Series win gives scope for selection experimentation for All Blacks
James Mortimer 18 Jun 2013 Getty Images
Changes not so much to freshen the team and keep internal competition strong, but also to give the All Blacks coaching team some breadth to continue to refine the side as they keep one eye permanently cocked towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The most significant could be a double change in the backline, with Ben Smith a chance to be shifted into the midfield, with many believing that the inform Highlanders back has a long term future in the centres, showing similar skills and intelligence to another Smith who is currently cannot be shifted as the country’s premier number 13.
If the Highlanders back is shifted closer to the action, it could coincide with the return of Dan Carter, and there would be a fair amount of ease amongst the All Blacks if the world’s premier backline navigator is suited up to help oversee what would be Smith’s first international appearance in the midfield.
While Kieran Read is likely to run out again as captain despite his knock to the back, the selectors could also mix up the back row, with Victor Vito’s brief and powerful cameo and number eight in Christchurch notable, while there will be a desire to see if Steven Luatua can translate his Super Rugby authority onto the Test stage.
Big Chiefs front rower Ben Afeaki is another who could benefit from extended game time with Owen Franks potentially ready for a rest at tighthead, while Beauden Barrett has been a feature during All Blacks training sessions at fullback, perhaps further revealing some selection tinkering that will occur this week.
Most popular News:
Crusaders too solid for hesitant Blues25.Apr.2015
Americas to launch new international competition from 201625.Apr.2015
Fiji make one change as All Blacks Sevens assemble25.Apr.2015
Undermanned Highlanders beaten in Canberra24.Apr.2015
Chiefs overpower 14-man Force24.Apr.2015
Crusaders aim to get back on track23.Apr.2015