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Owen Franks was the highest-profile casualty from the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad announcement.

The 108-times capped prop misses out on the Rugby World Cup as does Ngani Laumape and Liam Squire who had recently declared himself available.

The squad features 17 forwards and 14 backs. That breaks down to three hookers, five props, four locks, five back rows, three scrum-halves, two fly-halves, four centres, and five outside backs.

Kieran Read will again captain the All Blacks squad. The number eight will be taking part in his third Rugby World Cup. So will lock Samuel Whitelock and centre and part-time pro-boxer Sonny Bill Williams.

Nine players will be going to their second Tournament, while it is a maiden tournament for 19 of the panel. The Barrett family account for almost 10% of the squad with Beauden, Jordie and Scott all getting the call.

The one injury concern for Hansen is Brodie Retallick. The influential second row has been ruled out of the pool games due to a shoulder problem.

Game Plan

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the last while has been about working on game plans and being clear on panel selection. These will be Hansen's final games in charge of New Zealand as the coach steps down after the tournament in Japan.

New Zealand are looking to win a record third Rugby World Cup in a row. There may even be more pressure on Hansen than usual with the All Blacks recent drop in world rankings.

Hansen said: "Now we are finally in a position to put all our time, effort and thinking into what is going to be an awesome challenge to try and do something that's never been done before - win three Rugby World Cups in a row."

"Yes, it will come with massive expectations and therefore pressure.ย  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.ย  However, that's exciting and knowing we've faced that pressure before gives us confidence.

"There are no guarantees in sport.ย  However, with talent, hard work, and mental fortitude, we'll give ourselves a chance.

"This Rugby World Cup looks like being the most fiercely-contested yet with a large number of teams all believing they can win.ย  This will bring possibly more pressure and expectation on them than ever before and it will be interesting to see who can and who can't cope with it."

All Blacks Campaign

New Zealand get their Pool B campaign underway against South Africa on September 21 before facing Canada, Namibia, and Italy.

The full New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Scott Barrett, Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Luke Jacobson, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick, Ardie Savea, Angus Ta'avao, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Samuel Whitelock.

Backs: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara, Sevu Reece, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Brad Weber, Sonny Bill Williams.

Everyoneโ€™s in the Team Of Us.

Vodafone. The Official Sponsor of the Irish Rugby Team.


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