Sunday, 10 February 2008
Don't even think about it Ted!
That’s the message from former All Blacks back rower Scott Robertson over the debate as to whether Richie McCaw should move from openside to blindside.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has said moving his skipper from No 7 to No 6 is an option as he rebuilds the team after last year’s disappointing World Cup failure.
The day he was reappointed as head coach last December, he told TV3 that moving McCaw to No 6 could allow the Crusaders star to play more tests.
"No 7 is the most demanding position in the game physically, it takes Richie three or four days to recover from a major test match and that’s huge,’’ Henry said.
But Robertson believes the All Blacks have the best player in the world at seven and it would be foolhardy to consider playing him somewhere else.
"He’s a seven, an out and out seven,’’ Robertson told Sunday News. "He’s the best there is and ever has been. We shouldn’t change that unless he can't walk."
Although McCaw is a notch above other openside flankers in the country, Henry said he'll go into the All Blacks this year with a clean slate.
That means a potential return to the ABs for Daniel Braid the 2003 All Black who was player of the year in 2007 after starring for the Blues and Auckland. Chiefs' rising star Liam Messam would be another option.
But Robertson, who played 23 tests for the All Blacks between 1998 and 2002, believes McCaw should stay as the main openside flanker, although he is a great admirer of Messam and says he's an All Black in the making.
"Liam is an absolute athlete and a complete player," Robertson said. "He must have gone close a couple of times to get into the All Blacks. He's got all the attributes you need and his time will come, I'm sure. He'll be working on his game. Everyone's got weaknesses and he's no different. But his coaches will be working with him on them, that's for sure."
Robertson returned to New Zealand last year to hang up his boots at just 32-years-old. He has been involved in coaching at his former Sumner club and is keen to progress through the system.
Meanwhile, Henry yesterday took aim at the media for the treatment it dished out following the All Blacks World Cup capitulation.
"I thought most of the media lacked balance and were quite vindictive," Henry told the Herald. "It got quite personal and, as I say, I did not read it, I did not watch it, I did not listen to it but I was told and I was disappointed about that. I thought they were over the top. In the main, I don't believe the media reflected public opinion. They tried to be kingmakers and kingbreakers."
LEAVE HIM BE: Former All Black flanker Scott Robertson says there should be no thought of moving Richie McCaw away from the No 7 position.