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'It'd be great to see him play': The World Cup bolter who should play against England

By Finn Morton
Mark Telea. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Former Blues captain James Parsons believes Mark Telea is “in the race” for the All Blacks’ World Cup squad after the winger’s impressive international debut against Scotland.

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Telea became the 1207th person to play for the All Blacks when he lined up on the right wing at Murrayfield, and certainly did himself and the legacy of the coveted jersey justice with his performance.

The star winger scored a double, including a try with one of his first touches in Test rugby, and ran for 95 metres from 12 carries.

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While not everything went the All Blacks’ way at Murrayfield, with discipline costing the team as Scotland ran out to a strong lead, Telea played a part in the comeback.

With the All Blacks up by just one-point inside the final 10-minutes, the 25-year-old scored what was ultimately the game winning try.

The Blues winger became a national hero in that moment, as the All Blacks’ extended their unbeaten run to six-Tests ahead of their clash with England at Twickenham.

Speaking on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod, former All Blacks hooker Parsons said Telea should play in the teams final Test of the year.

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“I think it’d be great to see him play this weekend against a bigger opposition, not disrespect to Scotland but obviously playing England at Twickenham is a huge Test match,” Parsons said.

“The other thing is they might not have done as much research on him… The one thing I do know in international rugby (is) you’re unknown for probably one game.

“I think he’s in the race (for the World Cup), and it’s even enough to say the form player will probably get picked closer to that World Cup squad.”

Telea’s first touch in international rugby came just over a minute into the Test after a wayward crossfield kick from inside centre David Havili.

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But the wingers first touch was a promising one, as he showcased both his speed and strength to fend off British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg.

After a monstrous Caleb Clarke run down the left edge, Telea was once again running after a crossfield kick as he chased his second touch.

Telea’s second touch in international rugby is one that he’ll always remember though, as the ball sat up and allowed him toe score the All Blacks’ second try.

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The 25-year-olds second try came in the 75th minute, as he reaped the rewards from some Rieko Ioane brilliance to run in untouched.

Speaking earlier in the podcast, Parsons said that no player “works harder off the ball” than Telea.

“You get what you put in and by that there is no player, I feel, that works harder off the ball than Mark. He is just second to none in terms of putting himself in a position to make a difference,” he said.

“He’s not selfish, he doesn’t break the system, he puts himself where he can be within his role in the team.

“The reason why the guy finds himself in this spotlight time and time again is his work ethic, and he is just relentless.

“It was of no surprise that he performed the way he did on debut. He’s really put his hand up.

“He’s been doing it for a number of years now. He’s been doing it at Super Rugby level, he’s been doing it for multiple years at NPC level, and he might be just peaking at the right time to slip into the World Cup squad.”

The All Blacks’ win over Scotland has undoubtedly left coach Ian Foster and the coaching staff with some selection headaches ahead of their final Test of the year.

Telea is among several players who certainly put their hands up for selection with their performances last weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see if he’s given another chance.

New Zealand are currently on a six-Test unbeaten streak, but their biggest test of their Northern Tour is waiting for them at Twickenham.

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