Steve Hansen and co will announce the All Blacks squad for the Pacifica Challenge, but more importantly, the DHL Lions Series in just a couple of days’ time.
I’ve toiled long and hard over these selections – and the first thing to say is that there are three big names missing.
Waisake Naholo and Lima Sopoaga do not make my All Blacks squad. Why? They are simply victims of the numbers and current form. I rate Richie Mo’unga as a better all-round player, and given that the Crusaders are top of the table (yes, I know Mo’unga has had injuries), I am going to remain confident in that decision.
Mo’unga is your bolter – not Rieko Ioane or Ngani Laumape.
Also missing is Dane Coles. I predicted at the start of this year that he wouldn’t feature in this series – and it was nothing more than a hunch – but I am sticking by it.
So without further walls of text – here is my BEST All Blacks squad for the DHL Lions Series. Enjoy.
My Starting All Blacks XV for Lions Series:
Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Nathan Harris, Ardie Savea, Luke Romano, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg
Remaining All Blacks Squad:
Sonny Bill Williams
By Michael Pulman
Michael Pulman is a rugby editor for LastWordOnRugby.com and a columnist for Commentary Box Sports Australia, The 1014 NZ, and Rugby Rampage.