All Blacks skipper Sam Cane should be dropped for the July series against Ireland, say Kiwi greats Sir John Kirwan, Jeff Wilson and Mils Muliaina.
Speaking on the latest episode of Sky Sport‘s ‘The Breakdown’, all three picked Blues flank Dalton Papalii at No 7 ahead of Chiefs loose forward Cane to face the Irish.
“I think Papalii is out and out the in-form No 7,” Muliaina said. “He needs to stay there. “Don’t move him out of position. Don’t give him a positional change or number change, don’t move him into No 6, because I want him there [at No 7].
“Sam Cane comes in [at No 6] for a particular reason, and that is turnover ball.”
Wilson argued the All Blacks needed a bigger lineout option and included Tupou Vaa’i as his choice for blindside flank, alongside Papalii.
“Dalton Papalii in the last 12 months has delivered for the Blues and for the All Blacks,” he said. “He needs an opportunity to see whether or not he can take it to the next level.
“That’s why I’ve got him in that position. The moment he’s not available, Sam Cane is starting for me at No 7, because at the international level the physicality he brings is 100% right there.
“I’m looking at a different balance with Tupou Vaa’i at blindside flanker. I want size.”
The trio were also unanimous in picking Ardie Savea at No 8, but Kirwan wanted Akira Ioane to partner his Blues teammate Papalii at blindside.
The All Blacks are set to name a 36-man squad on 13 June ahead of hosting Ireland in three tests in Auckland (2 July), Dunedin (9 July) and Wellington (16 July).