Sir John Kirwan reveals the uncapped duo that have entered the ‘All Blacks discussion’ after stunning Super Rugby starts

Colin Newboult
John Kirwan former All Blacks wing 2015 - Alamy.jpg

Former All Blacks wing Sir John Kirwan.

Sir John Kirwan has heaped praise on a couple of back-row forwards that he believes will come into All Blacks contention this year.

Hurricanes duo Brayden Iose and Peter Lakai have played a key role in the side’s superb start to the campaign.

They currently reside at the top of the Super Rugby Pacific table and will look to make it six from six when they take on the Highlanders this weekend.

Replacing Ardie Savea

Iose has become the Canes’ first choice number eight, stepping superbly into the rather large shoes vacated by Ardie Savea.

Meanwhile, Lakai, who can also play at the base of the scrum, has been a regular at openside flanker, edging ahead of Du’Plessis Kirifi in the pecking order.

Kirwan therefore believes that they deserve to be in the reckoning when Scott Robertson names his All Blacks squad for the July series.

“I think it’s an All Blacks discussion,” he told The Breakdown. “Two young boys, I believe, have a massive future. (Brad) Shields doesn’t, because he’s played for England, and Kirifi’s been around a few years.

“I think he’s an outstanding player but these two young guys are really pushing with a little bit of X-factor. Iose is so dynamic, gets off the base of a scrum.

“They are great problems for coaches to have. Kirifi is dominant over the ball, he’s physical, so what do you do?”

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Depth and coaching

Fellow New Zealand great Mils Muliaina was also on the panel and praised the depth that the Hurricanes have built this year.

“Not bad is it? With Peter Lakai, you would think that Du’Plessis Kirifi would actually be starting, but there’s huge competition,” Muliaina said.

The ex-All Blacks full-back also feels that new ‘Canes head coach Clark Laidlaw, who took over from Jason Holland, has played a key role in the squad’s development.

“I think he’s brought an element of his game, creating that environment and possibly pushing a lot of guys,” Muliaina added.

“He’s brought a little bit of that after Jason Holland obviously gelled them together over the last year few years.”

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