So'oialo: I deserved to be benched
August 28, 2009
All Blacks back row Rodney So'oialo during a training session at the North Sydney Oval in Sydney on August 20, 2009
Rodney So'oialo freely admits that he is still struggling to rediscover his best form © Getty Images

Rodney So'oialo has admitted that New Zealand boss Graham Henry was right to drop him from the starting line-up for last weekend's Tri-Nations clash with Australia.

So'oialo has been a mainstay of the All Blacks' back row for the past four years but he was surprisingly left on the bench for the game in Sydney, with Kieran Read getting the nod at No.8 instead.

It was a disappointment for So'oialo but the decision did not take him by surprise given his recent struggles to shake off the affects of a troublesome neck injury.

"I felt I was slightly off the pace because I was out of the game for a while," he said. "Being put on the bench last week I thought was a terrific decision because I was slightly out of pace. I fully support them in their reasoning for putting me on the bench."

So desperate is he to rediscover his best form, So'oialo has now requested that he be allowed to line out for his province, Wellington, twice in the next week.

The majority of the current All Black squad have only been released for one round of Air New Zealand Cup action but So'oialo is keen to get in as much game time as possible.

"I was the one that suggested it. I do need a game, hence the reason why I tried to get two games in instead of the one," he said. "But after the Bay of Plenty (two weeks ago) and last week (against Australia) I certainly feel I'm getting back to where I should be."

So'oialo also conceded that current Tri-Nations pacesetters South Africa deserve to be considered the best side in the world at the moment, even though the Kiwi No.8 is not exactly enamoured with the Springboks' style of play.

"They are ranked number one. At the moment they are playing a game that isn't attractive but is effective," said So'oialo. "I think they can take a little bit of confidence in that they're playing well. They've beaten the All Blacks and the Australians. They can take a bit of confidence out of that.

"But the All Blacks and the Australians will want to take it to them the next time they play."


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