Zac Guildford drafted into All Blacks squad
May 20, 2012
Zac Guildford has been drafted into the All Blacks squad following an injury to Cory Jane © Getty Images
Crusaders winger Zac Guildford has been called into the All Blacks training squad ahead of their three-Test series against Ireland next month.
The 23-year-old Rugby World Cup winner has been drafted into the group following injuries to the Chiefs' Richard Kahui and more recently the Hurricanes' Cory Jane. Kahui dislocated his shoulder in the Chiefs' Super Rugby clash with the Reds last weekend while Jane was struck down with an ankle sprain against the Brumbies on Saturday with both injuries set to rule him out of the series against Ireland.
Guildford was a glaring omission from the original squad announcement having endured a troubled few months in the wake of New Zealand's World Cup triumph. He was banned for four games at the end of last year following a high-profile alcohol-related incident but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insisted that his initial demotion was based on form.
The injuries have left Hansen with few options out wide with Guildford and the uncapped Julian Savea the only specialist wingers in the training squad, which will be trimmed to 30 players on June 3.
"We might look at someone who can double up as a utility, and just give us a bit more strength in that area," said Hansen. "Richard could clearly play three positions - fullback, wing and centre. We thought initially we'd just bring in a specialist, but now we've lost both of them we might go for someone else who can give us a bit more cover."
Hansen also hinted that Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor and was also on his radar as is Highlanders flyer Hosea Gear. "He's [Taylor] probably in contention, isn't he. He's playing well and doing a lot of things right. He's obviously a person you'd look at but others are out there too, Hosea is still very much in our minds as well. Monday will be a good debate."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'