All Blacks boss explains star winger's absence as they name team to face Ireland

All Blacks boss explains star winger's absence as they name team to face Ireland

The All Blacks have confirmed that star winger Mark Telea was left out of their team to face Ireland in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals due to an unspecified breach of team protocols.

Telea has been a regular starter for New Zealand in the big matches this year; however, he has been replaced by Lyon-bound speedster Leicester Fainga'anuku for the crunch clash.

"Yeah, he breached the protocol," Foster said.

"Nothing major, but enough to keep him out of selection for this week. He has trained well, it happens. It is what it is. For us, it's pretty clean-cut. I don't want to talk about it anymore. We have dealt with it as a team and moved on."

Foster was pressed to reveal what Telea's breach of protocol was but remained tight-lipped, saying, "I am not going to talk about it again. It's minor."

Foster believes that the decision speaks volumes of the team and that they could make a call like that.

"I think it says volumes, we believe what we stand for, that speaks volumes for the team when we make that sort of decision," he said.

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Fainga'anuku's selection was not the only one that would raise a few eyebrows, with Finlay Christie preferred over Cam Roigard on the bench.

Meanwhile, Damian McKenzie has been pressing for a starting role at flyhalf and fullback but found a place on the bench for the fixture.

"What would make you think it was discipline? We just felt it was horses for courses for this particular game," the All Blacks boss said when asked if Roigard's omission was also because of disciplinary reasons.

"We think Finlay has an edge defensively; I think there will be a lot of action around the ruck defensively.

"We have been delighted with Cam's form, and in a different type of game, it might have gone slightly differently. But this one here, we have gone for that."

As for McKenzie, Foster added: "He's playing well, but like the combinations we are getting. I like that we've got a change-up option as the game unfolds, and I think the trio of Richie [Mo'unga], Beauden [Barrett] and Damian is looking [agreeable] at the moment.

"But also really delighted with Richie and Beaudy's form, so it's a tough decision, but the great thing is Damian has come in and really put his hand up with his form. It gives us some good impact off that bench."

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Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane combine in the centres once again, with Aaron Smith earning his 123rd Test cap at scrum-half and Richie Mo'unga earning his 54th at flyhalf.

Into the pack and for the first time since defeating South Africa 35-20 in Auckland, the loose forward trio of Shannon Frizell, Cane, and Ardie Savea start.

Scott Barrett is preferred in the number five jersey ahead of Sam Whitelock, who is named on the bench, with Brodie Retallick as his locking partner.

In the front row, Ethan de Groot has returned from suspension and joins hooker Codie Taylor and tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax in the starting XV.

All Blacks team to face Ireland

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Leicester Fainga'anuku, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Dalton Papali'i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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