He could have played with Connacht last season but after a domestic voilence incident the IRFU pulled out of the deal, now Sevu Reece is set to start for New Zealand on Saturday.
It had been a tough year for Irish rugby with the Paddy Jackson court case, so when it came to light the Reece was in trouble for an altercation with his girlfriend the IRFU pulled the deal on the flying winger. Twelve months on and it looks like Reece will be a vital player for New Zealand at the upcoming World Cup.
The All Blacks play Argentina in the Investec Rugby Championship Test at Jose Amalfitani Stadium (Estadio Velez Sarsfield) in Buenos Aires on Saturday 20 July. (Kick-off: 7.05PM GMT).
The matchday 23 sees a blend of experience and youth with five uncapped All Blacks named: winger Sevu Reece will make his Test debut on the right wing, while the uncapped Atu Moli and new All Blacks Luke Jacobson, Josh Ioane and Braydon Ennor are all named on the bench. Balancing that is the experience of lock Brodie Retallick, Captain Sam Cane at openside flanker, the inside paring of Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett and Ben Smith at fullback.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the team has had a good week’s preparation after traveling from New Zealand last weekend.
“As always, with the first game of the season, we’ve worked hard on building our relationships, re-establishing our connections and combinations and getting clarity in our roles. We’ll continue to nail the details further in training throughout the week so that we are bright, clear and excited to play with real intensity come Saturday,” Hansen said.
“It’s going to be exciting to watch how the new All Blacks perform along with their more experienced teammates. The team is a mixture of experience and raw enthusiasm, which I’m sure everyone is looking forward to seeing come together and play.”
Hansen further added: “We have the utmost respect for Argentina. We know that we’ll be facing a confident, physical side. Their players will have taken a lot of confidence and self-belief from the Jaguares Super Rugby season, and with the inclusion of their overseas players, there will be added excitement to their group. They will see this game as a massive opportunity to make a statement and it will be our job to make a statement of our own.”
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets. * new cap):
1. Ofa Tuungafasi (26)
2. Dane Coles (60)
3. Angus Ta’avao (3)
4. Brodie Retallick (75)
5. Patrick Tuipulotu (21)
6. Vaea Fifita (9)
7. Sam Cane – captain (58)
8. Ardie Savea (35)
9. Aaron Smith (82)
10. Beauden Barrett (73)
11. Jordie Barrett (9)
12. Ngani Laumape (10)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (33)
14. Sevu Reece *
15. Ben Smith (72)
16. Liam Coltman (4)
17. Atu Moli *
18. Nepo Laulala (17)
19. Jackson Hemopo (3)
20. Luke Jacobson *
21. Brad Weber (1)
22. Josh Ioane *
23. Braydon Ennor *
* Sevu Reece will become All Black number 1182 when he takes the field on Saturday.
* Sam Cane will be captaining the All Blacks for the third time.
* The All Blacks and Argentina have played each other 28 times since 1976 with the All Blacks winning 27 times and a 21-all draw in Buenos Aires in 1985.
* The All Blacks won The Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 – 2018 (as well as a Rugby Championship “Grand Slam” in 2012 – 2013 and 2016-2017).
* The match will kick off at 3.05PM local time (6.05AM, Sunday 21 July NZT) and will be broadcast in New Zealand LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on SKY Sport.
Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks Tests
1. vs. ARGENTINA. Saturday 20 July, 3.05PM (6.05AM, Sunday 21 July NZT)
Jose Amalfitani Stadium (Estadio Velez Sarsfield), BUENOS AIRES
2. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 27 July, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
3. vs. AUSTRALIA. Saturday 10 August, 6.00PM (11.00PM NZT)
Optus Stadium, PERTH