SQUAD NEWS: Franks a shock omission from New Zealand World Cup group

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Veteran prop Owen Franks has missed selection in New Zealand's Rugby World Cup squad in a 31-man group with a few surprises.

Franks has played 108 Tests and despite some inconsistent form it was generally expected that he would be given a spot in Japan. 

However, the Crusaders front rower was the biggest name left out of the squad named on Wednesday.

Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape was another big omission, with Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams picked as the midfielders.

Backrower Liam Squire was not included in the squad, despite reports this week that he made himself available for selection after turning down the chance to be part of the Bledisloe and Rugby Championship campaigns.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said selection decisions were certainly not easy.

"As always, we'd also like to take a moment to respect the effort and disappointment of those who've missed out," he said in a statement.

"It's a tough time in anyone's career. The selectors wanted to point out that it wasn't a case of anyone not being good enough to be selected, but more the fact that we can only take 31, so there was always go to be some very talented athletes that would miss out.

"Having said that, as we know from previous Rugby World Cups and other campaigns, we may have injuries so those players who missed out may get an opportunity."

Hansen said New Zealand would embrace the pressure on them, going into the World Cup as favourites despite being knocked out of the world no. 1 spot.

"Yes, it will come with massive expectation and therefore pressure," he said.

"We're looking forward to tackling that pressure head on and enjoying everything that comes with it.

"We know it'll be tough and that we'll need to earn the right, every time we play, to continue throughout the tournament.

"However, that's exciting and knowing we've faced that pressure before gives us confidence.  There are no guarantees in sport.  However, with talent, hard work and mental fortitude, we'll give ourselves a chance."

New Zealand open their Rugby World Cup campaign against South Africa on Saturday September 21.

SQUAD

New Zealand World Cup squad

FORWARDS

Hookers

Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 64)

Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 5)

Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)

Props

Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 19)

Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 40)

Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, 2)

Angus Ta'avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 7)

Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 29)

Locks

Scott Barrett (25, Crusaders / Taranaki, 30)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke's Bay, 77)

Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 24)

Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 111)

Loose forwards

Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 63)

Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, 1)

Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 121) - Captain

Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 38)

Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 20)

Backs

Halfbacks

TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 58)

Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 86)

Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke's Bay, 2)

Flyhalves

Beauden Barrett (28, Blues / Taranaki, 77)

Richie Mo'unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 12)

Midfielders

Ryan Crotty (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 9)

Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 37)

Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 53)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 11)

George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 4)

Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, 2)

Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 79)