Becoming a successful coach is 80% selection. Eddie Jones emphasised this last week when he presented his module on selection at IRANZ Live. It’s not simply choosing the best players – it’s profiling these players, identifying the game plan and selecting the combinations capable of implementation.
The All Black selectors will be reviewing the test, looking at what worked and what didn’t. With an 80% win-ratio over the last 100 years our selectors will be painfully aware we have only one win from our last three matches. The first five eight position is generally considered the most influential position and the selection of Richie Mo’unga ahead of Beauden Barrett has been controversial. After our loss to England in the RWC semi-final, I was surprised Mo’unga was retained. However, two of the selectors were themselves outstanding first fives and both have strategic vision, so I accepted their selection.
There will be changes. I’m picking there will be five. In normal times this would be unusual. However, leading into RWC19 the All Black selectors were trying to build a test team of thirty players to have all bases covered in case of injuries or form loss. Meritorious for sure, but this has been to the detriment of combinations. There is no doubt proven combinations win test matches and I’m picking the selectors will need to be bold if they are to retain the Bledisloe Cup.
My All Black team would feature the selection of proven players in specialist positions. Beauden Barrett at 10, his brother Jordie at 15, Lienert-Brown at 13, Caleb Clarke at 11 and Dane Coles at 2.