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'Clunky, wooden' Julian Savea dropped by All Blacks as Israel Dagg returns

The world player of the year-nominated Hurricanes wing won’t play on his home turf this weekend.

Dagg and Savea performing the haka in Twickenham two years ago.
Dagg and Savea performing the haka in Twickenham two years ago.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

JULIAN SAVEA, ONE of the stars of New Zealand’s run to last year’s World Cup win and their highest active try-scorer, has been dropped out of the 23 for this weekend’s Test against Wales in Wellington.

The powerful wing scored during last week’s 39 – 21 win over Warren Gatland’s side, but was replaced early in the second half as season-long reservations over his fitness came to the fore on the international stage.

The Hurricanes wing will not feature in Super Rugby side’s home ground, instead replaced by fullback Israel Dagg, who was omitted from the World Cup squad, with Ben Smith moving to the wing.

The only other change to the side who struggled to break down Wales last weekend is the return of Sam Whitelock to the second row.

Head coach Steve Hansen called Savea’s display last weekend ‘clunky’ and ‘wooden’, but hoped to see the 25-year-old shake off the habit of over-thinking his game.

“When you do that, you end up being like a robot really. We want the instinctive Jules. When he’s like that he hurts people,” Hansen said after naming his team.

“When you see them training really well but then you see them have a performance which is clunky and pretty wooden, you can usually tell without having to be a psychologist that there’s something going on.”

New Zealand (v Wales, Saturday 18 June)

15. Israel Dagg
14. Ben Smith
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Waisake Naholo
10. Aaron Cruden
9. Aaron Smith

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Sam Cane
8. Kieran Read – Capt.

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Replacements:

16. Nathan Harris
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Patrick Tuipulotu
20. Ardie Savea
21. TJ Perenara
22. Beauden Barrett
23. Seta Tamanivalu

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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