The All Blacks squad is pretty predictable in most ways. The fullbacks are what one would expect, Mils M, Israel D, Isaia T. There are really only two wings. I am disappointed Maitland missed out, and surprised Sivivatu is excluded. Only two specialist wings is a surprise. The midfield is entirely as expected, Fruean has not done enough despite his power. Only Slade has the full set of skills for the first five back up, despite the improvements in Cruden. The half backs were as expected.
In the forwards Read was a certainty as was McCaw, Kaino and Thomson. I really think they need another genuine open side flanker. That being said, it is clear that they are going for a more power-based side, and are not going to play the speed-go wide all the time game. That is the Aussie approach. As I see the team, there is actually no genuine open sider, McCaw plays like a number 6 now.
The locks are as one might expect, with Hoeata forcing his way in. I think our lineout is vulnerable without real tall timber, and I can see the South Africans in particular, targeting their lineout very closely. We are vulnerable here.
I am disappointed Crockett is not in, but aside from this the front row is still very strong – despite Flynn's lineout throwing in the Final. His form was irresistible though.
So, I would have preferred Todd for Messam, Sivivatu for Guildford, and Crockett perhaps for Woodcock (not sure on that). Aside from that, it is what one might expect.
I think we are clearly going for a power game as opposed to a pace-wide game. This is clear from the selection of the outside backs with three fullbacks, along with the selection of the loosies. Expect a conservative approach.
Whether this can contain the Australians I am not sure. We can beat everyone else.