New Zealand’s player depth to the fore

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Having seen the quality on display in the interisland match at the weekend rugby.com.au writer Christy Doran said the North v South game was a reminder of the talent and depth New Zealand can call on.

 

Although the trial nature of the game meant that it wasn't going to produce the quality and cohesion that might be expected in a Test match it was still evidence of the quality coach Ian Foster had on call.

 

Doran pointed to several examples of that quality.

 

"Caleb Clarke looks like a younger, fitter, quicker and more skilful version of Julian 'The Bus' Savea. The New Zealand Sevens product was the breakout star of Super Rugby Aotearoa and continued his scintillating form," he said.

 

"Then there's Will Jordan, the most impressive and complete young back in new Zealand who, like Ben Smith, manages to make the game look easy.

 

"His match-winning leap and grab was Israel Folau-esque as he jumped into the sky like an AFL player taking the ball ahead of Mitch Hunt with his hands pointed to the heavens and came down on two feet to score.

 

"These two represent the new breed of All Blacks; one powerful, the other silky smooth," he said.

When longer serving All Blacks like wings Sevu Reece and George Bridge, Beauden and Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane were added to the mix, the equation was 'scary' for the Australians, he said.

 

"There's pace to burn out wide, and we haven't even got to Richie Mo'unga – the game's best young playmaker, who has delivered the Crusaders four straight titles," he said.

 

Australia wasn't without prospects he said with their own young players, including Noah Lolesio and Will Harrison as playmakers, and loose forwards Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson, prop Angus Bell and lock Trevor Hosea.

 

Petaia was one player who would be capable of competing for a place in an All Blacks' side and had demonstrated that with the quality of his performance for his Reds' side against the Brumbies at the weekend.

 

"The 20-year-old has the unique ability to keep the ball alive through staying alive in contact and managing to find an offload," he said.

 

The Reds need to beat the Rebels in the preliminary final on Saturday to have a shot at Australian Super Rugby title against the Brumbies in Canberra on September 19.

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