3 days ago
Brent Todd is back in black
Todd - along with coach Daniel Anderson and assistant coach Tony Kemp - will be a selector for this season's two tests against the world champion Kangaroos.
Todd ranks as the most successful Kiwi to play in the Australian league competition. He picked up two premiership wins with Canberra, appeared in four grand finals and played 27 tests for the Kiwis from 1985 to 1993.
And the trio could be in for a tough task when it comes to making their final decision.
"There are some very good forwards running around," Anderson said. "There aren't many backs. The wing position is a curly one. Matt Utai, Henry Faafili and Francis Meli are all playing excellent football - just to mention three. In the centres you've got three - Nigel Vagana, Willie Talau and Clinton Toopi, for a start. Jamaal Lolesi is playing very good football for the Raiders. Blokes haven't been forgotten. We're looking at a lot of them.
In the forwards there are too many to mention." Anderson said the key was to pick a balanced side. "I'm in a situation where if I play one guy I have to pick someone who can counter," he said. "If I put in a player the calibre of Joe Vagana, for instance, then obviously we'll have to carry a back-rower who can last long periods because Joe's not going to. I've only got 12 interchanges. It's got to be balanced. If we pick one player because of their certain attributes, someone else might miss out if they're the same style of player."
The Kiwis play the Kangaroos on July 25 and then again in October, in Auckland. Anderson said he'd continue to bring former Kiwis stars into the team environment to provide inspiration and motivation as the side prepares for the tests.
Meanwhile 2002 assistant Kiwis coach Gerard Stokes will coach the New Zealand A team on their end-of-season tour to the UK.