The All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad appears to have plenty of depth in the midfield, with established pair Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith putting their hands up for another campaign before leaving for overseas clubs, but with only a like 14 backs in the All Blacks squad, it is likely that there will only be two other midfield backs when the squad is named.
A big part of any midfield is combinations. Nonu and Smith have played together for years and play contrasting styles of game with the brawn and the brains, but who else should make the All Blacks squad?
After the effort that the NZRU went into securing the services of Sonny Bill Williams, he has to be in the squad, assuming he overcomes his current injury problem.
Malakai Fekitoa did enough in the All Blacks last season and Super Rugby this year to suggest that he is a likely inclusion, but there are some other candidates.
Ryan Crotty from the Crusaders is one player that would be unlucky not to be named. He brings stability to the midfield and has never let anyone down in a test match before.
There are also some other options in Charlie Ngatai from the Chiefs who is very underrated. George Moala and Francis Saili from the Blues are both dangerous ball runners, although it is hard to know about their defence. Finally, the dependable Tim Taylor could be an outside shot, because of his ability to kick goals and play in several backline positions.
There is also the option of players selected in other positions, covering the midfield if needed, like Ben Smith, Charles Piutau and Dan Carter if selected.
With four positions available, we think it will be Nonu, Smith, Williams and Fekitoa selected, with Crotty the next cab off the rank. This young star George Moala may get a look in if the selectors want more depth for the future as part of the Samoan test and if he plays well, then who knows?
Who are you picking for the All Blacks Rugby World Cup midfield?
Conrad Smith 100%
Ma’a Nonu 100%
Sonny Bill Williams 70%
Malakai Fekitoa 70%
Ryan Crotty 30%
George Moala 15%
Francis Saili 10%
Tom Taylor 5%