Legendary All Black centre Frank Bunce has given his take on New Zealand’s backline as the 2023 World Cup comes into view.
Bunce won 55 caps for the All Blacks between 1992 and 1997 and is known as one of the most complete midfielders to represent the side.
Talking to SENZ’s The Run Home, Bunce first shared his thoughts on the number 12 jersey:
“I’d go Jordie and Rieko,” Bunce said.
“He’s (Barrett) pretty much said all along he wants to be a 12 and he’s come in and proven it.
“He’s got everything, he does add a little bit of X-factor.
“He’s got the physicality, he’s got all the skills: he can kick, he can pass, he can tackle.
“For my mind, he’s been the best number 12 that we’ve had for a little while and Rieko … I just still don’t think there’s anyone as an outside centre that’s better than him.
“I don’t know who we might change him with (so) for me those two would be my top midfielders.”
Bunce then turned his attention to the back three – a slightly more complicated area.
“To be honest I would prefer Will Jordan to play fullback,” Bunce added.
“He’s just more in the game (there); he knows when to inject himself, he’s got good pace … he’s kind of playing like Beaudy (B. Barrett) was a couple of years back.
“So I think he’s actually a better option at 15 than Beauden at the moment.
“Wings … Mark Telea turned up and he’s played some great games as well.
“So, to be honest, I’d pick Mark Telea after the last two games and then we’ve got any number of other wings.”