Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Brief All Blacks: The picks that didn't work

Nathan Harris is back, George Moala too. Liam Squire and Ofa Tu'ungafasi have been on the All Black coaches' radar for a while and Ardie Savea was the apprentice on the tour to Britain in 2013.

Those selection strands have been formed part of the consistent results from the All Blacks as they marched towards successive World Cup triumphs. There has been a glitch or two.

Some - Francis Saili, Frank Halai, Tom Taylor, Jeremy Thrush - have taken their reduced test record offshore - while others like Matt Todd, Hika Elliot and Brad Weber are battling a cluster of rivals to make a return.

We have to wait to discover if World Cup medalist Pauliasi Manu, Nepo Laulala, James Broadhurst and Nehe Milner-Skudder recover from their injuries to make it back in black.

Similar inquiries will follow twice-capped Augustine Pulu when his sevens duty this year are done and whether Luke Whitelock and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen reappear after their solitary 2013 appearances.

Others did not have that chance or did not grasp it. Chiefs prop Ben Afeaki was forced out of the game because of concussion, teammate Ben Tamiefuna made a squad but did not trim himself down enough to play while Kane Hames, Patrick Osborne and Liam Coltman trained with the squad but got no further.

Dominic Bird has slipped down the ratings order for locks since his 2013 start and James Parsons faces stacks of hooking talent after his left-field start against Scotland in 2014.

Who are others in the last 10 years who had brief All Black careers, a solitary tour game like Scott Waldrom or like Stephen Brett, Paul Williams and Taniela Moa trained with the squad but nothing more?

Wing Scott Hamilton and five eighths David Hill played their single tests in 2006, lock Kevin O'Neill did likewise from the bench against the Boks in 2008 and prop Jamie Mackintosh began and ended his test career against Scotland that same season.

Bryn Evans and John Schwalger had two tests that year while Mike Delany, Lelia Masaga and George Whitelock played their one test against Italy in 2009.

A current All Black looseforward made his test debut a decade ago.

It's not the most capped All Black and new captain Kieran Read but Jerome Kaino.

He first played for the All Blacks in 2004 against the Barbarians on the end of year tour then made his test debut in 2006 from the bench against Ireland.

Two years later Read began his test career when he replaced Kaino at blindside flanker against Scotland at Murrayfield.

- NZ Herald

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