Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rugby: ABs make eight changes for Springbok clash (TV3)

The All Blacks have made eight changes for this weekend's opening Tri Nations test against the Springboks in Durban. With five first choice locks unavailable and a couple of close selection calls the All Black team to face the Springboks is perhaps more a mix of the best available and a horses for courses selection rather than a best 15.

“It was a difficult selection, not that it took a long time but there are a lot of players of equal ability and we see it as a 22 man team in the modern game as you can appreciate,” Coach Graham Henry told a media conference. A case in point is last season’s second five eight incumbent, Luke McAlister who misses out to Aaron Mauger. Henry: “I think Aarons playing as well as ever and Luke gets better and better and that particular selection was a major selection. “

McAlister will see game time and more likely at centre if Isaiah Toeava fails to fire. By necessity Durban born Greg Rawlinson will partner Blues team mate Troy Flavell at lock. But the selection of Anton Oliver ahead of Keven Mealamu at hooker is a clear reflection of the opposition.

While it is less than three months until the World Cup, right now the focus is on the task at hand.
“I think the Tri Nations in itself is a competition worth winning and shouldn't be seen as a second cousin to the world cup,” Henry said. Rotation selection and reconditioning are now history. Winning rugby is what counts from here on.
Pictures from

- yesterday's training session in Durban
- Friday's meeting withe fans by Iveco. (Richie is near the person in ligth-light blue, standing on the truck)


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