Who should the All Blacks pick in the Number 10 jersey to face England on June 7th? The contenders to takeover from Dan Carter are Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade.
Beauden Barrett has been in great form for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby 2014 and impressed in his previous appearances off the bench for the All Blacks. Barrett has a great kicking and running game. He has ignited the Hurricanes backline in Super Rugby 2014. They have the best attacking record.
Aaron Cruden broke his thumb recently and after a solid start to the season for the Chiefs, he may take a few games to get back into match form. Is it a risk to start Cruden against England? Since Carter is out of the running, Cruden is the next cab off the rank, but Barrett and Colin Slade have been in great form this season.
Colin Slade is back in form. It seems that Slade just needs gametime to improve his confidence and his form has helped the Crusaders to push from midtable to the top of the New Zealand conference. Test match gametime against England would be great for Slade’s confidence after some unspectacular performances in his 11 tests so far.
It is healthy to have some quality contenders for the vacant All Blacks Number 10 jersey, but who should start against England on June 7th? Should it go to Aaron Cruden or in the in form Beauden Barrett or even Colin Slade?
I don’t see why Barrett can’t go from largely a bench player to starting against England, while giving Cruden or Slade a shot off the bench. There isn’t much between these three, but Cruden does deserve some recognition of being the next cab off the rank, but at the same time, when else are we going to see Barrett and Slade a chance to get precious game time in the All Blacks jersey?
There is a similar situation in other positions with this series against England providing selectors with an opportunity to see young players like Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Coltman, Nathan Harris and Malakai Fekitoa. I think that these guys can expect some gametime off the bench later on, hopefully once the All Blacks have a comfortable lead.
There are not many non test matches to blood international rugby players these days and given that England has been forced to send an understrength side to New Zealand next month, then this could be a good chance to see if some players sink or swim. The All Blacks do have an impressive record to uphold too, so can’t afford to lose.
Who would you pick to start against England? Should players be picked on form or reputation?