All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has announced 41-man squad for a foundation day later this month.
The squad includes many familiar faces, as well as some players who have been rewarded for their good form this season. Uncapped loose forward Akira Ioane has been called up following a number of great displays for the Blues, as has four-cap Highlanders flanker Shannon Frizell.
All Blacks fans have taken to Twitter after the squad announcement to give their opinion, and while many seem happy with the squad, there are some notable omissions that have surprised some.
Of course, with the World Cup less than six months away, Hansen will not want to make any major changes to the core squad that he has used over the past few seasons, but some fans feel that there may have been spaces for some of the form players in Super Rugby this season.
Given the success that the Crusaders are having this campaign, some fans think that a few more of their players warranted a place in the squad, particularly the outside backs. The exclusion of five-cap David Havili and 21-year-old Will Jordan has been questioned, and Braydon Ennor was touted as a possibility before the announcement.
— Robin Davies (@RobinDa51355127) April 9, 2019
Why no Havili?
— Gumby (@GumbaliciousDef) April 9, 2019
Jordan, Hill and Havili should be included
— Luke Bhatia (@lukebhatia) April 9, 2019
Will Jordan needs to be there
— alex (@CILVlADEMO) April 9, 2019
No Ben lam? Damn someone tell the uce just play for sa lol https://t.co/XmIrfVzB6m
— JAYMAN?? (@JayMatai25) April 9, 2019
big red Tom Robinson robbed!
— ¯_(?)_/¯ (@Vinsanity275) April 9, 2019
Another omission that has raised a few eyebrows from fans is Ma’a Nonu’s. The two-time World Cup winner flirted with the idea of returning to the All Blacks at the beginning of the season, and many fans laughed off the prospects of the 36-year-old.
However, the 104-cap international’s form has steadily improved throughout the season, as has the Blues’. His try and two assists in the win over the Waratahs last weekend was the perfect statement to make ahead of the squad being announced.
Then again, with the depth that the All Blacks have currently, it was always going to be a tough ask to break into the squad, and the same goes for Lam, Havili and Jordan, as ultimately Hansen has been working on his side for a while, and will not want to make wholesale changes.
Ma’a Nonu should be on that list! His form right now is World Class.
— Rico Navarro (@RicoMN) April 9, 2019
— Fan of The Man (@therealamrap) April 9, 2019
No Ben Lam no Nonu in the All Black extended squad…I'm hurt!!!
— Ironside (@Onwaba15) April 9, 2019
Surprised they haven't tapped Ma Nonu onthe shoulders given his form for the Blues!
— Ben Leighton (@benlleighton) April 9, 2019
Nonu has been playing very well. His all round game has improved, whilst he’s been in France. Class player, with lots of experience. I would have in an extended squad.
— L Williams (@welshmaninoz) April 9, 2019
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