All Blacks: Selectors throw Jane lifeline

By Wynne Gray

Cory Jane. Photo / Getty Images
Cory Jane. Photo / Getty Images

The All Black selection lifeline has been tossed towards Cory Jane.

The fullback-threequarter was off his game for large chunks of the Super Rugby, made it on to the All Blacks standby list to cover injury and is inked in for Saturday's Tri-Nations start on his home patch.

Jane missed out last week because of a serious finger dislocation but looks to be one of four changes being considered for this test with the Springboks.

Others pushing into the starting frame are Daniel Carter at first five-eighths, Sam Whitelock at lock and Jerome Kaino on the blindside flank.

That would mean departure cards for Sitiveni Sivivatu, Colin Slade, Jarrad Hoeata and Liam Messam.

If those plans continue and there are no injuries before the team is announced, impersonally by email tomorrow, there will also be positional shifts for Zac Guildford and captain Richie McCaw.

Guildford is likely to be moved to his preferred left wing where there were such rich pickings at Carisbrook for Sivivatu.

Meanwhile, McCaw is being primed to start in the boot of the scrum for the first time in an All Black test.

Normally that role would be taken up by Kieran Read but he, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks and Keven Mealamu are being given a repeat rest to rejoin their families before they kit up for Bledisloe Cup duties.

At Carisbrook, Messam was used at No8 but he did not seem particularly effective.

If he is bypassed this week, it might be that history is repeating itself as he was ditched in 2009 after playing at No8 at Carisbrook against France and did not regain his place until the end-of-year tour.

So McCaw, the peerless flanker for so long with the All Blacks and captain for the last six years, will shift to No 8.

That will allow McCaw to notch up some more matchplay after a season blighted by injury and also gives Adam Thomson another hit-out as deputy opensider.

Ali Williams gets another run as the fitness and coaching staff do all they can to help him get back to full international noise.

Jane's re-emergence may be another to fit in the late rails run category as Sivivatu showed last week.

Experienced fullback Mils Muliaina and utilities Isaia Toeava and Israel Dagg appear certainties, if fit, for five backfield vacancies for the World Cup.

The other two players will be sifted from the performances seen from Hosea Gear, Guildford, Sivivatu, Jane and Ben Smith.

Gear is recovering from a hamstring strain and may be ready next week. He and Guildford are specialist wings while the others can all cover fullback as well.

The squeeze will come after the Bledisloe Cup test when the All Black squad to travel to Port Elizabeth for a test against the Boks is trimmed to 26.

Some like Dagg, Toeava, Richard Kahui and Tony Woodcock who are injured but included in the squad may be left behind to get match practice in the ITM Cup.

- NZ Herald

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