Steve Hansen has omitted the wingers Zac Guildford and Hosea Gear from a 35-man squad for training camps ahead of the All Blacks' three-Test series against Ireland next month, but thrown a lifeline to misfiring backs Piri Weepu and Ma'a Nonu.
Hansen, who took over from Graham Henry in the wake of the All Blacks' World Cup triumph, has included 21 of the players that helped clinch the Webb Ellis trophy on home soil, but also a slew of uncapped youngsters to inject fresh blood into an ageing squad.
Julian Savea, who has helped spark the Wellington Hurricanes' revival in the Super Rugby competition this season, has been named as one of only three specialist wings in the squad, along with World Cup-winners Richard Kahui and Cory Jane.
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"He's been someone that was earmarked a long time ago to be good enough as a player of a World Cup," said the 53-year-old Hansen of Savea. "He's playing with a lot of confidence as is the whole Hurricanes team . . . That confidence is allowing him to showcase what he has got."
One of Gear and Guildford may yet be handed a reprieve with Kahui injured.