NZ squad likely to change for World Cup

by Staff Writer

New Zealand's selectors are set to adopt a 'horses for courses' approach when they name their squad for the Tri-Nations on Sunday with not all players selected in the 30-strong group certain to feature in the World Cup.

A difference in injury replacement rules between the two tournaments could colour the final make-up of each squad with All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen suggesting the rule may influence their decision-making.

"In the World Cup you can't replace a player and then bring them back through injury so that might have a bearing on how we select for the final World Cup squad," Hansen said.

"In the Tri-Nations if you get an injury you can replace that person and bring them back.

"We're going to try and win the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup so to do that we want to pick the right squad to be able to do that," he said after a second two-day training camp for All Blacks hopefuls wrapped up in Wellington on Wednesday.

Hansen said they were keen to use the Tri-Nations to put some of the less experienced players under the microscope to assess whether they were up to playing in the World Cup.

One of the players who may get the chance to shine is five-eighth Colin Slade who turns out for Canterbury on Friday in a pre-season national provincial championship match against Wellington.

Prop Tony Woodcock, utility back Isaia Toeava and fullback Israel Dagg were still weeks away from a return from injuries, while wing Hosea Gear was sidelined with a hamstring injury and loose forward Liam Messam limped out of training on Wednesday after rolling an ankle.

The All Blacks squad for the Tri-Nations and match against Fiji on July 22 will be named on Sunday.

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