Todd will worry about what he can control
Matt Todd's phone has gone cold. Since learning he wasn't in the 35-man All Blacks training squad, Todd hasn't expected a condolence call from coach Steve Hansen.
On that front he hasn't been disappointed. The Crusaders openside flanker, who was overlooked after the Chiefs' Sam Cane was preferred as specialist backup to Richie McCaw, didn't receive a call from Hansen telling him the reasons for his rejection.
Having also selected Adam Thomson in his training group, which will be reduced to 30 when the squad to face Ireland is confirmed on June 3, Hansen believes he has the players to cover skipper McCaw during the three-test series.
"No, I haven't spoken to him [Hansen] about that," Todd said in reference to his omission. "But there's still plenty of footy to be played and press your case. It is not the end of the world."
Victor Vito also played in the unfamiliar openside spot against Canada during the World Cup, although that was viewed as a stop-gap measure and is unlikely to be repeated against an Irish back row that includes the talented Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip.
Todd met with Hansen when he recently toured the country to speak to selected players from the five Super franchises and the Crusaders breakaway was also on standby during the World Cup.
Although renowned for his ability over the ball at the breakdown, labour in defence and stamina, Todd is not a renowned ball carrier and is probably shaded by Cane in that facet of the game.
To stay in the race with Cane as McCaw's deputy, Todd no doubt needs to please Hansen in some areas, yet he played a straight bat to suggestions it is a difficult assignment to complete if you don't know what they are.
"I guess you just have to keep improving your game all-round. You can't really worry too much about it. I haven't spoken to him [Hansen], so I don't know what his thinking is. You just have to worry about what you can control."
Last weekend Todd was rested and watched the Crusaders' 28-19 shock defeat to the Rebels from his lounge in Christchurch. He starts at No7 against the Blues tomorrow night, with McCaw switching to No8 to cover for the injured Kieran Read.
Todd and McCaw will have to combat the Braid brothers, Luke and Daniel, and the siblings will also be miffed at being ignored by Hansen.
McCaw, meanwhile, expects to have few concerns about adjusting to the No8 role.
"I'm quite happy to play there, it's easier to just let George [Whitelock] stay at blindside in the same slot."
- © Fairfax NZ News