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Savea, Cane or Todd - Who gets to wear the No. 7 jersey against the Lions?

Newshub logoNewshub 19/05/2017 Newshub staff

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You would be hard pressed to find a time when New Zealand arguably had the best three openside flankers in world rugby playing in the same generation.

The history of great No. 7s over the last 50 years has been quite remarkable: Ian Kirkpatrick, Jock Hobbs, Graham Mourie, Michael Jones, Josh Kronfeld and of course, Richie McCaw.

But to have three world class tearaways showing off their skills week in, week out, is a decadent treat for any rugby fan.

Sam Cane, Matt Todd and Ardie Savea all very special talents - but who is the best?

This week on the roundtable, a selection of our rugby heads attempt to rank the three in order.

 

Mark Richardson, AM Show

Sam Cane

Ardie Savea

Matt Todd

Forever in the shadow of Richie McCaw, Sam Cane shined a little bit when he got his chance and that is no mean feat when you play in a role where you can't avoid being benchmarked against greatness.

Savea is a great impact player but still a bit schizophrenic to be a starter for mine. If you can't start then you're not number one. Comes into his own when the game loosens up and looses shape.

Todd is a good honest workingman's openside but lacks that X-factor needed to be the best in the New Zealand rugby environment. The Stephen Donald of opensides.

 

John Day, RadioLIVE rugby reporter

Sam Cane

Ardie Savea

Matt Todd

All Blacks' form is all that matters when assessing the best three opensides in New Zealand and Sam Cane definitely saves his best for the highest level.

Cane consistently leads the stats that matter for the All Blacks: tackles made, turnovers completed, and is the physically strongest of the three options.

Ardie Savea is the most dynamic of the trio and can break a game open, while Matt Todd is third in the pecking order and never lets anyone down.

  • Have your say

Ollie Ritchie, Newshub Sport Wellington reporter

Matt Todd

Sam Cane

Ardie Savea

Its close at the top between Todd and Cane, but this year in particular Todd has starred at openside for the Crusaders. His work rate is second to none and ability to generate turnover ball at the breakdown makes him a nightmare for oppositions.

In contrast, Cane has had a quieter year but will still do good things for the All Blacks and will be a genuine threat, but Todd has risen to the top and deserves to start at 7.

Ardie Savea has been juggled between openside and No. 8 but ultimately his strength will continue to be his impact off the bench.

Ross Karl, Newshub Sport rugby reporter

Sam Cane

Ardie Savea

Matt Todd

Say anything but Ardie Savea in a forum like this and you'll get roasted by the general public. They love him.

Despite that, I think Sam Cane's work rate, dominant defensive play and rugby nouse are a key part of what the All Blacks do. It's all about complimentary skills. If Read and Kaino are fit, he compliments them very well. If they're not, then that changes this whole debate.

I would select Cane, with Savea off the bench. Matt Todd would be outside the initial squad, then would come in and start for Cane if he's injured, with Savea still on the bench.

Matt Tewhatu, Newshub digital sport producer

Sam Cane

Matt Todd

Ardie Savea

I've had to mull this selection over carefully because truth be told, all three are good enough to fill the black number 7 shirt.

While I don't think Sam Cane's been at his best, his experience in Test rugby is vital, and don't forget he spent some solid years being King Richie's apprentice.

Matt Todd showed last year that he's up to pace and the season he's had to date almost gives him the starting 7.

Ardie's gift is that he's versatile which is the only reason he's third for mine - he can play six, seven or eight.

The great thing is that all 3 players can play in the same squad.

David di Somma, Newshub Sport, Christchurch reporter

Ardie Savea

Matt Todd

Sam Cane

If the All Blacks pack is as dominant as you would expect it be, why wouldn't you play Ardie Savea at 7.

He is the most destructive openside in the game, and in the all blacks environment would revel, as opposed to a Hurricanes pack that back-pedalled against the Crusaders.

So Savea is number 1,  Matt Todd is 2 because of his consistency and outstanding form for the past few seasons, and Sam cane is third.  Cane off the bench is a good thing, experienced, hardy and versatile. 

Newshub.

     

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