Rugby World Cup
Who dumped who? The Squire v Hansen question
Steve Hansen appears to have pulled off a schoolyard romance breakup classic - begging Liam Squire to go out with him again just so he could have the pleasure of being the one doing the dumping.
Who left who standing at the altar?
That is one of the intriguing questions over the non-selection of Liam Squire in the All Blacks World Cup squad.
Reports on the eve of the squad-naming suggested Squire had made himself available for the big dance, having previously been unavailable for Rugby Championship duty due to a lack of form, self-belief, fitness or interest. Take your pick on that lot.
But, with the All Blacks loose forwards operating at less than 100 percent effectiveness without Squire in the mix, moves were clearly made to at least create the option of bringing him back into the fold for Japan.
What were those moves, what happened to kill them off, and did Steve Hansen and co really go as far as seeking confirmation that Squire would accept an invitation to their party only to not send him on?
The answers to those questions will be fascinating.
Same, too, to the other question non-hardcore rugby fans will be asking themselves: who is Luke Jacobson?
This column wasn’t overly engaged with Super Rugby this season, but nor did we totally ignore it.
Our moderate level of interest, though, was enough to leave us floundering without a single memory of Luke Jacobson doing anything on a rugby field. Or off a rugby field, for that matter.
We’ll have to assume he’s quite a handy player.
Somewhat excitingly, Jacobson's middle name is Brittain, which immediately pushes him near to the top of the ‘All Blacks with interesting middle names’ list – slotting in just behind Zinzan Valentine Brooke and Peter Standish Burke, but still a long way behind Phillippe Sidney de Quetteville Cabot.
Of the candidates who missed out who were definitely available, Hurricanes duo Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fifita appear to be the most unlucky – Laumape because he is a solid player who has never put a foot wrong in a black jersey, and Fifita because he lost his spot to a bloke whose most noteworthy facet is his middle name.
Having launched an insidious campaign to have national hero Sonny Bill Williams omitted in his stead, Newsroom’s rugby editor Jim Kayes will no doubt be chuntering away about Laumape’s fate.
But, despite there being a logical case for it, nobody seriously expected Williams to be axed. You can’t just go dropping players with social media profiles that high willy nilly, even in a World Cup year.
Of course, the biggest ‘shock’ was the omission of Owen Franks – a player who somehow managed to churn out 108 test matches without catching the eye any more than Luke Brittain Jacobson did in his one.
Rugby experts will debate the wisdom of that move, placing themselves in the questionable position of suggesting they know a single bleeding thing about the dark art of scrummaging. Popular wisdom is that Franks is good at scrummaging, but increasingly less good at everything else.
We’re happy to go along with that, noting only for the record that his middle name is Thomas, which isn’t really all that notable.
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