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‘The most hated’: Hoskins Sotutu reacts after All Blacks snub

Analysis: The Blues’ No 8 would be advised to put his disappointment behind him, but it won’t be easy and other options loom, writes Patrick McKendry.

Hoskins Sotutu has made public his disappointment at missing out on selection for the All Blacks first team of the year.

“Most hated,” he wrote last night on Instagram under a photo of him celebrating with his teammates the Blues’ recent victory in the Super Rugby grand final.

It was probably in response to his snub, and certainly the comments of some of his 24,000 followers interpreted it as such.

However, the Blues’ number 8, the competition’s top try scorer with 12 along with Crusaders flanker Sevu Reece, would be advised to keep his powder dry for the rest of the year and beyond.

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson has called the selection of the six loose forwards (Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i, Luke Jacobson, Ethan Blackadder, Samipeni Finau and non-international Wallace Sititi) his “biggest” decision. tight” of the entire team.

His next teams for the Rugby Championship and the end-of-year tour will be more numerous (36), so the door is not closed for the 25-year-old, who played the last of his 14 international matches in 2022.

Furthermore, as Robertson said at last night’s team announcement in Christchurch, the position is one of attrition.

But, while his disappointment is understandable given his form this season, it will be up to Sotutu to put it behind him.

This will be easier said than done because he presumably re-signed with the Blues and New Zealand Rugby in May until the end of 2026, assuming he would be in the All Blacks mix.

Sotutu’s father, former Blues winger Waisake, was Fiji’s vice-captain at the 1999 World Cup and his mother was born in England. The Times of London already published a story suggesting that Hoskins could represent that nation next year through that link.

While Sotutu’s Super Rugby form failed to sway the selectors, the inclusion of 21-year-old Sititi is testament to his breakthrough year. That in itself will be difficult for Sotutu to reconcile.

Last night, Robertson hinted that he was looking at form on both sides of the ball, suggesting that defense and work rate were as important as ball carrying. Sititi, the Chiefs’ number 8, has a tough edge, and that also applies to the Crusaders’ sluggish Blackadder, who has barely played this year due to injury.

Snubs and heartwarming stories aside (and the inclusion of 25-year-old tighthead prop Pasilio Tosi fits neatly into the latter category), the All Blacks clearly have depth on the wing, where the in-form Reece, Caleb Clarke, Mark Tele’a and Emoni Narawa will compete for the number 11 and 14 jerseys for the first Test against England in Dunedin a week on Saturday.

New All Black Pasilio Tosi, left, with NZ Rugby president Dame Patsy Reddy and TJ Perenara at last night's team announcement in Christchurch.

But the side? Not so much. Beauden Barrett, named in the squad as a top five alongside Damian McKenzie, will presumably start there in the first Test, but his replacements in the absence of the injured Will Jordan are Stephen Perofeta, another top five convert.

Jordie Barrett began his trial career at the back of the field but is now such an important part of the midfield that Robertson has named him vice-captain, suggesting he will be the only constant there if he is fit and available.

There will also be questions about the inclusion of George Bell, the Crusaders’ 22-year-old hooker who was in the squad for last year’s World Cup as injury cover and is an excellent ball carrier but struggled to bowl in a dysfunctional lineout this season. .

And only three safeties (captain Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu and Tupou Vaa’i) when Barrett and Tuipulotu have had serious recent injury problems.

Barrett has played little rugby recently due to a back problem and the Crusaders missing the playoffs, while Tuipulotu was initially ruled out of the game for up to six weeks due to a knee injury, only to return four weeks early. to play a stellar game. role in the Super Rugby final.

The Blues’ 23-year-old Sam Darry, standing 2.03m tall, has been named as a substitute and will train with the team, but the All Blacks look light there.

All Black Team

Accessories: Tyrel Lomax, Ethan de Groot, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Fletcher Newell, Tamaiti Williams, Pasilio Tosi (uncapped).

Whores: Codie Taylor, Asafo Aumua, George Bell (uncapped).

Locks: Scott Barrett (c), Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu.

Loose forwards: Ardie Savea (vc), Dalton Papali’i, Luke Jacobson, Ethan Blackadder, Samipeni Finau, Wallace Sititi (unlimited).

Half: TJ Perenara, Cortez Ratima (uncapped), Finlay Christie.

First five: Damian McKenzie, Beauden Barrett.

Midfielders: Jordie Barrett (vc), Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Billy Proctor (uncapped).

Outer backs: Stephen Perofeta, Caleb Clarke, Emoni Narawa, Sevu Reece, Mark Tele’a.

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