Ex-All Black fullback backs Shaun Stevenson for a call-up
Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson has received the endorsement of former All Black fullback Israel Dagg for a potential call up in 2023 as his hot form continues in the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific.
Stevenson has been arguably the form player over the opening three rounds for the 3-0 Chiefs, continuing the type of dazzling play he showed for the All Blacks XV at the end of 2022.
Against the Crusaders in round one the No 15 logged 152 running metres and three line breaks in a shock 31-10 upset over the defending champions, before a hat-trick in round two in a 52-29 demolition of Moana Pasifika.
The 26-year-old starred again against the Highlanders on Saturday in with two tries including one from a beautiful line break that cut the visitors open before using his speed to outrun Mitch Hunt and Freddie Burns in the backfield.
Stevenson now has the most tries he has ever scored in a Super Rugby season with five just three rounds into the competition.
Ex-All Black Dagg believed Will Jordan would be the starting fullback for the All Blacks but if there are doubts persisting over his ear injury then Stevenson would be an adequate replacement.
“He’s in fine form and it stems from about 18 months of good, solid rugby,” ex-All Black Dagg said on SENZ Breakfast about Stevenson.
“There was a lot of debate last year when he was left out of the All Blacks side but he went over and played for the Maori All Blacks team and he played extremely well.”
“But this person [Stevenson] is playing extremely well, he carved up the Crusaders in week one, he scored three tries against a pretty underwhelming Moana Pasifika side.
“Shooter Stevenson, I think for the last 16-18 months has been in fantastic form; he has got some great feet, probably the best feet in the game at the moment, and his ability to beat a man one on one is outstanding … he’s paving his way to potentially an All Blacks call up.”
The 66-Test fullback isn’t the only high profile voice backing Stevenson to make the All Blacks with Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan backing his man.
After the 28-7 win over the Highlanders, McMillan said that Stevenson ‘must be raising eyebrows’ of the All Blacks head coach after his stellar performances.
“I don’t think that the World Cup squad is written in stone, so anyone who plays consistently well puts themselves in the shop window, and you never know,” he told Stuff.co.nz.
“And you’d have to say that he’s doing a lot of good things that must be raising the eyebrows of Fozzie [Ian Foster] and his crew.”
Stevenson is up against incumbents Sevu Reece, Will Jordan, Mark Telea, and Caleb Clarke for a place in the squad as a winger, but his versatility as a fullback gives him scope to be considered as a 15.
Jordie Barrett’s move to the midfield potentially opens up the need for another fullback, with Beauden Barrett, Stephen Perofeta, and David Havili also options at the back for Ian Foster.
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The south African side is a weak side..the kiwi would be saying this three or four years ago when the boks were at their bestGo to comments
What a joke! And Owen Farrell, a repeat offender only gots 4 weeks for his last head contact, shoulder chargeGo to comments