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The weight of the World Cup

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content, RWC 2015, Springboks, Wallabies on 16 Jul 2015 at 09:41
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The weight of the World Cup must weigh heavy on the minds of the Southern Hemisphere coaches if one looks at the teams selected to take part in the first round of the Rugby Championship this weekend.

I mentioned in an earlier article that Rugby World Cups really excite me, and having the chance to see three of the front runners to take that title in action this weekend already, makes me take note of the teams selected. And to be frank, I was quite surprised.

Without even going into much depth and looking just at the three flyhalves selected for this weekend, you see that the coaches have opted to go against the form book in most cases. The Boks are starting with Handre Pollard, and while he may not have had the best Super Rugby season, he is probably the most in form of those in the squad, with Lambie not having played much and Steyn coming off a season in France. I must add that I have done some research on Steyn’s season in France, and although he started poorly, he ended up being one of the star players for Stade Francais, but I digress.

Looking at the opposition for this weekend, Michael Cheika has opted to go for Quade Cooper. Now, the Reds had a woeful season in Super Rugby, and while that may have been due to Cooper missing a large part of the season, the fact remains that he has shown very little of the Quade we know so far this year. The same can be said about his half back partner, Will Genia. His selection completely floored me and the fact that Nic White was completely omitted from the squad had me wondering what exactly these coaches are thinking.

I am a big fan of All Black rugby, and even though I am a Springbok fan through and through, there is not much better than an All Black team at full flight. The way the Hurricanes and the Highlanders finished the Super Rugby season has me anxiously waiting to see what they come up with against Argentina. But looking at the team they have selected, I am baffled to see that the form player of the season for the Hurricanes, Beauden Barrett, not even featuring in the match 23. Dan Carter, the legend that he is, takes up the pivotal spot with Colin Slade his backup, but again I draw your attention to the fact that neither of these two actually have any form going for them.

The point I am trying to make is that is seems that coaches seem to lose focus in the build up of the massive event that is the World Cup. Combinations are tried and players are selected that have been in the plans for the fours years building up to the World Cup, but the simple principle of selecting form players has gone out the window.

Now there will be plenty arguing that Dan Carter is the best flyhalf in the world and he has earned his spot in the starting team, and I agree to a certain extent. But we are mere months away from the biggest prize in World Rugby, surely now is the time to put your form players together and build those combinations with the limited time available.


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