Steve Hansen has identified as many as three mystery players who could be surprise inclusions in the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup squad.
When asked on Radio Sport if he had been impressed by any players outside of the usual stand out All Blacks, Hansen said there had been “two or three” who had caught his eye.
“I’m not going to mention names and put pressure on them but there have certainly been some people out there,” Hansen said. “[They] have also been quite obvious to most people.
“It’s been good to see and now that we’re getting to the business part of the season it’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain that high level of performance that we’ve been getting from them.”
Hansen said the impressive performances from certain players had left him and selectors confident they would have plenty of choice when it came to naming the team.
“There are a few guys that are established All Blacks that are starting to come into some good form and a lot of young guys starting to put there hands up,” he said.
“When the time comes to pick the side we’ll have plenty of candidates.
“Everyone is a chance, we’ll say no to nobody.”
Earlier this week, Rugby World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry revealed what he believed to be the All Blacks’ biggest weakness ahead of this year’s tournament in Japan.
Henry told Newstalk ZB’s Jim Kayes Steve Hansen should be trying to find a world-class blindside flanker, with injuries and inconsistent form having stymied several candidates’ claims on the No 6 jersey in the post-Jerome Kaino era.
“If you look at the All Blacks right now, they’re obviously going to miss Damian but the only other position is probably six, where they haven’t really found Jerome Kaino’s replacement,” Henry said.
“So they’ve been fiddling around with that position and I think they will sort that out before the Rugby World Cup – who is that person. But in every other position apart from the McKenzie injury, they’re looking in pretty good shape.”
The All Blacks face South Africa, Canada, Namibia and Italy in pool play in Japan, with the first match against the Boks on 21 September.
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Publish date : 2019-04-26 04:32:15