On Saturday night we had a bit of a preview of what may await at the business end of the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Ellis, Slade, Carter and Crotty are all see as likely RWC15 squad members, yet against a side with no All Black forwards they did not really look that threatening despite all that great ball they got.
Should we be worried? Of course.
Ellis Had his moments, as you would expect from a halfback behind a dominant pack. But what did he really do? He got replaced after 50 minutes by a guy who kept kicking the ball to the Hurricanes back three with lots of room to build the match-winning tries back.
Slade, Clearly now the understudy to Barrett for All Black #10 had a mixed bag. He set up Carter’s early try, then passed the ball into the back of Nonu to set up Barrett’s runaway effort. He would then bounce off Julia Savea (it’s not meant to be that way around) before missing all sorts of shots at goals to leave the conundrum unresolved.
Dan Carter. Has Nonu not forgiven him for that Mascara giggling in 2004? Every time he got the ball he was smothered. Missed touch at times too. He probably needs to spend some time at #10, but that’s not really fair on Slade
Crotty. The Hipster Beard Darling. You may have missed it, but he did play on Saturday night. And had a real knack of not picking up Milner-Skudder.
It’s a fair bet that the bulk of those four will be part of the wider team come knock-out time in 2015. What do you think about that?