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Seta re-invention

Nz Herald
Sunday, October 29, 2017

THE re-invention of Seta Tamanivalu and how it paid dividends

The way back to the All Blacks' midfield was effectively blocked for Seta Tamanivalu after he played his last Test last year.

It wasn't that he played poorly in that often spiteful Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies in Wellington in that 29-9 victory —— he hardly had a chance to after coming on in the final five minutes as a replacement —— it was probably more that he got a couple of things wrong in his previous Test, also at Westpac Stadium, when he came on early in the match against Wales for the injured Malakai Fekitoa.

The main issue was his defence —— he made a couple of wrong decisions in the 36-22 win —— and that proved to be virtually the death knell for him in that position where guile when without the ball is placed at a premium.

Besides that, the return from injury of Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams, and emergence of Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape and now Jack Goodhue mean the All Blacks are well covered in that area.

But now he is back in the All Blacks squad and on his way to the Northern Hemisphere with a good chance to play a Test against France, Scotland or Wales. Credit for his recall must go to the Crusaders for turning him into an outside back and himself for making such a good fist of it.

Credit too must go to his perseverance and not wanting to give up on his All Black dream.

As a wing Tamanivalu was devastating for Scott Robertson's men this year. He scored a breakaway try in the final against the Lions in Johannesburg (his ninth try in 16 games) and was such a good replacement for the bulldozing Nemani Nadolo that the big Fijian wasn't missed at all.

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