2015 Rugby World Cup Preview: New Zealand

By Matt Findlay All Blacks coach Steve Hansen opted for experience in naming his blockbuster 31-man squad for New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup (RWC) title defence, selecting a group boasting almost 1500 Test Match caps. Incredibly though, the biggest talking point comes from the omission of a young man who has only played one Test – Highlanders five-eighth Lima Sopoaga. Water coolers, online forums and media outlets of every description have been bombarded by punters, experts and ex-players alike, all trying to fathom how Hansen left out the form play-maker of the Super Rugby competition, particularly after his stunning international debut against the Springboks in the Rugby Championship. In one of the most obvious instance of Hansen seeking experience over form, he chose tried and true first-fives Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade ahead of Sopoaga. “I’m sure it won’t be the last time a lot of the players who have missed out play for the All Blacks. As we have see
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