Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The New Zealand squad gets a once over, and has Piri Weepu ever been seen in the same room as Papa Smurf?

So, bring on the All Blacks! I’ve already given my two cents worth (on reflection only worth one cent) now it’s time for some incisive analysis of New Zealand.

For a start, since Piri Weepu’s move to the Blues, has anyone noticed his starling similarity to papa Smurf? Have they ever been seen in a room at the same time? Pity they won’t let him wear his hat when he plays.

Going through the NZ squad, they are adequate in hookers and definitely stronger than Ireland in props, especially with Mike Ross struggling. Their locks don’t look too frightening, and their loose trio is good but they’ll miss Kaino and McCaw has been out a lot.

Half backs – that’s a ringing endorsement for cartoon characters selecing Weepu, with inexperienced back up – which could back fire. Carter hasn’t played much, but Cruden looks like he’s soon going to be stepping up to the plate, centres are strong, and they have talent in the back three but not much experience.
We can do this, I’d say Wales have the best chance of a scalp this summer, followed closely by England, but don’t write us off yet.

Forwards: Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Ronan Loughney (Connacht), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Brett Wilkinson (Connacht).

Backs: Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Paul Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster).

New Zealand squad:
Hookers: Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu.
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Ben Tameifuna, Tony Woodcock.
Locks: Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams.
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Richie McCaw (C), Kieran Read, Adam Thomson , Victor Vito.
Scrum-halves: Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu.
Fly-halves: Daniel Carter, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett.
Centres: Tamati Ellison, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams.
Outside backs: Israel Dagg, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Ben Smith, Julian Savea.

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