The Kiwis must have realised that leaving “injured” players behind rather than touring with them is actually a good idea, except that they haven’t bothered with making it farcical by telling porky pies.
Graham Henry and his team have decided to tour without some of their big names. Richie McCaw, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Dan Carter Conrad Smith, Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu will not be making the trip to Port Elizabeth next week.
Keven Mealamu will take over the Captaincy from Richie McCaw.
Graham Henry has had a few things to say about the squad touring SA, none of which mentioned injured players being left behind. “As with any All Blacks side, the coaches and players set high expectations and the squad which is heading to South Africa is no different.”
“There is real excitement amongst the squad. We have players returning from injury who will be playing for the All Blacks for the first time this year, while others will be looking to take the opportunity to stake a further claim in the black jersey and ensure selection in the Rugby World Cup, so we will have a team which is hungry to play well.”
“The All Blacks squad leaves for South Africa tomorrow. Meanwhile, Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford will stay home an extra day to play for Hawke’s Bay in their ITM Cup match against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua tomorrow, and travel to South Africa on Sunday morning.”
The inclusion of Victor Vito comes as a surprise to some, meanwhile Jarrad Hoeata will undergo a fitness test before being confirmed as a traveller to SA.
The squad touring SA is:
Forwards: John Afoa, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Jarrad Hoeata *, Andrew Hore, Jerome Kaino, Keven Mealamu, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock and Victor Vito.
Backs: Jimmy Cowan, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Richard Kahui, Cory Jane, Ma’a Nonu, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava, Piri Weepu and Sonny Bill Williams.
So the question to ask is, Did Henry plan on doing this all along and was the bitching session about our weakened team nothing but a smokescreen? Or is this a case of “Well if you don’t stick to the SANZAR agreement why should we?”
Personally I think this is just a little to blatant to go unquestioned, but SARU being the goodboys that they are will probably not say a word.Tweet