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‘Can rely on him’: Why the All Blacks have to select Shaun Stevenson

By Finn Morton
(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Legendary halfback Justin Marshall believes All Blacks selectors would be “very brave” to “leave” the high-flying Shaun Stevenson out of their squad for The Rugby Championship.


Stevenson has taken his game to an all-new level in Super Rugby Pacific this season, and has been one of the standout players for the Chiefs throughout their unbeaten run.

Led by the likes of Stevenson and playmaker Damian McKenzie, the Chiefs have overcome every test that has come their way this season – having won all 10 of their matches so far.

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Stevenson has played a key role in their success, having scored the most tries out of any player in the competition.

The 26-year-old has been nothing short of sensational for the Chiefs.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has recently highlighted Stevenson and Chiefs teammate Emoni Narawa as potential bolters, saying “it’s a good time to be playing well as an outside back.”

But, going off his form this season, Stevenson would have to be the front-runner for an All Blacks callup.

Former New Zealand international Justin Marshall has called on the All Blacks to “have the courage” to select Stevenson, who he believes should line-up on the wing for the national team.


“It’s not about going to the World Cup with an unknown player, we’ve always had it in our mantra that form players with potential who are playing well… have the courage to pick them,” Marshall told SENZ’s The Rugby Run.

“At the moment, you would have to have a really strong argument to say that he didn’t deserve a jersey.

“The one area that I thought okay, I can see all the razzle-dazzle but I want to have a really good look at you and I did at the weekend, was defensively.

“I tell you what, he makes his tackles and he read the game really well defensively and that’s equally important to as what you do on offence.


“You’d be a very brave person at this stage of the season to leave him out, but they, there’s finals footy to come and a lot of high-pressure games.

“Can he maintain (his form) because now he’s going to be massively, heavily marked and under a lot more pressure than what he’s used to because he’s playing so well.

“Every time he’s running out at the moment, he’s just creating havoc.

“If it’s not for himself, scoring tries, he’s creating for others and at the moment, you can rely on him doing something pretty spectacular in a game.”

If it was up to Marshall, Stevenson would play on the wing for the All Blacks alongside fullback Will Jordan.

Following a lengthy stint on the sidelines, Jordan made his return to Super Rugby Pacific with the Crusaders last weekend – and the 21 Test All Black didn’t skip a beat.

In fact, Jordan was one of the Crusaders’ best against the Western Force in Christchurch.

Without a doubt, the pair could help form a formidable back-three trio alongside the likes of Caleb Clarke, Leicester Fainga’anuku, or another contender.


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