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Under pressure wing Rieko Ioane is one of nine players released by the All Blacks for the third round of the Mitre 10 Cup.
Ioane, who was dropped in favour of George Bridge for Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup romp against the Wallabies, is expected to play for Auckland against Bay of Plenty at Eden Park on Saturday.
Given the All Blacks don’t play again until September 7 – against Tonga in Hamilton – Ioane and some of the other released players could also be made available in round four.
Ioane, who has struggled for form since early in Super Rugby, had to watch on as Bridge impressed in the No 11 jersey on Saturday, when he scored a try and set up another.
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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will name his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan Wednesday week, and has admitted their 36-0 trouncing of Australia had answered some questions.
“In some ways it makes it easier because some people really put their hand up last
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