Super Rugby: Blues coach Leon MacDonald hails return of newly-minted All Blacks winger Mark Telea

Blues coach Leon MacDonald hailed the return of newly-minted All Black Mark Telea, who returned to Super Rugby pre-season on Thursday.

Following a breakout season in 2022, Telea's form at Super Rugby and NPC level was rewarded with an All Blacks debut on the end of year tour.

Against Scotland at Murrayfield, Telea scored two tries on his first All Blacks start to help avert an embarrassing defeat in a 31-23 victory, and put in another memorable display a week later against England at Twickenham in a 25-all draw.

Mark Telea against the Chiefs.
Mark Telea against the Chiefs. Photo credit: Getty Images

With All Blacks spots up for grabs this year building up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Telea needs to have a huge Super Rugby season if he's to stay in contention for a ticket to France later this year.

But after an extended summer break, Telea and the rest of the Blues' All Blacks contingent returned to pre-season training on Thursday, with a noticeable difference to his coach.

"Just his confidence, he's come back and he's quite demanding already," said MacDonald.

"There's some really good reports out of the All Blacks about the leadership he showed when he turned up there. That's really positive.

"Even today, he's demanding straight away and expecting training to be of a high standard, and demanding that around him.

"One thing about Mark [is] he always delivers that himself, personally first."

MacDonald also complemented Telea's work ethic, as one of the hardest working players in the Blues' squad.

"He's a really good story of a guy that's got to where he's got through hard work," MacDonald continued. 

"Twelve months ago he couldn't kick the ball, now he can kick off both feet.

"Credit to him."