Both the Wallaby and All Black squads have been announced for the next Tri-Nations at Eden Park. For the Wallabies their captain and kiwi destroyer Mortlock is back. Cross drops to the bench and Tahu gets across the ditch as the 23rd man (I guess this gives an idea on Aussie Robbie’s rating of the ex-Mungo).
The only other change from Sydney is Phil Waugh in for the injured Rocky Elsom. I reckon Waugh would be the best 6 Australia had ever seen if he was a foot and a half taller, and it’ll be interesting to see how having two fetchers on the ground works with the ELVs and the one-trick pony Kiwis relying on McCaw back from injury. Rocky took a bit of ball at 2 in the line-out, so we’ll see how that goes, being the biggest reason why Waugh and Smith don’t play together regularly.
For the AB’s it’s all a bit messy. For example christ knows which of their half-backs will play, or whether they’ll just randomly cycle them on and off the field. The only certain things being that McCaw’s back, along with McDonald for Tuitivake (did he touch the ball on Sat?) and Lauaki’s no-where to be found on the bench or anywhere near the All Black squad until he dies.
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (c), Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Phil Waugh, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.
Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Dan Vickerman, Hugh McMeniman, Sam Cordingley, Ryan Cross, Drew Mitchell.
Leon MacDonald, Mils Muliaina, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan/Piri Weepu/Andrew Ellis, Rodney So’oialo, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Andrew Hore/Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Hore/Mealumu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Adam Thomson/Daniel Braid, Cowan/Weepu/Ellis, Stephen Donald, Richard Kahui.