Mark Telea ruled out of All Blacks team for breaching protocol
Star wing Mark Telea will miss Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland for breaching team protocols.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has dropped winger Mark Telea for a disciplinary breach and replaced him with Leicester Fainga’anuku for the World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland on Saturday.
Telea was the first-choice left winger coming into the tournament and scored two tries in the opening loss to France and another in the 96-17 thrashing of Italy in New Zealand’s third pool match.
“It was a breach of protocol,” said Foster. “Nothing major, but enough to keep him out of selection for this week. We still love him and he’s training well, so let’s see what happens.
“It is what it is,” he added. “Just for us, it’s pretty clear cut … I don’t really want to talk about it any more. We’ve dealt with it as a team and moved on.
“We believe in what we stand for. And I think that it speaks volumes for the team that we’re willing to make that sort of decision in this sort of week.”
Foster gave Fainga’anuku a runout in New Zealand’s last pool game against Uruguay and the power winger responded with a hat-trick while showing his versatility by finishing the game in the centres.
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Foster said the All Blacks were fully prepared to take on the number one team in the world on Saturday and said the loss to the Irish in a home Test series last year would mean nothing when it came time for kick-off at Stade de France.
“This team is ready,” he said.
“If you look at this year, the whole thing is about getting ready for a World Cup and making sure we’re primed to perform at this stage of the tournament.
“We’re excited by the challenge, we know how good Ireland are, and they deserve all the plaudits they get, but playoff rugby is about who’s best on the day.
Other than Telea’s omission, there were no real surprises in the team.
Foster brought back all of his big guns, with number eight Ardie Savea, fullback Beauden Barrett, lock Scott Barrett and scrumhalf Aaron Smith all returning to the starting lineup after being rested against Uruguay.
In the front row, loosehead prop Ethan de Groot returns after suspension and Tyrel Lomax starts at tighthead, having recovered from a knee injury he suffered against Uruguay.
In one minor surprise on the bench, Finlay Christie was preferred to young gun Cam Roigard as backup to Smith at scrumhalf.
“We just felt that it’s horses for courses for this particular game,” Foster said. “We think Finlay’s got an edge defensively. We think there’s a lot of action likely to happen around the ruck, defensively.” Reuters/DM
Team: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Will Jordan, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-Jordie Barrett, 11-Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Sam Cane (captain), 6-Shannon Frizell, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Samuel Whitelock, 20-Dalton Papali’i, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-Damian McKenzie, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown