Who could bolt into the All Blacks squad?

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will announce his latest squad to face Wales on Sunday. Photo / Jason Oxenham
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will announce his latest squad to face Wales on Sunday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Bolters are a rare thing in All Blacks squads these days but Chris Rattue and Wynne Gray make their potential surprise picks for Sunday morning's announcement.

James Lowe
Do they have bolters anymore? Or have they been trampled on by pathways? Anyway, I'm not in a great position to find a bolter, because I watch as little Super Rugby as possible. One of the reasons for my disinterest is players like Julian Savea, who seems to be in cruise mode this year as if he feels guaranteed a test place. Stuff like that makes my blood boil.

So in part this is a revenge attack, against all I dislike about New Zealand rugby's way of operating. But that does Lowe a disservice. The Chiefs left wing has all the attributes - including a long kicking game - that I think would really shine at test level. Speed, size, nice touches, and he comes from a terrific franchise which has refused to lie down when faced with a massive injury toll.

That Lowe has won a tough battle over arthritis (which he must still manage) shows he has character, a very important ingredient in the All Blacks these days.

My total left field choice would be to try rampant Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea on the left wing, but maybe that is a bolter too far.

- CR

Daniel Lienert-Brown:
An athletic prop working his way towards the top in a Highlanders' scrum which improves each game. He's an age-group rep who left the Crusaders region to get more regular work because Wyatt Crockett and Joe Moody blocked his progress.

The 23-year-old Lienert-Brown, whose younger brother Anton plays for the Chiefs, played two games for the Crusaders in 2014 before moving south and into more regular frontrow work this year when Brendon Edmonds suffered a serious knee injury.

- WG

- NZ Herald

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