Fijian centre Semi Radradra makes former All Blacks captain Kieran Read dream 12 team

Fiji’s Semi Radradra would start at centre in Kieran Read’s dream 12. . Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

Kieran Read has revealed his ideal team should he get a chance to coach in the proposed World 12s.

The former All Blacks captain’s dream team includes six All Blacks, including Ardie Savea, Sam Whitelock and Richie Mo’unga, while Springboks Steven Kitsoff and Cheslin Kolbe also feature.

Ex-captain Read, who played the last of his 127 tests at the 2019 World Cup and retired from the game this year, has joined former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen as an ambassador for the World 12s, while former NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew is a non-executive director.

Read recently told Stuff he’d like to coach in the 12-a-side competition, and planned to speak to former teammates of his regarding playing in the touted rugby equivalent of the IPL, which is set to launch with a men’s tournament in England next year, followed by the inaugural women’s tournament in 2023.

World 12s is targetting 192 players for eight franchises. They will play an abbreviated format of the game in teams involving six forwards and six backs, contesting 30-minute matches, with new rules aimed at improving problem areas such as the breakdown and scrum.
It has a goal of generating around $500 million over its first five years, handsomely rewarding all those involved.
It’s that money, and the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the best players in the world, which Hansen believes will make the best players in the world come running.

Read’s ideal side was posted on social media and drew a “like” from former Crusaders and All Blacks teammate Whitelock.

He’s one of six current Crusaders in Read’s dream team, which includes a surprise at fullback in Chay Fihaki, who debuted for the Christchurch-based franchise last year and played two matches in his first year of Super Rugby.

Midfielder David Havili, hooker Codie Taylor, and energetic loose forward Ethan Blackadder are also included, while former Crusaders and Samoan prop Michael Alaalatoa also cracked his team.

Read opted for French halfback Antoine Dupont, regarded by many as the best No 9 in the world, over former All Blacks teammate Aaron Smith.

Read believes the Indian Premier League cricket concept can work in rugby; if the World 12s tournament can get all parties to agree to a blueprint, it could play its part in player welfare, and handsomely reward national unions, clubs, players and coaches.

While he accepted it may take a year or two before the top players can commit, Read was confident it would succeed and offer something out of the chaos created by the pandemic.

Hansen stressed it wasn’t a “rebel” competition, and finding a window in the calendar which suited everyone was essential.

Kieran Read’s dream 12: Chay Fihaki, Cheslin Kolbe, Semi Radradra, David Havili, Richie Mo’unga, Antoine Dupont, Ardie Savea, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Steven Kitsoff.

World 12s will largely follow the laws of 15s, but with these adaptations:

• 12 players in a team – six forwards and six backs

• 15-minute halves

• Conversions will be drop goals only

• Only one scrum reset, followed by a free kick

• Scrum infringements are penalised by a differential penalty (a penalty that cannot be kicked at goal)

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