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Sevu Reece on his All Blacks comeback and the wing depth

By Ben Smith
Sevu Reece in action against Ireland during the July series 2022. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Returning All Black Sevu Reece is in line to play his first Test since November 2022 after being named on the right wing to face England in Dunedin.

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After suffering a serious knee injury in the early rounds of Super Rugby Pacific last year against the Blues, Reece missed the entire 2023 international season as he rehabbed his way back to the pitch.

Returning to action with the Crusaders this year, Reece was a revelation in a struggling side, sparking some life into their attack and coming up with big plays on defence.

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He finished equal first as the competition’s leading try scorer with 12 and his Super Rugby form demanded an international return.

“It’s always special being named in an All Blacks squad, and I’m very grateful to be here,” Reece said of his selection.

“Special thanks to my mate here [Rieko Ioane], he was the one that ruled me out of last year. In case you guys were wondering.

“He’s a good mate of mine, but back to what you are talking about, it’s always special being back in here. He’s going to set me up with a try he reckons.”

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All Black teammate Rieko Ioane was involved in the contact that led to Reece’s injury, but there were no hard feelings between the pair.

Ioane was happy to have Reece back in team with his energy rubbing off on the group.

“You look back it is a pretty nasty injury, it’s so good to have him back. His energy was what was missing, we’ve got a few jokers in the team with Emoni [Narawa] and Mark [Tele’a], but it’s good to have the triplets back together,” he said.

With Reece ruled out through injury, the All Blacks debuted Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa while Mark Tele’a of the Blues became one of the side’s best weapons.

Watching on from home, Reece knew it was going to be a tough challenge but had his goal set from the start that he would make it back.

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“You know last year just watching, the likes of Emoni, Mark and Caleb [Clarke] all there. I just had to put my best foot forward pretty much,” Reece said.

“I knew that was going to be a massive challenge, everyone is all fighting for that 11 and 14 jersey.

“I had that mindset right from the start that I wanted to be back in here. I’m glad that everything went to plan and here I am.”

Conversations with Razor throughout the season helped Reece stay on track with the new All Blacks coach imparting his wisdom.

“It was getting my week right. You know as you grow older, I say I’m getting old being a winger, you know you start to realise you have to get your week right,” he said.

“Right from the start, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, that’s going to set you up come game time.”

Robertson said that his key message to the Crusaders winger was to “keeping backing himself” which he showed time and time again in the red and black.

“Oh look his Super form was incredible, both sides of the ball. His efforts, his consistency, he’s a Test footballer so we are really pleased to have him back,” Robertson said.

“Obviously with Tele’a, they’ve both played a bit of Test footy, they are dangerous, they cover the backfield well and they defend well. It’s a good combination.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Barry 8 days ago

GREAT SHORT BUILD-UP UNDER THE ROOF. NO MERCY BOYOS!

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Tom 32 minutes ago
All Blacks snatch another tight victory from England at Eden Park

First up to any of the ABs fans who accused us of “bluster” pre-series for saying it would be a competitive - I'm glad it turned out to be an excellent series to which the ABs were deserving winners and I hope next time a side tours you'll be a little more humble. I loved the heart shown by the English boys and how they managed to contain the AB attack for large parts of the series. Was very disappointed by the lack of cohesion and ambition ball in hand, we looked after the ball poorly and hardly went 2 phases without kicking it away. We're not giving ourselves enough opportunity to put phases together and build pressure. The ambition shown in the 6N against Ireland and France seems to have gone and our players look very hesitant with ball in hand, we look much better when Marcus is taking the ball flat and boys are running hard at the line. So frustrating when we're starting to build pressure in the 22 we go back to the grubber kick then find ourselves back on the half way line 10 seconds later. We've shown great success with our box kicking game but we need to leave the flipping grubber kick in the locker room. Like the Marcus Smith hail Mary miss pass that went straight to Mark Telea, we seem to have no patience. Sometimes we just need to recycle the ball and go again. Loving seeing Maro back to his best and Fin Baxter really impressed, Alex Mitchell looks to be one of the most complete 9s in world rugby, great around the base and impeccable kicking. Congrats to the ABs, far more dangerous and skillful than England. We contained you for large swathes but to shut down that amount of pace and skill for 80 mins is nigh on impossible. Managed to find a way to win and instinctively grabbed the rare opportunities which came your way. Finding ways to win in two tight test matches will I'm sure be a great experience for your younger players. Beauden needs to be in the starting 15, what a worldie.

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