Selections will give Magpies and fans a lift

By SHANE HURNDELL

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In 10 years when Hawke's Bay rugby fans are sitting down and discussing some of the better Magpies teams the 2012 outfit won't rate a mention.

Fair enough too ... statistics don't lie. Played 10 in the ITM Cup premiership, won three, lost seven. Points for: 170. Points against: 301. Two Ranfurly Shield challenges played and both lost.

The most painful stat ... seventh place and relegated to the championship for 2013.

As ugly as these statistics are at least one Magpie is likely to gain All Black selection on Monday, three should gain Maori All Black selection on Monday and at least 11 Magpies are likely to be named in Super Rugby squads.

Yes there will be some positives for Magpies fans and sponsors to toast and chat about at the team's November 15 awards function.

After being one of the star All Blacks during the recent Championship campaign which involved tests against the Wallabies, Springboks and Pumas it will be a surprise if Magpies fullback Israel Dagg isn't named in the All Blacks end-of-year tour party on Monday.

With Dagg tipped to retain the premier award at tonight's Ngati Kahungunu Sports Awards function in Waipukurau it has the potential to be another big week in the career of the Lindisfarne College product.

As Magpies hooker and former All Black Hika Elliot pointed out after the Magpies Ranfurly Shield Challenge loss to Waikato in Hamilton a fortnight ago, the Magpies season did little to enhance his chances of joining Dagg on the ABs tour. This being the case Elliot is likely to be named in the Maori All Blacks northern hemisphere squad on Monday.

Provided he has recovered from his hamstring injury Magpies winger Zac Guildford should experience his first taste of Maori All Black selection and it will be a surprise if Magpies openside flanker Karl Lowe isn't named in the national side he last represented in 2010.

Come Wednesday Magpies fans can expect the likes of Lowe, Guildford, Elliot and Dagg to be named in the same Super Rugby teams they represented earlier this year.

Likewise Andrew Horrell, Ben Tameifuna, Tino Nemani, Chris Eaton and Richard Buckman.

I'm predicting Elliot's deputy and former Blues rake Ash Dixon and Magpies captain and No8 Mike Coman to be new Hurricanes.

If they are not fully contracted Canes they should at least be in the wider training group.

After three seasons in the Canes wider training group Coman is more than ready for promotion.

Most Super Rugby teams will name three hookers on Wednesday and Dixon should get the Canes' third berth behind Dane Coles and Motu Matu'u.

Coles, in the wake of his form for premiership semifinalists Wellington, is my tip to pip Elliot for the third rake's role in the ABs on Monday.

If those predictions prove correct lock Ross Kennedy, who was on the Crusaders roster this year, will be the only Magpie not to retain a Super contract for next year. We're picking he will miss out to All Blacks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano and Canterbury ITM Cup players, Hawke's Bay age-group product Dominic Bird, and Luke Katene in the battle for the Crusaders locking berths.

My selection predictions for Magpies during the coming week:

Israel Dagg: All Blacks and Crusaders.

Zac Guildford: Maori All Blacks (if fit) and Crusaders.

Hika Elliot: Maori All Blacks and Chiefs.

Karl Lowe: Maori All Blacks and Hurricanes.

Andrew Horrell: Chiefs.

Ben Tameifuna: Chiefs.

Tino Nemani: Chiefs.

Chris Eaton: Hurricanes.

Richard Buckman: Hurricanes.

Mike Coman: Hurricanes.

Ash Dixon: Hurricanes.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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