All Blacks: Field place to push for test spot, says Thrush

By Daniel Richardson

Jeremy Thrush, centre, says the New Zealand derbies are a great place to show your stuff. Photo / Getty Images
Jeremy Thrush, centre, says the New Zealand derbies are a great place to show your stuff. Photo / Getty Images

Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush knows his best chance to remind the All Blacks selectors of what he can do will come on the field.

He can say the right things during their training camps as he familiarises himself with the playing patterns and looks to refine the odd skill but he needs to perform when he laces up his boots and the lights go on.

Depending on the make-up of the 31-strong All Blacks squad to meet England in a three-test series next month, Thrush may be on the outer.

The 29-year-old, who has five test caps to his name, is in a battle alongside Dominic Bird and Patrick Tuipulotu to join established locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock when the squad is named on Sunday.

Thrush was involved only in the second All Blacks' wider training group camp in Wellington, which finished today, as the national selectors chose to look at an extra loose forward, Luke Whitelock, in Christchurch last week.

"I think the best place to push a case, especially at the moment, are the New Zealand derbies that are going on," Thrush said. "That's where I can really show my worth."

Thrush scored one over Retallick and the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday night when the Hurricanes hammered the defending champions 45-8 at Westpac Stadium.

The Chiefs' lineout again failed to fire, while it is an area of the game where the Hurricanes have thrived this season.

"We've got quite a strong core there to be able to have different options," Thrush said. "So it's hard to defend us."

The Hurricanes meet Tuipulotu's Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday night, which will give Thrush another chance to stake his claim for national selection.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor went for more scans on his injured ankle yesterday.

"It's not as bad as first thought but it's still quite a serious injury," said Hurricanes assistant coach Alama Ieremia.

- APNZ

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