New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has revealed that recent England call-up Brad Shields was likely to make the All Blacks squad in 2018.
After naming his 33-man group ahead of facing France in three Tests, Hansen said that Shields was pushing hard for honours in New Zealand.
Shields was last week included in Eddie Jones’ June squad, ending speculation over his future, before Hansen named his own side on Saturday.
“It is obviously one of those positions…he probably would have made this team this year,” Hansen told Newstalk ZB about Shields’ jersey.
“I wish him all the best…he wants to play Test rugby, he obviously didn’t see a future here. Straight away Jerome Kaino retired, Reado (Kieran Read) is injured, Liam Squire hasn’t played a lot of rugby this year. The six/eight role has become a focus for us this year.
“That’s the thing about the All Blacks — you’ve got to stay resilient because you are always up against some one else as good if not a little better…if you are not prepared to wait for the opportunity and keep working at it you are not going to get it.
He continued: “That’s my point to the people who have missed out today — we used 54 players last year and we won’t just use 33 this year.
“Someone will get an opportunity and if they mentally stay in the game, stay in the fight through being resilient with how they prepare and how they play on game day, they will get that opportunity.”
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