Vaea Fifita, Kieran Read and Steve Hansen chat during All Blacks training.
Vaea Fifita, Kieran Read and Steve Hansen chat during All Blacks training.

Dumped All Black accuses coach of not telling the truth

AXED Vaea Fifita has accused coach Steve Hansen of "not telling me the truth" about the reasons for the All Black's  Bledisloe Cup omission.

And the world champion Kiwis have moved to clarify the situation ahead of Saturday's Test against Australia.

Fifita's omission from New Zealand's Rugby Championship squad was a major talking point after the athletic Hurricanes forward's eye-catching performances last season.

Hansen cited Fifita playing at lock in Super Rugby, rather than his preferred position of blindside flanker, as a major reason for his non-selection.

But that didn't quite wash with the 26-year-old, given Highlanders lock Jackson Hemopo was picked in his place by the All Blacks as a No.6 option.

"When I saw (Hansen) got interviewed and he said he signed Hemopo to six, not lock, I kind of feel like he's not telling me the truth," the usually shy Fifita told stuff.co.nz.

"But that's life."

Stuff.co.nz later reported that Hansen called Fifita from Sydney to clarify the reasons for his dumping.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster was also questioned about the situation during his press conference on Tuesday.

Fifita will now play at blindside flanker for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup.

"It's understandable that players are disappointed and probably don't hear things at certain times," Foster said.

Vaea Fifita stretches out during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Picture: Getty Images
Vaea Fifita stretches out during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Picture: Getty Images

"We love Vaea. We just felt that the best thing for him, he went through a bit of a mixed Super season and mainly playing at lock.

"We just felt it was time that he actually spent a bit more time at six, just to get to know that role really, really well, and with our intention that he's far from gone from this squad and we'd love to see him come back in pretty soon.

"So it was really just a matter of doing that.

"And if he hasn't quite understood that then we'll go and clear that up again."

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