As the Rugby World Cup 2011 dawns, the studying of squad selections, tactics and pre-tournament form has been exhausted by journos, pundits and armchair experts from Invercargill to Inverness.
But still we really have no idea who will hold aloft the William Webb Ellis trophy when the final whistle is blown.
So I asked myself, what is a sure thing going into this World Cup? I found myself thinking not so much of what teams will do, but what they will not be able to do if they lose certain key players during the pool and or finals series.
It sounds negative but really if we forensically examine some of the squads, it becomes evident to me that each team is really only one or two injuries away from potential World Cup oblivion.
Let’s focus the microscope on the teams, then:
Dan Carter: New Zealand will not win the World Cup if this genius sustains a serious injury. This man is the best fly half on the planet. Colin Slade is a fine player, but he is not Dan Carter. If Carter were to be injured, I have no doubt New Zealand would adapt, but in my opinion Carter is too crucial to the All Black cause.
Richie McCaw: I am not sure the back up of Victor Vito and Adam Thompson is enough to cover a potential loss of McCaw. Let’s face it, you can’t replace McCaw; he is a once in a generation player. You just do your best to get on without him. I fear if McCaw were lost to injury, New Zealand would find compensation for leadership via Thorn, Mealamu and Carter, but they would not be as effective at the breakdown.
For other teams and the rest of the article : http://www.theroar.com.au/2011/09/06/injuries-may-determine-cup-winner/ by Uncle Argyle, September 6th, 2011