Pick Tuipulotu: Jones
Patrick Tuipulotu deserves a trip to Japan, says former All Blacks lock Ian Jones.
Jones believes taking Tuipulotu as the All Blacks’ fourth lock to the World Cup next month should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury - especially with Brodie Retallick still recovering from a shoulder injury.
Retallick dislocated his shoulder against South Africa a month ago, and may not be declared fit until the sudden-death phase of the global tournament which starts on October 19-20.
Taking only two fit specialist locks in Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett will be too risky believes Jones, who played 79 tests and represented the All Blacks at three World Cups between 1989 and 1999.
Jones would rather the All Blacks’ went into their first pool game against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21 with a full quota of tall men, instead of asking a loose forward to provide back-up for Whitelock and Barrett.
“Without a specialist lock in that position, I think it is too big a risk,” Jones said. “The risk you take is to drop that game … and Brodie might not be ready for the quarterfinal and you have the same scenario, potentially, against who knows - Ireland?
“So I don’t think we can take that risk. I would prefer that we have specialists in those roles.”
When the All Blacks drew 16-all with South Africa in Wellington on July 27, they not only lost Retallick after a crude clean-out by replacement lock RG Snyman.
They also left knowing the South African forwards had lost none of their aggressive attitude, and will be prepared to use brute force once again when they meet next in Yokohama.