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All Blacks great Jeff Wilson believes the selection of Shannon Frizell could have aided New Zealand’s cause in the lineout and in the loose trio.
The former wing found the adamance to continuously select Scott Barrett at blindside against Ireland made no sense given the other options available.
Issues at flank
Barrett had a decent outing on the side of the scrum in the first Test before being shifted in the second-row to cover Sam Whitelock’s absence during the second Test, where the All Blacks‘ lineout fell apart.
Returning to the flank for the decisive third Test did not work out as planned as Barrett suffered an injury, forcing Akira Ioane to start in a late change.
Wilson argued that Highlanders flanker Frizell could have added value in the set-up.
“We looked for physicality, didn’t we? We looked for our lineout,” Wilson told The Breakdown.
“The interesting thing about that is that we haven’t got anyone else in the squad who fits that mould.
“The only guy, for me, who fits that mould is Shannon Frizell. He’s the only guy who carries hard, hits hard and is a great lineout option.”
Searching for the right combination
Wilson also considered the selection of Crusaders number eight Cullen Grace, who had a sublime season in Super Rugby Pacific and was crucial to his side’s title success in the campaign.
Grace put in a good showing for Clayton McMillian’s Maori All Blacks, but Wilson did not believe he was a perfect fit for the role, claiming that the All Blacks’ coaching staff are “clearly searching” for answers.
“Or Cullen Grace, but he’s a number eight more, not the same height in terms of stature, not the same lineout target,” Wilson said.
“Once again, it’s one of those things where we’re searching right now. Clearly we’re clearly searching.”
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The article Jeff Wilson: All Black great takes aim at squad selection after Shannon Frizell left in the cold appeared first on Planetrugby.com.