Discarded All Blacks receive a lifeline for Rugby Champs
NEWS: Due to quarantine protocols and with the Rugby Championship to now be hosted in Australia, the All Blacks are likely to select an extended squad for the six-game competition.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster named a 35-man squad earlier this month but will in all likelihood turn to the selectors to extend their squad ahead of the South Hemisphere’s premier international competition.
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With mandatory quarantines necessary for any injury call-ups, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand will likely try and rely only on the players they initially bring with them to Australia late next month.
According to Newshub, there will be an additional 11 All Blacks travelling with the original group selected bringing the total number of players in the squad to 46. However, not all 46 will travel to Australia in October at the same time. Some players may choose not to feature for the entire Rugby Championship which would keep them away from their families for up to two and a half months.
This would make it a daunting prospect to spend one-sixth of the year away from your new family especially where there are young children involved.
TJ Perenara and Richie Mo’unga have just recently become fathers and Beauden Barrett is expecting his first born to arrive next month. This would give these chaps an added incentive not to spend the entire 10 weeks away from home in Australia and it’s highly likely Rugby New Zealand will view this in a far more lenient light given the unprecedented circumstances necessitated by COVID-19.
“We want to make sure whoever is representing the All Blacks does so in a safe environment where they feel happy and comfortable,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said on Friday.
“We are hugely supportive of our players. We know they have gone through an incredibly tough time this year. This challenge of what they are about to undertake is going to be significant and we will back them and their families in whatever way we need to ensure they are looked after. If that means they are unable to assemble or travel we’ll hear that out and support that.”
Bringing more players to Australia could prove really fortuitous for the fringe players who had been knocking on the selection door but didn’t quite make it into the squad like Josh Ioane, Mitch Dunshea and Lachlan Boshier who all excelled during Super Rugby Aotearoa but then didn’t manage to crack the nod originally.
If Foster does expand the squad by almost a third, players like this could find themselves on the plane to Australia next month.
Source: Newshub & @RugbyPass