READER REPORT:

Two All Blacks must-starts

ARTHUR BLAIR
Last updated 16:00 16/06/2014
BEAUDEN BARRETT
Getty

BEAUDEN BARRETT: Playing with confidence.

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All Blacks-England second test: Your analysis

Beware of England at next World Cup Who played themselves out of the ABs? Two All Blacks must-starts Are England the real deal now?

How did the All Blacks look in the second test? Our readers review the match, and give their views on what should change for this weekend. Arthur Blair says there are a few must-starts.

How good was Ben Smith on the weekend? Safe as houses under the high ball and scored a lovely try, but his chase down, tackle and counter ruck on Manu Tuilagi were as good a plays as I've seen on a rugby field.

If he does not start at fullback next week, Steve Hansen should buy a fake nose and moustache because he won't be able to go out in public.

Smith appears to be as likable a bloke as you'd hope to meet, and his interview after the game was a delight. Israel Dagg is struggling with injuries at the moment but, if fit, would you start him over Smith next week? I wouldn't.

Beauden Barrett also deserves to start next week. He has been very good for the resurgent Hurricanes this year and he is playing with confidence and precision.

I thought the All Blacks seemed to hum along a little better when he came on.

Aaron Cruden has missed a month or so of rugby recently and perhaps it was too much to expect him to hit his usual high standards with so little rugby under his belt. I'm sure he will be back to his best soon enough but in the meantime, Barrett should start at number 10 for the third test. He's earned it.

Cory Jane would be fairly disappointed with his series so far. He looked a little lost on the left wing last week and even he would admit that he didn't play exceptionally well on the right wing this weekend. Is it time to give someone else a shot or should Jane get one more chance to prove that he is the best right wing in the country?

We know that Hansen likes to stick with players who have done the business in the past even, if they aren't currently in the best form. Will he persevere with Jane or take a chance with Fekitoa or even Dagg if he is fit to play?

If Kieran Read is back to full fitness, should he start at number 8 next weekend? If he does, then clearly Liam Messam is going to have to give up his jersey because Jerome Kaino is an absolutely nailed-on starter.

There is a question here though about how little rugby Read has had over the past couple of months. Is he good enough to jump straight into test level rugby given that he's hardly played since his head knock against the Chiefs in April? We all know Read is good, but is he that good?

I know I suggested that Richie McCaw was struggling on tired legs in the first test. I am happy to acknowledge that he put in a much better performance this weekend. Hopefully he'll continue to get better as he gets more tests under his belt. How long can he keep this up though and will he still be a force to be reckoned with in 2015?

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The injured Sam Cane has not been outstanding for the Chiefs so far this year and he needs to get game time for the All Blacks if he hopes to step into McCaw's shoes at some point.

Is there no other number 7 in New Zealand that deserves a crack at the jersey? We used to be a production line for top class open-side flankers but I'm not sure that's still true.


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