Sunday, April 01, 2007

All Blacks ring in changes for Boks

July 18, 2006

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has named his starting XV for the Tri-Nations test match against South Africa this Saturday in Wellington.

Henry and his selection panel -- the so-called "Cartel" -- have made wholesale changes, with 8 new starters.

Among those players being rested are in-form stars like flank Jerry Collins, hooker Keven Mealamu, prop Tony Woodcock, lock Jason Eaton, second five-eighth Aaron Mauger and scrum-half Byron Kelleher.

Those frontliners aren't even on the bench.

Some South African fans believe this is a sign of disrespect to the Springboks. Henry disputes this, emphasising the 2007 RWC directs his selection policy.

Questioned again because of the rotation policy, Henry reminded the New Zealand media that the bigger picture since his appointment has always been the World Cup.

And to win the World Cup he felt New Zealand needed 30 players capable of playing test rugby.

“We might win on Saturday by keeping to the same 15, that might give us an even greater chance, but it might not bring the carrot that we’re looking for (in World Cup success),” Henry declared.

“The major thing is that through the campaigns now until the end of the World Cup, we’re a team of 30 players. We’ve just got to make sure that we keep the 30 on edge and involved. If you pick 22 guys and have eight sitting around doing nothing for a campaign you’re not going to get the unity in the group that you need to win a Rugby World Cup … you’re not going to get the commitment from those eight.”

  • 1 Neemia Tialata, 2 Anton Oliver, 3 Carl Hayman, 4 Chris Jack, 5 Ali Williams, 6 Reuben Thorne, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 8 Rodney So'oialo, 9 Piri Weepu, 10 Dan Carter, 11 Scott Hamilton, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 13 Mils Muliaina, 14 Doug Howlett, 15 Leon MacDonald. Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Greg Somerville, 18 Greg Rawlinson, 19 Chris Masoe, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Isaia Toeava.

  • Springbok coach Jake White is scheduled to announce his starting team tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, former Springbok media advisor Mark Keohane writes a blistering commentary about the Boks shooting themselves in the feet:

    Public relations disaster

    Tuesday 18 July 2006

    Somebody please shut these clowns up!

    If it is not Joe van Niekerk firing up the Aussies with the old tale of the bounty on George Smith’s dreadlock or Jake White telling the Irish that none of their team would make his team (whilst in Dublin) or White questioning the absence of Waratahs players in a Brisbane test, it is now the leader of the pack, convener of selectors Peter Jooste telling the media just why Butch James will play and how he will play against the All Blacks.

    “Against New Zealand, if you keep kicking them into the corners and stopping their momentum, they can crack under the pressure. They get frustrated far easier than the Australians,” Jooste told the media in explaining James’s late call-up.

    In the meantime New Zealand sent out two players to talk up the Boks. They spoke of the wounded Bok, the pride of the Bok jersey and how tough Saturday’s test would be. They spoke of the physicality of the Boks and the demands of playing them. Graham Henry said the Boks would not again be that poor as they were in Brisbane. He said he failed to understand what went wrong because they were a better team than the result reflected.

    He spoke with respect and reference, a respect the Boks don’t deserve.

    Like any informed and astute sports coach, he let the local media wind up the opposition. The New Zealand media laughed at the Boks performance. They splashed ‘braindead boks’ headlines across the local papers in Wellington. The public and media in New Zealand have let the Boks know what they think of them.

    Henry has not needed to chip in with a barb.

    So enter our clowns.

    The All Blacks have not lost in 20 tests at home in the past three years. They’ve been pushed close a few times and come out on top. They’ve played a different starting XV in nearly all of those tests and beaten everyone in world rugby. ...

    Read the rest...


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