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Lienert-Brown hungry for comeback after suspension for high hit

The All Blacks, watched at training in Auckland today by World Cup winners Dan Carter and Conrad Smith, have welcomed back former spectator Anton Lienert-Brown, the midfielder having served his suspension for a high tackle in the Super Rugby final.

Lienert-Brown admitted to being frustrated at having to sit out the Argentina and South Africa victories due to his high tackle on new All Black Dallas McLeod during the Chiefs’ defeat to the Crusaders in Hamilton last month but he now comes into the frame for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Melbourne on Saturday.

Able to play either second-five or centre, it remains to be seen whether the selectors start him ahead of incumbents Jordie Barrett or Rieko Ioane or pick him on the reserves bench but either way the 28-year-old is relieved to be back in contention.

“There are 36 players but only 23 can play so every week there are 13 guys itching to get out there,” he said after training at Mt Smart Stadium today.

“But we wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t think we’d be here if you didn’t have that hunger inside yourself.

“Credit to Jordie and Rieko, they’ve done an extremely good job, and Braydon [Ennor] has been awesome off the bench. It’s healthy, it’s good for the jersey and that’s what this environment needs.