Brodie Retallick A pessimist’s take on the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad

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The All Blacks’ 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

OPINION:The man’s sphere of influence, and standing throughout the rugby world, stretches far beyond whistles and whiteboards or cones and crash pads.

Black-stump philosopher and occasional provocateur, Steve Hansen has cultivated an air of infinite wisdom around himself; the man who knows all and sees all and always makes the right decision.

The bloke who bears the weight of an expectant nation so we don’t have to.

History will treat Hansen well. One Rugby World Cup title as head coach, and another as assistant, puts him in a league of his own.

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Hansen’s All Black teams have played with class and verve and carried themselves well off the park too. Every other coach wants to take him down a peg or two and yet none have been able.

But you look at Hansen’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad and you don’t see a coherent plan coming together. For a guy who’s built his reputation on always being one or two steps ahead of the field, Hansen appears to have come to many of these 31 players quite late.

Brodie Retallick All Black coach Steve Hansen is usually two steps ahead, but seems to have come to some players late.

PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGES

All Black coach Steve Hansen is usually two steps ahead, but seems to have come to some players late.

Presumably names such as Atu Moli, Luke Jacobson and Sevu Reece appeared somewhere on his depth chart, but their ascent to the top can only be recent.

New Zealand’s propping stocks are w

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