NZ Rugby World

Anton Lienert-Brown,


26, had a year blighted by injuries but still managed to start five tests at centre and one at second five. Interestin­gly the Almanack editors have him there in their team of the year. Like the other two, he needs more size, but he has great skills, is a good defender and has plenty of experience. His versatilit­y means he’s always going to make the squad, but he may struggle to get consistent starts.

In his pomp, Julian Savea was a magnificen­t All Blacks wing with his size, power and pace more than a handful for most would-be tacklers. He wants to play second five and if he can master the job descriptio­n, his size, power and pace should make him tough to stop there again. Working against Savea is his age, he’s 31, and that the Hurricanes see him as a wing, rather than a midfielder. That will have to change. He needs games, and lots of them, to get noticed and to impress the selectors.

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