Depth in NZ rugby

I was wondering what to write about Graham Henry's comments on the direction the game is going when I fetched the post of Totalflanker on this very subject.

While I basically agree with his point of view, there was something he said that's giving me headache after headache. He (wisely) adviced Graham Henry to look inside New Zealand Rugby for answers and solutions to the underperforming All Blacks instead of blaming the rest of the World.

But what in opinion of Totalflanker is a main problem is the lack of depth at lock, first five and openside flanker; When I read that, it totally stunned me.

I then said to myself there's no lack of depth at first five: Slade, Cruden, Brett, Bowden and even Witt are gifted players... the only problem is the World doesn't know of his existence as they have not been internationally tested. At lock we have been missing Chris Jack and Ali Williams, while Brad Thorn has been outstanding and two new guys are up there: Ross and Donnelly. We cannot forget Boric and Eaton, as well. They all need more tests, indeed, but there's no real lack of depth.

Openside flanker is another story and I do conceed there are not many openside flankers for Henry to choose from.

But then, I review what my thoughts about depth are and I say to myself that quality is undoubtedly there, but quality is not exactly depth.

Jake White was always proud of the increasing test experience of his squad. The Boks are, right now, the most experienced squad in the World in number of test caps, with over 600 caps. How many caps do Slade, Donnelly, Cruden, Boric, Eaton and Brett add up?

And then I say to myslef: What the All Blacks need is caps. Not more caps on senior players, but caps on the youngsters. Caps for Kaino, Thomson, de Malmanche, Donald, Masaga, Gear, Ross, Boric, Eaton, Slade, Vito, Cruden...

But how in the hell are you supposed to give caps to the All Blacks if they are neverallowed to lose? Do you choose experience to win a test or capping ahead of the next future?

And then I thought that being the All Blacks coach must be one of the most delicate tasks a person may have in NZ.

But that does not make Henry innocent of doing a "Peter de Villiers" about the penalty goals.


Anonymous said...

I did not read the article but yours was good enough for me to agree to disagree. Let me first disagree with the logic by asking what country has the biggest pool of players in the world. That, of course, would be England. Logic would dictate that the "depth" would almost be infinite in a country that almost has no competition in its resources of players. Yet England loses all the time. Why? It's easy. The players aren't as talented.
Winning a cap for NZ is an honor and it is not given away easily. That is why your answer must be incorrect. NZ has depth. But to become an All Black has something very much to do with England, and that is: "Prizes are the reward of labour. It is not sufficient to carry off the prize, but we should merit it." I'm not an All Black enthusiast but , even as we speak, the best team in the world right now. Great sides don't always play greatly. Even fair sides can have a great streak. Just look at the Springboks, regardless of their 600 caps. If you are a many of literature, read Ozymandias, and think about that piece of aged stone found broken in the desert with the words: " My name is Ozymandias. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair."
Monsieur Rugbycan

sesenta y cuatro said...

I would have always agreed with your point of view, Monsieur Rugbycan, but every time NZ plays France I wonder if NZ players are indeed so talented...

Losing at home to France should mean they aren't as much as we usually think.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that would happen unless France fills their side with expat Souith Africans like Classens and Vosloo and other SH players like Gasnier and Sonny Williams. Then, my Gawd, it could happen once again. But I do not believe France capable of beating the All Blacks presently.