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Thirteen-test All Blacks prop Karl Tu’inukuafe concedes he might not make the cut for the Rugby World Cup.
OPINION:You assume it’ll be New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey who’s rolled out on Wednesday to announce the 31 men who’ll go to Japan for the Rugby World Cup, but I fell 10 players short.
With the best will in the world, there really are only 21 blokes who deserve to be All Blacks this year. Everyone else is either there on past deeds or promise.
Starting at the back
So much for two fullbacks in the back-three; this time around we’re about to have none.
Cory Jane, Israel Dagg or Ben Smith never liked playing wing. But All Blacks coach Steve Hansen set his stall on the ploy, right up until Smith started getting so badly exposed this season.
* Steve Hansen’s acid test selection
* Retallick too good to ignore
* Why ABs are RWC favourites
* Picking the ABs outside backs
* Ex-All Black’s locking solution
* England serve ominous notice
* Squire wants to play at RWC
Looking at it now, Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece and George Bridge – none of whom are specialist fullbacks – are going to go to Japan and then it’s a lolly scramble.
I still like David Havili but assume Smith, Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett will end up on Impey’s list.
No-one’s going to argue about Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown.
We all know Sonny Bill Williams will get picked, despite concerns over his durability and lack of rugby. The same questions hang over Ryan Crotty, but it seems safe to assume he’s going too.
Ngani Laumape’s chances might depend on who’s culled elsewhere.
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