5 Talking Points From The All Blacks World Cup Squad Announcement


We take a look at the seven key talking points from today’s announcement by Steve Hansen of the 31 All Blacks he will be taking to the World Cup…

1. The back three looks a little risky

It’s fantastic to see Naholo included in the final squad after his leg break, however as he is likely to miss the first three games of the World Cup, it leaves only three genuine back three players. Obviously Colin Slade and Sonny Bill Williams can cover but it’s hardly an ideal scenario.

2. The second row looks a little light

With just three specialist locks selected in the squad, the All Blacks look a little light in the engine room. There are a couple of back rowers who can step in if needs be, but it’s not the ideal scenario should a couple of players pick up minor knocks.

3. What did Sopoaga and Piutau do wrong?

Two of the All Blacks stand out players in the Rugby Championship have both missed out on selection for the World Cup. Given the lack of back three options, it’s strange for the in form Piutau to miss out, whilst Sopoaga has impressed for club and country this season.

4. There is an ideal blend of youth and experience

The usual suspects like Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Keven Mealamu are still in there, whilst there has been an injection of young talent in the likes of Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo to provide a good mix of options at the World Cup.

5. It looks like this could be the end of several careers

It looks like the World Cup squad announcement could spell the end of the international career of Cory Jane, whilst Israel Dagg may struggle to break back into All Blacks contention given he now seems to have been leap-frogged by Milner-Skudder.

The All Blacks squad in full;

Backs: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow

Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (captain), Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor



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One comment

  1. Piutau and Thrush are the most hard done by here, Messam isn’t even the 2nd best Blindside Flanker in NZ (the only thing he leads in is having the worst discipline) so have proper injury cover at Lock would have been preferred in my eyes. Naholo is a great player but if he can’t play until the 3rd match that means he can train properly for a while, who knows if the injury would have healed by then. I would have backed Piutau, like Naholo he provides great cover for Savea and has a lot more versatility.

    Sopoaga was competing with Carter. Barrett and Slade had locked their places in by being more versatile.

    From here if B. Smith or Skudder gets injured Jane is the next best choice, if Naholo or Savea goes down then Piutau should get called up.

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