I guess in a way, I know I can’t 100% guess which 30 layers they will choose, but this may get close enough to indicate their thinking for this tournament i.e. positional cover, proven rack record etc. ... and above all, slotting back in those players they have been waiting on all season. Thus Toeava gets the nod over workaholics Hosea Gear and Zac Guildford. Israel Dagg comes in, as do Boric and Tony Woodcock (at the expense of an unlucky Crockett). In its own way it may be a slightly conservative 30 ... but it is a World Cup.
Father Ted’s Flock
Fullbacks (2) - Muliaina, Dagg
Wings (3) - Jane, Toeava, Sivivatu
Midfield (4) - Nonu, Smith, Kahui, Williams
First Five (2) - Carter, Slade
Halfbacks (3) - Cowan, Weepu, Ellis
Loose Forwards (5) - McCaw, Read, Kaino, Thompson, Messam
Locks (4) - Thorn, Whitelock, Boric, Williams
Props (4) - Woodcock, O Franks, B Franks, Afoa
Hookers (3) - Mealamu, Hore, Flynn
However, all things being equal, if this were not a RWC year, and we were simply facing the Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations and maybe even an incoming Lions Tour ... then the need for covering positions and utility players is not as necessary. In that case it would be 'lock and load', ready all batteries, and frack the hell out of the opposition. Thus the team would have a marginally younger look to it ... maybe something like this.
This would also be my dream (if slightly risky) team for the World Cup: "Go and get the ball, then move it" is our natural game, and this is the team to play that way. I would so love to play and win the World Cup with our style of rugby. (My starting XV names appear first in each position)
The Slugso AB Wishlist
Fullbacks (2) - Dagg, Muliaina
Wings (3) - Jane, Guildford, Gear
Midfield (4) - Nonu, Smith, Williams, Kahui
First Five (2) - Carter, Cruden
Halfbacks (3) - Cowan, Weepu, Mathewson
Loose Forwards (5) - McCaw, Read, Kaino, Thompson, Todd
Locks (4) - Thorn, Whitelock, Hoeata, Williams
Props (4) - Woodcock, O Franks, B Franks, Crockett
Hookers (3) - Hore, Mealamu, Elliott
As a sh*t stirring wildcard - has anyone considered that they might dump Mils? Take Toeava and Jane instead. Kidding.
Whatever the make up of the 30, I'm backing them all the way, and expect to see them run out on Eden Park, October 23rd. Lets all compare notes tomorrow. Ferdy - waddayarekkin?