Troy Flavell would have been a better World Cup option than Reuben Thorne, says former All Black Zinzan Brooke.
Flavell was omitted from the group of 30, while Thorne, who coach Graham Henry favours as a utility player who can slot in at lock and blindside flank, will travel to France. Writing in his column on the BBC website, Brooke remains perplexed with this decision.
“I can’t work out why he [Flavell] has been left out and Reuben Thorne has been included. Thorne is not going to be in the starting lineup and he is not an impact player, so I find that a bit strange.”
Flavell has had a strong season with the Blues with some great performances in the line-out and an incredible work-rate around the park. Brooke believes he could have filled this utility role and if not he perhaps should have got the nod ahead of a guy like Sione Lauaki.
“Sione Lauaki is a bit of a bolter,” said Brooke. “He is a good ball carrier and strong in defence but visually, to me, he seems to be carrying a bit of blubber. He looks like he needs to lose 5kg or 6kg.”
“If Rodney So’oialo is injured or rested, I’d probably look at Chris Masoe at No 8.”
In spite of these disagreements on selection, Brooke stated the All Blacks still have the best chance of winning the World Cup since the first tournament in 1987.
“We are definitely way ahead of where we were in 2003. In that year and every other tournament since the All Blacks won the first World Cup in 1987, I felt there were better teams round.
“In 1999 there was no way we were going to win it, in 1991 we were just a crap team and in 1995 we missed our opportunity to win. But that was probably the only time where we should have won it.”