READER REPORT:

Poor selection hinders All Blacks

PAUL STEELE
Last updated 09:15 08/06/2014
Aaron Cruden
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
OUT OF SORTS: Aaron Cruden lines up a kick at goal against England at Eden Park.

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Aaron Cruden, despite being a fine player and worthy All Black, will look back on the first England test and wish his thumb was still broken.

All Black coach Steve Hansen must take the responsibility for playing an out of form player in such a pivotal position and against a nuggety team like England.

Cruden should have been subbed with Beauden Barrett at half time, not fullback Israel Dagg early in the second half.

One can but sigh with relief that this was not the full-strength England team, as New Zealand would be waking up this morning with a few reputations in tatters.

Liam Messam also struggled, as he so often does, when his team does not dominate the opposition.

This was a perfect chance for Hansen to treat the England team with respect and start Victor Vito at 8 and Jerome Kaino at 6. Both have been in outstanding form this season, and in teams that have at times struggled, while Messam shines only when the Chiefs dominate.

Age is also looking a factor, re some senior ABs, which will need to be addressed sooner rather then later.

England will be waking up this morning ruing a golden opportunity missed to yet again put one over the ABs.


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