The real reason behind Mark Telea's omission
REACTION: All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has revealed why his team will take on Ireland with one of his key backline players missing in the starting XV.
New Zealand head coach Ian Foster named a very strong side to take on Ireland in the quarterfinal on Saturday.
However, the notable change on the left wing sees Leicester Fainga’anuku start in the place of star wing Mark Telea.
While reports during the week suggested that the Blues wing Telea would miss the clash due to an injury, All Blacks head coach Foster confirmed that Telea was ruled out of the match due to disciplinary reasons.
Foster refused to elaborate on the details and labelled the incident as a minor during the team announcment press conference on Thursday.
“He breached protocol,” said Foster when asked about Telea’s absence.
“Nothing major but enough to keep him out of selection for this week.
“He has trained well and it is what it is.
“For us, it’s a pretty clean cut. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. We have dealt with it as a team and moved on.”
Telea has been the preferred left wing option for the All Blacks, starting in the opening defeat to France and the win over Italy.
He scored two tries against Italy during the 96-17 win, while he was just as impressive during the 35-20 win over Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
Another selection that raised a few eyebrows was the decision to opt for Finly Christie instead of Cam Roigard, leaving speculation that the decision could also be due to disciplinary reasons.
However Foster refuted the claims, asking: “What would make you think it was discipline?
“We just felt it was horses for courses for this particular game. Finlay has an edge defensively and there will be a lot of action around the ruck defensively.
“We have been delighted with Cam’s form and in a different type of game, it might have gone slightly differently. But this one here we have gone for that.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) October 12, 2023
*Additional source: @WorldRugby