1. Wyatt Crockett
The Giant Wyatt Crockett has become known for his dominating scrums, scary big tackles, and strong ball carrying, he has established himself as a feared loose head, and as pointed out by Tank, many tight heads will breathe a sigh of relief by the giant omission of Crockett. NZ coach Graham Henry opted for the more experienced option of Tony Woodcock, and there is no doubt, as the tournament will be held in NZ that many local supporters will miss Crockett’s bruising play.
2. Schalk Brits
Schalk Brits has been regarded as the best Hooker in the Northern Hemisphere arguably for two seasons now, many now make reference to Brits whenever describing a lively hooker, he has almost become a new generation of Hooker(much like he was when he was still at the Stormers). He has apparently Matured , and has a great rugby brain to go with his all round skills. Saracens coach Brendan Venter has called Brits, the best player he has ever coached. Brits has represented SA in a few tests, but has largely been overlooked, with local talent being deemed good enough.
Honorable mention: Matthew Rees
3. Brian Mujati
He has been called up by many Couch critics to replace Jannie and save the Bok scrum(not that the Bok scrum needed any saving on Saturday against the AB’s), but whether Eligible or not, he won’t be travelling to the WC. I haven’t seen much of him up North, but people say he has outscrummed most in Europe. Mujati has become a fan favourite, and would have been a brilliant option to have at the WC.
4. Chris Jack
The All blacks seem to have little need for the services of Jack, He returned to NZ after a short stint at WP, to get his NZ career back on track, he had more than enough time, and he was probably hoping to get back into WC contention, unfortunately for him, Sam Whitelock appeared on the scene, and since then, Jack has been seen on the Crusaders’ bench, he then had to make way for Luke Romano on the bench… Everything may have turned out different were he to sign with any other NZ side than the Crusaders, as a starting position was then almost a certainty, Jack may be past his prime, but he looked good when he did come on, He is 32, Matfield is 34 and Sharpe 33 , the other two big Southern Hemisphere teams held onto their old stalwards, unfortunately for the Jack fans, NZ didn’t.
5. Andries Bekker
The from lock in 2010, and very close to the form lock in 2011 , He has lived in the shadow of Victor Matfield, but would’ve been a sure WC squad member, until he was ruled out by inury. Bekker has been keeping Matfield on his toes for some time, transforming himself from a once one dimensional “light” lock, to an all round bruising physical player, who still has his trademark runs down the wing. he is also a very good line-out jumper, and at 2.08m tall, has very few equals in teh air.
6. Martym Williams
Williams may not be that “good” anymore, specially at his age, but he’s a figure that motivates and inspires on the field. unfortunately, he was denied the opportunity to play his 100th test match(currently on 99) or to play in his 4th World Cup, a long successful career perhaps came to an end.
7. Juan Smith
He ruled himself out of WC contention after announcing he will not be recovred in time for selection. Many have questioned the use of Danie Rossouw on the side of the scrum in the Tri Nations 2011, but De Villiers pointed out that if Smith isn’t fit in time, Danie is his second choice blindsider, (I personnally don’t agree with this) Hopefully fellow flanker Schalk Burger recovers fully and makes the blindside position his own, as we’ve leaarned Danie is not the option. Juan played a huge part in the Springboks’ 2007 World Cup victory.
Honorable mention: Joe Worsley
8. Sebastien Chabal
Chabal is world wide known for his cave man look, he is also coincidently a very hard man on the field, very quick for his size, a scary defender and ball carrier. Chabal is a fan favbourite, he has represented France mainly from the bench though, in resent times, covering lock , 8th man and flank, He is said to be one of the most expensive players in Europe. At test level, he has in my opinion never really lived up to the hype(if it was ever possible) he wasn’t really given a starting position consistently enough to make his mark the way he would’ve liked, Some say his exclusion isn’t based on rugby reasons, and that would make sense as Chabal’s explosive play makes him just too valuable to discard.
Honorable mention: Thomas Waldrom
9. Sarel Pretosius
Sarel scored 9 tries in this year’s Super15, he has been poached by Australian side, the Waratahs in the meantime, (after not being included in South-Africa’s WC plans) Sarel has been very good on attack, and less so on defence. His direct approach has been at the heart of the Cheetahs’ success this year. he was known as Super-Sarel after his explosive season. A player who would add value to any WC squad in the world.
10. Matt Giteau
Matt Giteau was officially excluded when Robbie Deans announced his final 30-man WC squad.. The Aussies have great versatility in their backline players, and have multiple options, Deans however prefered Berrick Barnes for the backuup FH position, a decision that may just come back to haunt him should Australia fail to reach the final(as I feel anyhting less would be seen as a failure)
11. Hosea Gear
I can just imagine the NZ supporters aren’t extremely happy about the omission of Gear. Hosea is one of the deadliest finishers in the world. he, with his limited starting opportunities, has a very good conversion rate, and has scored tries in most matches he has started. Gear being a local boy will surely be missed in NZ, should NZ fail to win the WC, this omission amongst others will be questioned.
Honorable mention: David Smith
12. Yannick Jauzion
With the French known to blow hot and cold, their “star” Centre has also followed suit. He scored a try in France’s historic WC win over NZ in 2007, he is a very good direct centre. He has been in good form in recent years, although I have no idea on his current form, his 73 national caps worth of experience makes him another strange omission.
few quality centres have been omitted
13. Mathieu Bastareaud
The 22-year old 112kg Bastareaud has only a couple of caps to his name, he was however the talk of the town after scoring two tries on debut against Scotland. but he hasn’t been without controversy, as he returned early from a tour to NZ after sustaining facial injuries, claiming to have been attacked , police inversigation later confimed there was no attack, Bastareaud then admitted he was drunk and a fall caused the injuries, and that he made the story yp in order to avoid getting trouble from the coaching staff. He’s fallen out of favour in the meantime, a very strong running outisde centre. and If this was actually fielded , I like the French combination in midfield.
14. Sitiveni Sivivatu
I rate Sivivatu very high, he is a pacy winger who is also very strong on his feet. NZ coach Graham Henry however prefers to play wingers with a good kiking boot, and who are better suited under the high ball. traditional wingers like Lelia Masaga and Rene Ranger have also missed out as a result.
15. Gavin Henson
Henson, the Welsh superstar whho has never played a single World Cup game. Gavin Henson is a very solid player, even on a bad day, he’s a very strong defender, has a good kicking boot. I know Henson is nowhere near he’s best currently, but an on form Henson would be a very good option at Fullback or inside centre. Not too long ago, it actually sounded as if Wales management were considerring including Henson, but it seems Henson will miss another World Cup, he has parted from rugby for almost two years, and one can only wonder what Henson’s career would’ve delivered had he not become famous for all the wrong reasons.
Honorable mentions: Luke Fitzgerald , Hugo Southwell
I’ve picked some players purely because I like their style of play, and would’ve nejoyed seeing them at the 2011 World Cup, however, with most squads recently announced, there have been quite a few arguably nig omissions, I’d like to hear any suggestions on players who you think should make the team, and why.
I think if this team was included into the World Cup, (surely we could scrape together a bench, or even complete a 30-man squad) they would give quite a few teams a real run for their money.