There is growing speculation that Kieran Reid will play at blindside against the Wallabies in Perth this Saturday.
The core role of both the openside flanker and the No. 8 is to retain possession when our team have the ball and regain the ball when the opposition have it. Sam Cane and Ardie Savea are the best in New Zealand at this role. But our fabulous captain is short of a gallop as a hunter and gatherer at the moment. He needs more game time to build the hard edge required mentally to be a world class exponent of this role. Australia have two world class players in this category: David Pocock and Michael Hooper, so the battle at the breakdown will be epic and could well determine the result.
The blindside flanker must be an aggressive attacker and defender – his core role is to make an impact as a carrier on attack and in defence. Kieran doesn’t fit this mould like Jerry Collins or Jerome Kaino did, in a position with less opportunity to be on the ball. He is ideally suited to a more scripted role from second or third phase where he will carry and defend effectively. Will he hurt people on attack and in defence? I don’t think so, but 80 minutes of hard minded workload will do him a lot of good mentally and that’s why I support this idea for the first of our two matches against Australia.
This loose forward trio will have a high work rate and they will need it to win RWC as there is no room to carry any passengers, particularly at this demanding level of the game.