There is a great balance of skill and experience in this squad. Let's hope that they will do us proud over the next two months; we can't hardly wait!
Rugby's worst-kept secret will be out at 2pm this afternoon. We say that, because it is apparent that Wyatt Crockett, Liam Messam, Jarred Hoeata and Hosea Gear have not travelled to Brisbane with the rest of the All Black party. The All Blacks flew into Sydney late yesterday, then onto Brisbane minus the abovenamed. Newstalk ZB also reports that there has been no sign in Brisbane of Sitiveni Sivivatu.
Reports from South Africa suggest that the selectors spoke with those who had not been selected prior to the trip back from Port Elizabeth. We feel especially sorry for Wyatt Crockett who has had a stellar season, but it seems that John Afoa's ability to play either tighthead or loosehead has been the pivotal factor.
So it looks as though this will be the All Black RWC line-up:
Backs: Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Zac Guilford, Isaiah Toeava, Conrad Smith, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Daniel Carter, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis.
Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Adam Thompson, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Sam Whitelock, Anthony Boric, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, John Adoa, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn
It's a strong squad, and we reckon we'll get a pretty good guide as to the first XV when thew team to play Australia in the Tri-Nations decider is named, Nose permitting, there may be a temptation to give Tony Woodcock another run, and his record against the Australian scrum is stellar. Other than that, we reckon that the team lining up against the Wallabies will be the strongest available.
All will be revealed this afternoon, but feel free to debate the merits or the lack thereof between now and 2pm when we'll have an update. The RWC opener is just 17 days away, and we're starting to get just a little bit excited!