Choose both


Rather than revisiting the appointment process, I’d like to look at another problem with the current AB coaching panel that is starting to become apparent - they are too afraid to make the tough selection calls.

In my opinion they simply can’t make up their minds and are too afraid to pull the trigger on picking the right team; rather they want to put all of the individuals they rate on the field and hope that their individual brilliance will get us over the line.

I’m going to call it the “can’t choose, so why not both” AB selection policy.

If you have two great 7s (Cane, Savea), let’s choose both, and move one of them to 8 so we can have both, even though that means we’ll have a misbalanced loose forward trio.

If you have two very good 13s, let’s choose both, and move one of them to 12 where they won’t be as effective. Even better, let’s switch them around the wrong way so that they’ll both be playing worse.

If you have two very good 10s, let’s choose both, and move one of them to 15, where he can influence play and we can have two playmakers, but when the shit hits the fan neither of them will step up and drive the team around.

If you have two very good Barretts who can play 15, let’s choose both, and move one of them to the wing, even though that will mean that one of the form players in the country will be out of position and will playing alongside his brother who is also playing out of position.

At least back in the day, when coaches chose between Buck versus Zinzan, or Mehrts versus Spencer, we at least knew where they were going and what they were looking towards, and those decisions drove the results and decisions (by the public) about their selections. These guys are just guessing, and they are hoping that by trying to keep as many people happy for as long as possible, they will stumble across a combination of “choose boths” that will actually be a good team.

But that exposes a fallacy in their approach. By choosing both, they clearly don’t have a picture of the type of game that they want to play. For those who argue (as I have), that Cane should be 7 and Savea off the bench, it is based on an idea that we lead with physical dominance and finish with speed and energy - in other words basically the same pattern that won the WC in 2015. It may well be that we have to move on from that, and need to establish a new pattern where we use Savea’s tools from 7 from minute 1, in which case it’s time for Cane to go and for us to front up to identifying and implementing a new pattern of play.

Either way, these coaches need to start making decisions. Just choose.

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