Steve Hansen has announced his first All Black team; here 'tis:
Israel Dagg, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Victor Vito, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Adam Thomson, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.
Three players will debut on Saturday night; Julian Savea, Aaron Smith and Brodie Retallick. We send them warm congratulations. But what do you reckon; should there be more?
By and large, Hansen and his fellow selectors have picked on form. The exceptions to that are Ali Williams and Piri Weepu, who will both appear from the bench. It's highly arguable that either deserves a place in the squad given some pretty average form as part of the woeful Blues this season. But Hansen will doubtless argue that both have played their best rugby in the All Black jersey.
The first post-World Cup season is always one of transition. We doubt that either Williams or Weepu will feature in the build-up to RWC 2015. However that does not automatically exclude them from consideration this year.