Rugby Union: All Blacks have the style of winners: Five to become famous as the tour unfolds

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The Independent Online


As captain of what is, perforce, a largely experimental party and as a survivorof the 1987 World Cup side, Fitzpatrick has a massive responsibility. But he has the stature as a player and, nowadays, the temperament to cope with the twin demands of leadership and hooking. Was some way below his best in the series against the Lions, but on form there are few more combative or mobile hookers in the game.


N Auckland/LockE .TX.- Does not conform to the stereotypeof New Zealand lock foTHER write errorrwards, being relatively slim and appearing to lack upper body strength. But he is deceptively powerful with sound scrummaging technique and an athleticism in the line-out. Has speed and agility of a back-row forward in the loose. Was dropped for the second Test against the Lions, but came on as a replacement for Mark Cooksley.


Auckland/No 8

Has never quite fulfilled the exceptional potential he showed in his early 20s when he was considered to be one of the world's most naturally gifted players. An ineffective performance against the Lions in Wellington cost him his Test place in the deciding game at Eden Park. But in the absence of the injured Michael Jones, the All Blacks will require his speed of thought and instinctive skills.


N Harbour/Centre

The Lions believedthat Bunce would not be a force in the Test series but it took two minutes to prove them wrong when he scored the All Blacks' controversial try in Christchurch. Had a magnificent Bledisloe Cup match finds himself on this tour as the senior back in the party. A late developer who began his international career with Western Samoa, Bunce is a hard man to hold in attack and uncompromising in defence.



2nd five-eighth

After the All Blacks' abject performance against the Lions at Athletic Park, Stensness was hailed as a saviour at Eden Park when he brought variety to the midfield. There are doubts about his defence, which has been known to break down under pressure. An accomplished tactical kicker, he is more than a makeshift fly-half, and could find himself in that position before the tour is finished.

(Photographs omitted)