Braid's selection 'bolt out of the blue'

By ALAN PERROTT

Daniel Braid has been called into the All Blacks rugby squad twice, but he has yet to hear his name read out live.

Tonight the 22-year-old flanker was having a post-training meal at his girlfriend's home when his dad and former All Black lock Gary Braid called with the news.

"It was such a big shock, I had no idea" he said.

"I thought, maybe I had a shot, but this is just a bolt out of the blue. I've been selected twice and both times it's been my dad who's told me."

He quickly switched on the television but missed the rest of the team due to the shrieking and yelling coming from girlfriend Astrid Van Beurden and her mother.

It was like hearing his own selection said proud father Gary Braid, a former lock.

"It's almost the same. I'm bloody rapt for him. None of the scribes or commentators were picking it, but then I never expected my name to be read out either in 1983. I always thought he had a chance."

Braid was just as happy to hear Corey Flynn will be joining him. The pair were picked together for the New Zealand under-16 team.

Within an hour of the team announcement Braid was getting nervous. His NPC campaign was suddenly over, he's going to Australia for the World Cup.

"I'm a little bit nervous," he said. "But to be joining a team that is playing such an exciting brand of football is fantastic.

The 2003 World Cup squad was named in presidential style at the Ponsonby Rugby Club, in Auckland, its walls groaning under the weight of a gallery of 47 past All Blacks.

On their small stage selectors Mark Shaw and Kieran Crowley made solemn bookends for captain Reuben Thorne and coach John Mitchell.

Their audience had been confident of what they would hear, most predicted a straight forward evening with maybe one bolter.

When Ben Blair and Braid were the first names announced, the casual attitudes shifted, backs straightened and ears pricked up. When Flynn came up, there were sharp breaths all round.

Move over Anton, Andrew and Christian, it's Daniel, Ben and Corey's time now.

- New Zealand Herald

The squad is:

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Leon MacDonald, Ben Blair, Doug Howlett, Joe Rokocoko, Caleb Ralph, Tana Umaga, Ma'a Nonu, Aaron Mauger, Daniel Carter, Carlos Spencer, Justin Marshall, Steve Devine, Byron Kelleher.

Forwards: Jerry Collins, Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw, Marty Holah, Daniel Braid, Reuben Thorne (captain), Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Kees Meeuws, Dave Hewett, Carl Hoeft, Keven Mealamu, Mark Hammett, Corey Flynn.

All Blacks World Cup squad profiles

All Blacks test schedule/scoreboard

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