It’s that time of year when the Northern Hemisphere Journo’s start trolling and release their Rugby World Cup “best ever” XV’s. Invariably it’s stacked with Englishmen and usually makes for rather rancid (yet very effective) bait down this way.
So we got to thinking how about an “alternate” All Black World Cup XV with some names from days gone by that you may have forgotten (and yes these guys all went to a Rugby World Cup or two). If you’re enjoying the RWC Pop-up Channel at present (it’s fantastic viewing btw) keep an eye out for the names below.
15. Ben Blair (went in 2003 in place of some guy called Cullen who apparently was injured and didn’t grip the ball properly).
14. Shayne Philpott (1991 was the ultimate utility and team guy). Yes I wrote that.
11. Caleb Ralph (Was the fittest guy in the 2003 team allegedly). He played 16 tests (yes 16).
13. Ben Atiga (Forget about Frank Bunce, Joe Stanley and Conrad Smith and Leon McDonald).
12. Bernie McCahill (Deemed a better bet than Walter Little in 1991 especially as all Aussie had was some unknown hack named “Tim Horan” at second-five).
10. Jon Preston (Covered 9 as well which was handy when you could only pick 26 back in 1991).
9. Brendon Leonard (Came from nowhere and….well…went straight back there).
8. Andy Earl (refer #14). Their careers had similar arcs for some reason.
7. Mark Brooke Cowden (went to League after the 1987 RWC as Michael Jones had arrived – played well in his one RWC game to be fair).
6. Blair Larsen (from North Harbour).
5. Alby Anderson (“AA” means he was the first All Black named in a RWC squad so gets in for that reason among others).
4. Royce Willis (I’ve seriously got nothing here – can anyone help)?
3. Greg Feek (went in 1999 but didn’t play in the big ones).
2. Graham Dowd (Like Warren Gatland before him found that All Black life was tough when Fitzy was in the team).
1. Graham Purvis (1991 – again found the going tough and game time sparse in the Loe, Dowd and McDowell era.