Shane Christie are the next best loose forwards. There would have been other contenders like Richie McCaw, Matt Todd, Sam Cane and Jerome Kaino, but these guys have played enough minutes in 2014.
Halfback – Not surprisingly Aaron Smith gets the halfback position, while Andy Ellis has also played well.
First five eighth – The New Zealand first five eighths have been playing well with Beauden Barrett a standout averaging over 300 points per game in www.testrugby.com . Most of the New Zealand teams have a regular at first five eighth meaning that they have a chance to score decent points. Aaron Cruden would warm the bench in this team, while Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga, Simon Hickey and Gareth Anscombe deserve a mention. It will be interesting to see how Dan Carter goes on his return to New Zealand rugby.
Midfield – The New Zealand midfield back stocks are relatively thin with young Highlanders sensation Malakai Fekitoa the best New Zealand centre, while Ryan Crotty grabs the Number 12 jersey. All Blacks incumbent Conrad Smith is the next best ahead of Shaun Treeby. Players like Francis Sailii and Maá Nonu haven’t seen enough game time to feature.
Outside backs – Rebels fullback Jason Woodward is the best performed New Zealand outside back, but he isn’t eligible, so Ben Smith takes the fullback jersey with Tim Nanai-Williams and Julian Savea on the wings. Charles Piutau would come off the bench in this team. Interestingly, incumbent All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg finished well down the pecking order but should still feature in the All Blacks this season.