Wynne Gray 's Opinion

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: So far so good for new look All Blacks

14 comments
Blindside flanker Jerome Kaino is the greatest loss to the All Black team and the search still continues for someone to be his regular replacement.  Photo / Natalie Slade
Blindside flanker Jerome Kaino is the greatest loss to the All Black team and the search still continues for someone to be his regular replacement. Photo / Natalie Slade

The All Blacks have been travelling well. They have a settled squad and in six tests have avoided taking too many dings.

Ali Williams is the one long-term casualty from the original squad but in his absence, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick have been doing just fine.

Sonny Bill Williams has left and Daniel Carter has a sore peg while Cory Jane came fizzing back, Charlie Faumuina has come right and Conrad Smith has returned to the starting combo.

Not bad you'd have to say after six tests. Not bad compared to some of the injury woes which have beset the Wallabies and Springboks.

Who's not available to be in the All Black mix? There is Richard Kahui, Anthony Boric, Colin Slade and Jerome Kaino and that's about it.

Of that quartet, blindside flanker Kaino is the greatest loss and the search still continues for someone to be his regular replacement. Gaps left by the others have been occupied.

The Springboks meanwhile, have been taking hits all across the park.

It happens but had the All Blacks suffered such a collection of injuries, there would have been acres of newsprint and footage devoted to those calamities and the team struggles.

This is just a note about the Springbok casualty list, a reminder of their woes.

It is not a subversive item delivered by someone from the South African Rugby Union or an excuse for what they have delivered in the last two Rugby Championship tests.

Men such as Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Chiliboy Ralapelle, Bismarck du Plessis, Siya Kolisi, JP Pietersen, Bjorn Basson, Guthro Steenkaamp, Heinrich Brussouw, Juan Smith, and Coenie Oosthuizen are all in the casualty ward.

That is a fair chunk of talent not available to coach Heyneke Meyer. Several on this trip needed medical clearances for tonight's test while Eben Etzebeth is banned after his stupid head tap in Perth.

Even domestic coaches warned that talented players such as Johan Goosen and Duane Vermeulen were not fit enough after injury, for the rigors of the Rugby Championship.

Injuries are occupational hazards for rugby players but when they come in bunches and to layers of senior players, coaches become very twitchy.

New Zealand has escaped cluster problems in certain positions while South Africa is feeling the pinch in finding enough depth at test level.

Across the Ditch, the Wallabies are finding that task even more difficult as they have shed players in clumps this season.

- NZ Herald

Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

NZ Herald senior rugby writer Wynne Gray has been covering the All Blacks for almost 25 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

Read more by Wynne Gray

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 29 Jul 2014 06:30:20 Processing Time: 468ms