Mixed fortunes for Cory Jane, Jeremy Thrush
ESPN Staff
August 20, 2015
Cory Jane was involved in Wellington's three first-half tries © Getty Images

Cory Jane has delivered a firm message to All Blacks selectors with a starring performance for Wellington Lions against North Harbour in the ITM Cup at QBE Stadium in Albany on Thursday, but fellow Test candidate Jeremy Thrush endured a night to forget.

The pair were among 17 All Blacks allowed to return to their ITM Cup provinces to press their claims for Rugby World Cup selection, but Thrush is now in serious doubt after leaving the pitch with a serious looking ankle injury shortly after the half-hour mark. The lock's left ankle appeared to give way at a lineout, and the sight of him on the bench on crutches during the second half did not augur well for his Test hopes.

A Wellington spokeswoman said the veteran of 12 Tests, would undergo scans on Friday, with results likely to determine if he is still in contention for the World Cup squad to be unveiled on August 30 after making just one bench appearance this year.

Luke Romano has seemingly become the third-ranked All Blacks lock, and Thrush's hopes may depend on whether the selectors choose to take four specialist locks to the tournament rather than the widely speculated theory that they will take three to cater for extra loose forward personnel.

Playing at fullback, Jane, meanwhile, provided All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and the New Zealand selectors with a timely reminder of his game, involved in all three first-half tries and producing a reliable kicking game and sharp running and handling before he was substitued with a smile on his face after 51 minutes.

Jane, a member of the 2011 Rugby World Cup-winning squad, is in a batter with Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Nehe Milner-Skudder and, perhaps, Waisake Naholo for one of the few remaining spots in the All Blacks squad, in the outside backs, and the winger's performance from full-back will surely have satisfied Hansen and his desire for versatility.

Wellington's Jeremy Thrush couldn't hide the pain after coming off injured © Getty Images
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