Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks team naming: Julian Savea has selectors in a spin

Dagg’s back after proving his desire — now coaches have to sort out the big wing.

Dropped, rested, given space to develop - it hardly matters how the All Blacks justify their decision to leave Julian Savea out of their starting lineup - everyone can see the big wing is now a problem.

The back three for the second test against Wales is not their preferred mix. The perfect world scenario would be to have Savea and Waisake Naholo on the wings and Ben Smith at fullback.

That they have Naholo and Smith on the wings and Israel Dagg at fullback suggests the world - or at least Savea's world - is not perfect.

An argument can be made to include Dagg. He's looked sharp and eager since he has returned from injury, adding genuine spark and direction to the Crusaders' backline. After missing out on World Cup selection he was asked to prove his desire - and he has.

Patrick McKendry: Dagg gets his chance to show he's ready

It also doesn't require a modern-day Nostradamus to predict that a tired, dispirited Welsh team will most likely kick significantly more in Wellington than they did in Auckland. Raining bombs on the All Blacks' back three is never wise, but it might be the lesser of two evils open to Wales given how little they appear to have in the tank.

Dagg has never lost his bravery under the high ball and the case can be made that the security he brings in nullifying, potentially, Wales' only weapon, is too great to leave out.

Not picking Savea can be spun as a win-win: a way for the All Blacks to tactically adapt to the threat Wales pose and a chance to reward Dagg. But that doesn't clean up the business about what's next for Savea and how and when he might return to the starting lineup. If Savea had rampaged all over Eden Park - got his hands on the ball more and knocked George North down - then it's difficult to believe he wouldn't have been in the team this week.

There's a degree of discomfort that the All Blacks are playing the man many see as the best fullback in the world, on the wing. And however good Dagg is under the high ball, the All Blacks have to have faith that whoever they select in their back three can handle the aerial requirements.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this selection is that the coaches don't think Savea is quite right. They haven't lost faith that when he's mentally and physically in tune he's the most destructive wing in the game.

The challenge they have is choosing which path to go down to restore his confidence and form.

Physically Savea's in prime shape but is possibly lacking that sharpness and explosive edge in his running.

He'll have been working hard on that this week and no doubt, too, All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka will have spent time with him, helping him figure out what needs to be going through his head to play his best rugby.

Player rejuvenation is a Steve Hansen specialty and he's worked small miracles in the past with players such as Ma'a Nonu, Aaron Smith and Charlie Faumuina.

He's also been here before with Savea and managed to coax him back to somewhere near his best form.

It's not an impossible problem to fix, but it is one that the All Blacks coaches would rather not have had at all.

- NZ Herald

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