1

No one in the All Black camp yesterday drew their last breath.

Life goes on, there's a Rugby World Cup to win, even without You Know Who in the All Blacks, and with a question mark, however small, hovering over the other guy's foot.

2 Kieran Read's back. The big No 8 got through his first 50 minutes of the cup against Canada without mishap. Go on, cheer up.

Advertisement

3 One for the Manawatu readers: Aaron Cruden is in. There are those who still reckon the little guy with the twinkly feet should have been there in the first place. Be that as it may, it's time for those people to put their buckets on their heads and get their flags out.

4 Let's begin from the front: Keven, Tony, Owen, Brad, Sam, Richie, Jerome, Kieran, Ma'a, Conrad, Israel for starters. Any campaign which is solely constructed around two players is badly flawed anyway. It's not as if the rest have suddenly become pickles. So collective chins up.

5 The All Blacks have never lost a World Cup match with Colin Slade running the cutter. Or Piri Weepu, or Cruden for that matter.

6 It's not as if Slade is a lemon as a footballer. There's a reason he was named in the squad. His problem - and the problem for anyone else slipping on the skintight No 10 jersey - is going to be the inevitable comparison with the bloke who would have been there.