Kieran Read's international retirement has left the All Blacks needing to find a new long-term No 8 when they return to action in 2020. Read, who was New Zealand's first-choice No 8 for a decade
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Kieran Read's international retirement has left the All Blacks needing to find a new long-term No 8 when they return to action in 2020. Read, who was New Zealand's first-choice No 8 for a decade as he compiled 128 tests, will leave a major hole at the back of the All Blacks scrum, but there are several players who will be putting their hands for the role in Super Rugby.
Chris Rattue highlights the top contenders for the All Blacks' No 8 role.
Covered well for Read and might have the inside running for now, but almost by default. He's a ball of energy rather than the commanding presence All Black No 8s are known for. His speed off the scrum is a weapon, and he has the test experience.
Has it all, in theory. But the old All Back regime made it clear where he fails, workrate being the general issue. Ioane is a devastating runner with the perfect size and athleticism for No 8. Has everything to play for – can he find the necessary desperation to convince the selectors?
Will play some No 8 for the Chiefs but better known as an openside flanker. Would be more of a stop gap whereas the All Blacks will want to build for the 2023 World Cup. His leadership pedigree is made for No 8, but he lacks lineout height and scrum acceleration.
There's no doubt about his ability and toughness, but concussion concerns remain after he was pulled out of the World Cup. A jack of all trades with test No 8 potential – it will be fascinating to see how new Chiefs boss Warren Gatland deploys him.
Showed promising glimpses at the World Cup, and the blindside flanker has a bit of No 8 experience with the Highlanders. A wonderful athlete with skills, but he has yet to convince as a test warrior. Departed All Black coach Steve Hansen never seemed to have total faith in him.
Douglas has a chance to stand out in a Crusaders pack hit by the departure of All Black stalwarts. Any forward from the Crusaders system is worth test consideration, such is their production line of quality over the years.
The St Peters schoolboy superstar from Auckland has initially chosen the sevens route, but his eventual entry into the XV ranks will cause a lot of excitement. Stay tuned.