All Blacks boss says Mark Telea omission 'speaks volumes for the team'

All Black’s head coach Ian Foster says decision to omit Mark Telea after the winger broke curfew ‘speaks volumes for the team’ ahead of New Zealand’s huge Rugby World Cup clash against Ireland

  • Ian Foster has spoken on his decision to drop Mark Telea after he broke curfew
  • The winger was not considered for selection after he breached team protocol
  • But the All Blacks coach said his side are relishing Saturday’s clash vs Ireland 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

All Blacks chief Ian Foster insists his stars are primed to deliver in Saturday’s quarter-final showdown with Ireland – but a disciplinary breach has overshadowed their preparations and deprived them of a star winger.

Mark Telea was not considered for selection after what was termed a breach of team protocol.

New Zealand media were reporting that Telea was dropped for breaking a curfew, which is a remarkable lapse in the biggest week of his career.

The 26 year old only made his All Blacks debut last November, but was brilliant in their loss to France in the opening game of the tournament.

‘For us it’s pretty clean-cut,’ said Foster. ‘I don’t really want to talk about it anymore. We’ve dealt with it as a team and moved on.

Mark Telea has been omitted from New Zealand’s squad to play against Ireland because he broke the team’s curfew protocols this week

All Blacks’ head coach Ian Foster spoke on the decision in a press conference on Thursday saying ‘the decision was pretty clear-cut’

Talea had a stand out performance during the All Black’s Rugby World Cup opener against France

‘We believe in what we stand for. It speaks volumes for the team that we’re willing to make that decision in this sort of week.’

New Zealand Team to play against Ireland 

15 B Barrett; 14 W Jordan, 13 R Ioane, 12 J Barrett, 11 L Fainga’anuku; 10 R Mo’unga, 9 A Smith; 1 E de Groot, 2 C Taylor, 3 T Lomax; 4 B Retallick, 5 S Barrett; 6 S Frizell, 7 S Cane (capt), 8 A Savea. 

Replacements: 16 D Coles, 17 T Williams, 18 F Newell, 19 S Whitelock, 20 D Papali’i, 21 F Christie, 22 D McKenzie, 23 A Lienert-Brown. 

His place is taken by the dynamic Leicester Fainga’anuku, who scored a hat-trick in the rout of Uruguay and who made his debut in the All Blacks’ win against Ireland in the first game of the 2022 Irish tour.

He is one of six changes made from their final pool game, a routine battering of Uruguay, as they pick their strongest selection for a game that Foster indicated they have targeted from a long way out.

‘This team is ready,’ he said. ‘We’ve prepared well with this in mind. ‘If you look at this year, the whole thing is about getting ready for a World Cup and making sure that we’re primed to perform at this stage of the tournament.

‘We’re excited about it. We know the size of the challenge and how good Ireland are. They deserve all the plaudits they get but play-off rugby is about who’s best on the day.’

After a month of rotation following that loss to the French, Foster and his brains trust, with Joe Schmidt and Greg Feek prominent in it, have put their strongest side out, and the most notable returnees were the preferred props.

Ethan de Groot comes back from suspension to take up the loosehead shirt, while Tyrel Lomax, as expected, has recovered from a knee ligament strain to prop down on the tighthead side.

Scott Barrett will play beside Brodie Retallick in the second row, with Sam Whitelock on the bench, with star names Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Rieko Ioane and Beauden Barrett all back, too.

Sam Cane (middle) also admitted New Zealand will use the set backs they have received in the past few years as fuel to win on Saturday 

The All Blacks were pictured in training on Thursday as they eye up a place in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup

Team captain Sam Cane, the target of sledging from Peter O’Mahony in last year’s victorious Irish tour that has been resurrected in the New Zealand media this week, has insisted that the setbacks endured by the All Blacks since that loss will help inspire them in the Stade de France on Saturday night.

‘Going through tough times and good times as a team, you draw on that for sure,’ said Cane.

‘I don’t think there has been any chat amongst our team around underdogs or favourites or anything like that. 

‘We’re just aware we are playing the best team in the world at the minute in a quarter-final. We’re treating it as a final because the loser goes home.

‘We can draw on the fact we know the work that needs to go in, we know we need to turn up, with an intensity and a freedom and a willingness to be able to do that. 

‘We have done that in the past and we are in a good spot to do that again. We’re very excited.’

Fly-half Richie Mo’unga (middle) lumped praise on his opposite number Johnny Sexton 

Mo’unga said it was ‘an honour’ to play against the Irish No 10 and lauded him for his ability to continue playing at the top level

Pivotal out-half Richie Mo’unga heaped praise on his opposite number Johnny Sexton, describing the Ireland captain as ‘all class’.

‘Everything goes through him, and the way he’s played and stayed consistent at the top level has transcended playing as an out-half,’ he said.

‘It’s an honour to play against him.’

With another enormous Irish influx hitting Paris from last night, an indication of the expected contingent came with tournament organisers advising supporters to arrive at the ground for kick-off Saturday night as early as possible.

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