New Zealand drop wing Mark Telea for Ireland clash after disciplinary breach

Mark Telea in action for New Zealand v South Africa during 2023 Summer Internationals Mark Telea has been dropped for the quarter-final against Ireland (David Davies/PA)

New Zealand wing Mark Telea has been dropped for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final with Ireland due to an unspecified breach of team protocol.

Telea who has scored three tries in the tournament, including two in his country’s defeat to hosts France on the opening night, has been replaced on the left flank by Leicester Fainga’anuku.

All Blacks boss Ian Foster insisted the disciplinary issue – believed to be breaking a curfew – is minor but felt compelled to punish the 26-year-old by omitting him for the match in Paris.

“He breached the protocol, nothing major, but enough to keep him out of selection for this week,” said Foster.

“I still love him, he trained well, it happens.

“Look, it is what it is. For us it’s pretty clean-cut, I don’t really want to talk about it any more. We’ve dealt with it as a team and moved on.

“We believe in what we stand for and that speaks volumes for the team that we make that sort of decision in this sort of week.”

All Blacks number eight Ardie Savea said: “We feel for him, we love him but we’re looking forward to a game this Saturday, so that’s all I can say about it.”

Three-time champions New Zealand find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being underdogs for a World Cup knockout match as they seek to deny Ireland a maiden semi-final.

Fly-half Richie Mo’unga laughed off the significance of that situation.

“As a player, it’s not biggie for us,” he said. “None of the boys are on the TAB or Bet365 punting!

“You can’t shy away from how great this Ireland team is, what they’ve done the last couple of years.

“They’re the best team in the world right now. We don’t have to be the best team in the world now, we’ve got to be the best on the day, so that’s a real target for us.”

Head coach Foster expects both sides to be on a mission and believes history is irrelevant, saying “we all carry burdens”.

“Look, Ireland came into the World Cup last time as number ones, didn’t they, so they’ve had different journeys,” he said.

“But the past is the past. I wouldn’t say it’s a newer Irish team but it’s an Irish team on a mission. It’s an All Black team on a mission.

“I’ll leave it to you to talk about the past and what that means and the burdens people carry.

“But at the end of the day, we all carry burdens going into these sorts of games. The key thing is to clear your head and just play. That’s the state we want to be in.”

New Zealand team to face Ireland in Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final

Forwards: 1 Ethan de Groot, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Sam Cane (Captain), 8 Ardie Savea

Backs: 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 11 Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12 Jordie Barrett, 13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Will Jordan, 15 Beauden Barrett

Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Dalton Papali'i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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