All Blacks v Wales: Ian Foster throws Brad Weber lifeline with first test of 2022 after axing

The All Blacks door isn't shut on halfbacks Brad Weber and TJ Perenara, coach Ian Foster confirmed, after the pair were initially left out of his plans to start 2022.

When the first All Blacks squad of the year was named back in June, both Weber and Perenara were notable omissions, as selectors cast their eyes to the future in the search for Aaron Smith's back-up.

Finlay Christie and Folau Fakatava were chosen as Smith's deputies, as Weber and Perenara were named in the Māori All Blacks' side to face Ireland.

Brad Weber and TJ Perenara.
Brad Weber and TJ Perenara. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

Fast forward five months, and Weber is back in the All Blacks' ranks, after injury ruled Fakatava out until 2023, picked in the No.21 jersey to face Wales in Cardiff on Sunday morning.

Weber, 31, was picked on the bench ahead of Christie, who started in the All Blacks' narrow 38-31 win over Japan in Tokyo last week.

Perenara was vice-captain for the All Blacks XV against Ireland A, with both players out to show their worth to Foster and co. as the 2023 World Cup in France creeps closer.

Addressing media after naming his side though, Foster outlined there is still opportunity for both Weber and Perenara to force their way back into his plans, provided they take the opportunities given to them over the coming year.

"He's played really well," Foster said. "That No. 9 position was a tough selection.

"We really felt this was a year we wanted to give Folau [Fakatava], to have a good look at him.

"He knocked out a couple of pretty experienced campaigners. His injury has opened the door for Brad - and also TJ. TJ will be playing in the other team this weekend. Brad's with us."

Foster also urged Weber not to change what he's done so far this year for the Chiefs, Hawke's Bay and Māori All Blacks. 

[He should] just carry on doing what he's doing," Foster continued. 

"We gave him a couple of things we wanted him to tidy up on, but he's a quality person.

"We kind of felt 'he's here, lets get him in there.'"