So Sonny Bill gets his Test debut. Congrats to him, and to Hika Elliot, Alby Mathewson, and Hosea Gear.
Four bold changes I reckon, especially the dropping of Cowan who I thought played well in HK. I confess I share Ferdy's lack of belief in Andrew 'Riverdance' Ellis ... I just always feel there is a tendency for us to cough up ball before rucks are cleared while he jigs about. And Stephen Donald and Isiah Toeava have to step back up - both good players and nice blokes, but its time to pay back the selectors' faith in them.
I think these new/recalled players will fizz - Henry always seems to unleash caged tigers from the bench or beyond, players who hit the field in an almost beserker rage to prove their worthiness. I think it was this 'man management' that always revved Piri Weepu up, and eventually saw him become a starter.
So ... tactics? I reckon we'll try to absolutely smash them around the fringe, or close in ... maybe use SBW close in to take on 2 or 3 defenders. Imagine Thorny and Williams crashing and off-loading to each other? However, Mathewson has a bullet pass and after some tectonic phases of gain, I'd be hoping he flings the ball wide ... maybe even bring SBW in to then release it to Carter or beyond on the double-round. Jesus ... this is entering the realms of fantasy league here.
I'll miss Conrad Smith - he's class - but he'll be back. Hell, this gives him a few days off to check out some Dub Step nights ... though this Wu Tang chic look makes him and the others look like rights chavs. Pint of Stella anyone?
This looks like it is shaping up to be a medieval siege & bust 80 minutes. Look out for English chips through there, Millsy ... but I think Rokococo & Gear will be sharking around all over the place. At 60 minutes there should be only one team in it.
But I am also watching for the English halfback Youngs, and Foden ... and their own large freak Courtenay Laws. I hope their coach & media just cut them enough slack to throw the granite kitchen work surface back at us. Plus Lewis 'Mad Dog' Moody will be frothing the white stuff vs McCaw.
The Hilary Shield. How could we ever let THEM win it? Let's knock the buggers off.