All Blacks ignore Rokocoko for Tests

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It does not bear thinking about: Joe Rokocoko, the most exhilarating wing in the world last season, and Marty Holah, the tamer of the Lions in Hamilton at the weekend; Corey Flynn, the outstanding Maori hooker, and Luke McAlister, the serenely accomplished midfielder. Each and every one of them, plus 20-odd others, have made it into the All Blacks. The Junior All Blacks, that is. If Sir Clive Woodward wanted confirmation of the strength of the opponents his squad is about to meet, that should suffice.

It does not bear thinking about: Joe Rokocoko, the most exhilarating wing in the world last season, and Marty Holah, the tamer of the Lions in Hamilton at the weekend; Corey Flynn, the outstanding Maori hooker, and Luke McAlister, the serenely accomplished midfielder. Each and every one of them, plus 20-odd others, have made it into the All Blacks. The Junior All Blacks, that is. If Sir Clive Woodward wanted confirmation of the strength of the opponents his squad is about to meet, that should suffice.

Graham Henry, who coached the Lions in Australia four years ago and now runs the All Black show, yesterday named a 26-man squad for the three-Test series, and found places for three unfamiliar forwards - the prop Campbell Johnstone, lock James Ryan and flanker Sione Lauaki.

Holah, who will go to Australia with the second string, had the misfortune of being born into the same generation as Richie McCaw. Rokocoko loses out to his cousin, Sitiveni Sivivatu.

McCaw is the only specialist open-side flanker in the squad, while Daniel Carter is the one front-line goal-kicker. A gamble? Very definitely. If both men stay fit, the Lions will have a mighty task on their hands. If injury strikes, the balance will tilt the tourists' way.

NEW ZEALAND: D Carter (Canterbury), J Collins (Wellington), R Gear (Nelson Bays), C Hayman (Otago), D Howlett (Auckland), C Jack (Canterbury), C Johnstone (Canterbury), B Kelleher (Waikato), S Lauaki (Waikato), R McCaw (Canterbury), L MacDonald (Canterbury), J Marshall (Canterbury), A Mauger (Canterbury), K Mealamu (Auckland), M Muliaina (Auckland), M Nonu (Wellington), A Oliver (Otago), J Ryan (Otago), S Sivivatu (Waikato), C Smith (Wellington), G Somerville (Canterbury), R So'oialo (Wellington), M Tuiali'i (Canterbury), T Umaga (Wellington, capt), A Williams (Auckland), T Woodcock (North Harbour).

Comments