Owen Franks, Liam Squire miss out as All Blacks squad for Rugby World Cup announced.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has announced the 31 players selected for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The squad was announced at Eden Park this afternoon, just over three weeks out from the start of the tournament in Japan.
The squad features 17 forwards and 14 backs with the following positional breakdown: three hookers, five props, four locks, five loose forwards, three halfbacks, two first five-eighths, four midfielders and five outside backs.
Hansen congratulated the 31 players selected on the “special moment” they get to share with their proud families.
“As always, we’d also like to take a moment to respect the effort and disappointment of those who’ve missed out. It’s a tough time in anyone’s career,” Hansen said.
“The selectors wanted to point out that it wasn’t a case of anyone not being good enough to be selected, but more the fact that we can only take 31, so there was always going to be some very talented athletes that would miss out.
“Having said that, as we know from previous Rugby World Cups and other campaigns, we may have injuries so those players who missed out may get an opportunity,” he added.
The biggest omission is 108-Test prop Owen Franks, who has been overlooked for Atu Moli and Angus Ta’avao.
Liam Squire also missed out on selection but Hansen confirmed at today’s announcement that the loose forward had made himself available as a replacement should he be needed – not initial selection.
The All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad boasts 1195 Test caps, with huge international experience balanced with a number of newer All Blacks.
Captain Kieran Read is the most capped player with 121 Test caps, while loose forward Luke Jacobson is the newest All Black with one Test cap. The side has an average age of 27.
The squad will assemble in Hamilton on Monday to prepare for the pre-Rugby World Cup Test against Tonga on Saturday 7 September, before departing for Japan on Monday 9 September.
The All Blacks kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against South Africa in Yokahama (Saturday 21 September), then play Canada in Oita (Wednesday 2 October), Namibia in Tokyo (Sunday 6 October), and their final Pool match against Italy in Toyota (Saturday 12 October).
All Blacks Rugby World Cup Squad
Hookers: Dane Coles, Liam Coltman and Codie Taylor
Props: Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta’avao and Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Locks: Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu and Sam Whitelock
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea and Matt Todd
Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga
Midfielders: Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams
Utility backs: Jordie Barrett
Outside backs: George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece and Ben Smith