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Steve Hansen on George Bridge-Rieko Ioane dilemma: 'The guy that plays best gets picked'

The All Blacks have a handy dilemma in selecting their side to face England in this weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-final, with coach Steve Hansen explaining his process in choosing which world class winger will start in the number 11 jersey.

Having made drastic changes to his side after the All Blacks' 47-26 defeat to the Wallabies in Perth earlier this year, the biggest arguably coming in the form of Rieko Ioane, replaced by George Bridge.

Since then though, Bridge has shown no signs of relinquishing his hold of the famous number 11 jersey, scoring eight tries in his seven Tests, including in last weekend's Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Ireland.

With Ioane just 23, and statistically on track to break Doug Howlett's record for most tries as an All Black, the winger has ample time to return to the black jersey, however will now have to be patient in waiting for his chance.

"Form's really important," Hansen said in response to picking his wingers.

"When you're selecting the squad, you've got a bit of wriggle room for guys who are new, and a bit of wiggle room for guys that are older players.

"Rieko has been a fabulous player, still is a fabulous player, so he gets in.

"You've got George Bridge, who played fabulously well during the Super [Rugby] season, had one game for the All Blacks in Japan the year before, played very well there.

"You bring them together, and then you give them opportunities, and the guy that plays the best gets picked. George has been playing, in our opinion, the best - so he gets the tick ahead of Rieko.

"It's a luxury, because Rieko [Ioane] is a super rugby player."

Hansen will reveal who gets the nod as the starting left winger to face England in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Thursday.

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The All Blacks will have to leave out one world class winger against England. Source: 1 NEWS