Sunday 30 April 2017

Sivivatu loses out as All Blacks name squad

Greg Stutchbury

Sitiveni Sivivatu, Wyatt Crockett, Liam Messam, Jarrad Hoeata and Hosea Gear were the big losers when New Zealand coach Graham Henry announced his 30-man squad for the World Cup.

The news was a bitter blow for Gear, whose brother Rico was a shock absentee from the 2007 squad that travelled to France.

Sivivatu could also count himself unlucky after his stellar performance in the All Blacks' 60-14 victory over Fiji last month.

Crusaders and Hawke's Bay winger Zac Guildford was chosen ahead of Sivivatu after a fine outing against Australia.

Prop Crockett lost out to the more athletic John Afoa.

Second-row Hoeata, who made his Test debut in the win over Fiji, loses out to resurgent Sam Whitelock and fit-again Anthony Boric.

Richie McCaw will lead the squad, many of whom have helped the All Blacks notch up 40 victories in 49 Tests since the last tournament.

Only loose forward Victor Vito could be considered a surprise choice -- he was initially overlooked for the Tri-Nations, before being called up for last week's defeat in South Africa.

He was chosen ahead of Messam, whose inability to impose himself at the breakdown against a massive Bok pack proved to be his downfall

With nine players in the squad boasting more than 50 Test caps and three others closing in on the milestone, Henry will be able to combine experience with youthful exuberance.

However, the coach has taken a gamble on several players returning from long-term injuries.

Outside backs Isaia Toeava and Israel Dagg, centre Richard Kahui and loosehead prop Tony Woodcock all started in Port Elizabeth, having had little rugby under their belts this year.

Meanwhile, Australia coach Robbie Deans has recalled centre Anthony Fainga'a and forwards Dan Vickerman and Radike Samo for Saturday's Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand in Brisbane.

Vickerman will join newly appointed Wallabies captain James Horwill, who will lead his country for the first time, in the second-row.

Fijian-born No 8 Samo returns to the starting line-up for the first time since 2004 and will be joined in the loose-forwards by former captain Rocky Elsom.

SQUADS IN FACTFILE

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport