In the midst of the shock All Blacks squad announcement for the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed her favourite All Blacks player.

In an interview with The Country, our leader was asked if she had an admiration for the All Blacks since she grew up in Morrinsville.

"Yeah, I did," she responded. "I watched every game. I remember getting up during big tournaments that were played overseas to watch with my dad."

She then revealed her favourite All Blacks player was former test first-five Andrew Mehrtens.

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Andrew Mehrtens looks to run past Charlie Hodgson (left) and Olly Barkley during the second test against England at Eden Park in 2004, the All Blacks winning 36-12. Photo / Dean Purcell
Andrew Mehrtens looks to run past Charlie Hodgson (left) and Olly Barkley during the second test against England at Eden Park in 2004, the All Blacks winning 36-12. Photo / Dean Purcell

"I grew up in the Waikato so I was always a big Mooloos fan. My second team - and this is purely because of this one player - my second team was always Canterbury because of Andrew Mehrtens.

"I loved Andrew Mehrtens. He was just a player that when I was a bit younger, just had, you know, such a fantastic record but also had such an attitude."

"That gives you a little sense of I guess the era for me, when I was watching closely."

Listen to the full interview below:

Mehrtens played for Canterbury in 1993, before being selected for the All Blacks in 1995 where he played in the 1995 World Cup.

The 59-year-old joined Toulon in 2007, three years after playing the last of 70 tests in 2004, scoring 261 points in 25 matches for the then second-division club.

He was the second all-time All Blacks points scorer who spent a season with Toulon in 2007 and now owns the Top14 club.

Andrew Mehrtens farewelled by members of the Marlborough team after his final Ranfurly Shield defence for Canterbury in Christchurch in 2005. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Andrew Mehrtens farewelled by members of the Marlborough team after his final Ranfurly Shield defence for Canterbury in Christchurch in 2005. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Earlier today, The All Blacks sprung a major shock in their Rugby World Cup squad, leaving veteran prop Owen Franks out of their 31-man squad for the Japan tournament.

Franks' omission is the most surprising, with the 108-cap Crusaders strongman a regular starter for the All Blacks, until this season. He was dropped for the second Bledisloe test at Eden Park earlier this month after a poor showing against the Wallabies in the Perth defeat a week earlier.

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However, most observers still expected the double World Cup winner to be on the plane to Japan, but his name was not read out by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, with Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tuungafasi and Atu Moli the props chosen in his place.

Also missing out on the squad was Ngani Laumape, with Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, and Anton Lienert-Brown all preferred as options for the 12 jersey, with Jack Goodhue also getting the nod in the midfield.

All Blacks squad: Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tuungafasi, Atu Moli, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Liam Coltman, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Matt Todd, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain), Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber, Richie Mo'unga, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, George Bridge, Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith