Monday, April 02, 2007

All Blacks named for November NH tour

October 23, 2006

Rugby Planet reports:

All Blacks coach Graham Henry and his assistant coaches, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen, and fellow selector, Sir Brian Lochore, have announced a 32-man All Blacks squad for the 2006 European Tour (England, France & Wales). [...]

The All Blacks squad: John Afoa (Auckland), Dan Carter (Canterbury), Jerry Collins (Wellington), Clarke Dermody (Southland), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Andy Ellis (Canterbury), Nick Evans (Otago), Rico Gear (Tasman), Carl Hayman (Otago), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Chris Jack (Tasman), Byron Kelleher (Waikato), Luke McAlister (North Harbour), Richie McCaw (Canterbury - captain), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Chris Masoe (Wellington), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Malili Muliaina (Waikato), Ma'a Nonu (Wellington), Anton Oliver (Otago), Keith Robinson (Waikato), Josevata Rokocoko (Auckland), James Ryan (Otago), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Conrad Smith (Wellington), Rodney So'oialo (Wellington), Reuben Thorne (Canterbury), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Piri Weepu (Wellington), Ali Williams (Auckland), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour). [...]

Those unavailable because of injury are Troy Flavell (shoulder), Doug Howlett (knee), Angus Macdonald (knee) and Greg Somerville (Achilles). Two of those selected have fitness problems - Leon MacDonald (knee) and Neemia Tialata (calf).

Apart from the omission of [Jimmy] Cowan, the omission of young, versatile Isaia Toeava is noteworthy. Others not in the squad, but players of quality are Sione Lauaki, Mose Tuiali'i, Josh Blackie, Liam Messam and Jerome Kaino.

  • John Drake comments.

  • Wynne Gray comments.

  • Inky comments.

  • Bartman at the Silver Fern inspects:

  • the front row.

  • the second row.

  • the loose forwards.

  • the halfbacks.

  • the flyhalves.

  • the midfield.

  • the outside backs.

  • All Blacks to 'practice' against Heartland XV

  • Hard man beats hardest of times:

  • By any measure, Keith Robinson's comeback to the All Blacks is an extraordinary tale.

    The hardcore lock will detest being at the forefront of attention instead of his teammates in the squad to play tests against England, France and Wales next month.

    But Robinson's return after almost 30 months in the international wilderness is a triumph for medical science and the power of his mind.

    Others such as former skipper Reuben Thorne have been recalled after long absences but have never left the game.

    Two back surgeries and a blown knee ligament gave Robinson no alternative.

    But yesterday, at the same Waikato Stadium venue where he was part of the province's Air New Zealand Cup victory on Saturday night, Robinson's test career was rekindled.

    Speculation on that outcome had grown quickly since Robinson's return to the Waikato side last month. In all of his five games Robinson looked classy, but the dread remained about his welfare.

    Would he last and would he be risked on the four-test tour?

    Robinson's flatdeck truck offered the answer yesterday, parked in the stadium for the announcement of the 32-strong squad.

    It had been a long evening for Robinson and his teammates, an emotional time after the finals loss in 2002. It was just as taxing for the 29-year-old at stages yesterday as he was asked about the tough times since his last test against the Pacific Islanders in 2004.

    Several times there were long uncomfortable silences as Robinson picked his words or trawled through memories of the struggle.

    "I didn't think it would happen so quickly," he confessed about his recall.

    Robinson bought a gym in Te Aroha and underwent much of the rehab work on his back there.

    Some days he trained and thought a return to the All Blacks was out of the question but on others he thought "bloody oath" he would make it.

    Four years ago, Robinson was a surprise choice for the All Blacks tour to the UK when coach John Mitchell left 21 senior players behind to recover for the World Cup.

    "I was a bit intimidated by that experience. It was a big call and I learnt a lot," Robinson said of that trip.

    The rugged lock still expected to be out of his comfort zone in the tests in Europe.

    He had not suffered any repeat injuries since his late return to the Waikato side and coach Warren Gatland had managed his workload each week.

    "I have still got a bit to prove but I am very excited about this," Robinson said. "I will need to be nursed through the tour.

    "I have to be smart with my body. It is not like it was but I still think I have a few years of rugby left in me."

    Source: New Zealand Herald.

  • Similarly, Conrad Smith's remarkable return.

  • Rugby Planet Air New Zealand Cup team of the Tournament:

  • 15. Mils Muliaina (Waikato). Back-up: Brent Ward (Auckland)
    14. Ma'a Nonu (Wellington). Back-up: Sosene Anesi (Waikato)
    13. Richard Kahui (Waikato). Back-up: Conrad Smith (Wellington)
    12. David Hill (Waikato). Back-up: Tana Umaga (Wellington)
    11. Corey Jane (Wellington). Back-up: Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato)
    10. Nick Evans (Otago). Back-up: Jimmy Gopperth (Wellington)
    9. Byron Kelleher (Waikato). Back-up: Andrew Ellis (Canterbury)
    8. Rodney So'oialo (Wellington). Back-up: Sione Laukai (Waikato)
    7. Liam Messam (Waikato). Back-up: Marty Holah (Waikato)
    6. Jerry Collins (Wellington). Back-up: Daniel Braid (Auckland)
    5. Keith Robinson (Waikato). Back-up: Ryan James (Otago)
    4. Jono Gibbes (Waikato). Back-up: Brad Mika (Auckland)
    3. John Afoa (Auckland). Back-up: Neemia Tialata (Wellington)
    2. Corey Flynn (Canterbury). Back-up: Anton Oliver (Otago)
    1. Joe McDonnell (Wellington). Back-up: Tony Woodcock (North Harbour)



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