World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry has committed the
ultimate sin in rugby-mad New Zealand, suggesting it would
not hurt the All Blacks if they lose a game before they
defend the Webb Ellis trophy next year in England.
With just under 12 months to go until the World Cup, Aaron
Smith is casting such a big shadow over the other halfbacks
in the country it's hard to see how they will get a chance to
convince the selectors they are up to featuring in the All
Blacks' title defence.
Exactly one year out from the start of their World Cup
defence in England and Wales, a tournament which, if the last
is any indication, will test them to the absolute fullest,
the All Blacks are in excellent mental shape.
Malakai Fekitoa will probably wear Ma'a Nonu's No12 jersey
against Argentina in Buenos Aires but Ryan Crotty, who will
return to the game from injury for Canterbury next week, is
looming as a key figure in the All Blacks' re-match against
the Springboks in South Africa.