ALL BLACK BOLTERS – THERE WILL BE SOME !

It’s always an extra exciting time on the New Zealand rugby calendar with semifinals on in the Pacific Super rugby competition and the naming of the first All Blacks squad of the season.

The Crusaders and Blues clash in Christchurch in the first semifinals while on Saturday in Hamilton the Chiefs host the Brumbies.

Then on Sunday from the Te Awamutu Rugby Club in Hamilton, head coach Ian Foster will name the 36-man All Blacks squad to contest the first part of the season, an abbreviated Rugby championship and a two-match Bledisloe Cup series.

" All Blacks and Springboks, are well off the pace of Ireland and France."

The All Blacks open their Rugby Championship campaign v Argentina in Mendoza on July 8 followed by the Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on July 15. Eden Park was not available due to the women’s World Cup soccer tournament matches being played there.

The All Blacks then meet Australia in Melbourne on July 29 then again a week later in Dunedin on August 5.

Also named on Sunday will be the All Blacks 15, effectively the B squad which tours Japan coached by Leon MacDonald playing matches against the Brave Blossoms and a Japan 15 0n July 8-15.

SHAUN STEVENSON WOULD HAVE BEEN IN MOST PEOPLES PICKS FOR SELECTION.

There are bound to be bolters in both squads but in general expect everyone in contention for there World Cup, apart from those injured, to make either the main All Blacks team or the All Blacks 15 (B team).

Former Marlborough Red Devils and King Country number eight Greg Brimble and myself discuss various options for their All Blacks squad and Greg has included several new caps in his squad.

They include Crusaders prop Tamaiti Williams, Hurricanes halfback Cam Roigard, Highlanders loose-forward Billy Harmon and outside backs Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson from the Chiefs. He also believes Blues utility back Zarn Sullivan is a genuine candidate as well with his ability to play fullback and first-five and his left-footed kicking game.

He’s chosen Scott Barrett at blindside flanker and gone for veteran Dane Coles as one of three hookers ahead of Asafo Aumua.

" If it’s picked on form over the last two season’s Nankivell would make the All Blacks squad as he also shone for the New Zealand 15 in the UK last year.

ALEX NANKIVELL IN FORM

Good old former England first five Stuart Barnes has already written off the All Blacks and Springboks, he thinks we are well off the pace of Ireland and France. I’m sure both camps will relish being thought of as underdogs, given those two teams have won the tournament six times.

CAM ROIGARD - HAS ALL THE NECESSARY ATTRIBUTES TO MAKE THE SQUAD

Greg Brimble’s All Blacks squad from front row to outside backs:

Hookers: Samisoni Taukei’ako, Codie Taylor, Dane Coles

Props: Ethan de Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Tamaiti Williams

Locks: Sam Witelock, Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa’i, Josh Lord

Loose-forwards: Sam Cane, Addie Savea, Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizell, Dalton Papalii, Luke Jacobson, Hoskins Sotutu, Billy Harmon 

Halfbacks:Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Cam Roigard

First-five: Richie Mo’unga, Damian McKenzie

Mid-field: Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Braydon Ennor or Jack Goodhue

Outside backs: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Mark Talea, Shaun Stevenson, Emory Narawa, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Caleb Clarke

Listen to Brims and I (John Alexander) talk about the various options and coach Foster has plenty of exciting new and established talent to pick from.

Interview & Words by John Alexander | Header Image taken by Tony Stretch. Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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