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The All Blacks' good, bad and the brain fade

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012

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All Blacks

Rugby World Cup 2015: Richie McCaw ruled out, Waisake Naholo returns for All Blacks Rural Darlington rugby outpost ticks all the boxes as ABs close in on quarters Waisake Naholo's leg injury has become the Rugby World Cup story that won't die All Blacks stars gather to honour Jerry Collins with match in Toulon Colin Slade says All Blacks 'need to improve a lot of aspects' Malakai Fekitoa's journey from Tonga to All Blacks had some timing issues Battle hardened All Blacks put physicality ahead of polish to avoid the folly of 2007 Australia's domination of England chariot catapults them up World Cup power rankings Waisake Naholo one of three injured All Blacks to sit out World Cup training Stats are not favourable but All Blacks brush off goal kicking concerns at the Rugby World Cup

Liam Napier and Toby Robson cast their eyes over the All Blacks' end-of-year tour.


Cory Jane has confirmed his status as the best wing in world rugby. If he's not scoring tries, he's creating them for others. Classy in Edinburgh, brilliant in Rome, quiet in Cardiff, but ridiculously skilful at Twickenham. Quite simply a joy to watch this bloke play rugby.


Julian Savea sits at the top of a pretty good pile of newcomers. He gets the nod because he improved with every outing, while other contenders, like Aaron Smith, tailed off at the back end of the season. Savea scores tries in bunches, and is strong, fast and increasingly skilful. Twelve tries in nine tests is on a par with the greats. A big career lies ahead.


It's hard to see lock Ali Williams or loose forward Adam Thomson, pictured, playing for the All Blacks again. Thomson is heading overseas, while Williams is well past his prime. Williams has had a solid career but it will take a miraculous return to form for the Blues if he is to remain on the fringes. Steve Hansen's blind faith must be running thin. Williams is still good in the lineout but a modern lock needs a lot more strings to his bow.


With an additional front-rower on this tour and on the bench, prop Ben Franks was something of a spare wheel. Loosehead Wyatt Crockett didn't exactly dominate at scrum time, despite his coach's continuing assertion of his prowess. And Tawera Kerr-Barlow raised as many questions as answers about his ability at this level. And wing Hosea Gear has fallen behind Savea and Jane in the pecking order. Gear has been brilliant at times this season but consistency continues to be his work-on.


Andrew Hore takes out the worst by some distance for his brain fade in Cardiff. It'll live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons.

Liam Messam, pictured, capped the best moment when he scored the try of the year - against Wales in a sweeping counter-attack that displayed everything good about All Black rugby as the backs and forwards combined. It's a pity the IRB try of the year nominations came out in the days beforehand.

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- Fairfax Media

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Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

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