Key Points:

Halfback Piri Weepu trained with his Wellington side yesterday in preparation for this week's national provincial competition opening but he wasn't talking about his rejection from the All Blacks.

A Wellington spokesman said Weepu may talk later in the week, but preferred to keep his head down and do some training with his provincial team for the time being.

His manager Bruce Sharrock said Weepu was angry and annoyed at not being included in the All Blacks World Cup squad.

After holding a regular place in the squad this season, the 24-year-old was axed and replaced by Canterbury's Andrew Ellis as one of the three halfbacks for the World Cup.

Of the omissions or non-selections, Weepu's was the biggest surprise as he had been the No 2 halfback to Byron Kelleher until Brendon Leonard assumed that role in the last two tests.

He was one of the players regarded by rugby followers and provincial and Super 14 coaches as a safe bet for the World Cup.

Sharrock said Weepu did not take the news well.

"He is emotional, he's annoyed, disappointed and sometimes you'll make the wrong calls and the wrong comments at those times. It is best just to keep away for a couple of days and get himself back to normal," Sharrock told One News.

"I had discussions with Piri last week just about numerous other things, and there were certainly plans afoot within the family about heading to France so he had no idea at that time."

Last year's Air New Zealand Cup finalists Wellington have benefited from the national selectors' decision as Weepu was not expected to be available for the competition for the entire season.

"It is a surprise for us but looks like we will have him so from our point of view it's a good thing, but for Piri we feel for him," Wellington coach Aussie McLean said yesterday.

With his current contract with the NZRFU extending up until the end of 2008, Weepu is unlikely to go anywhere unless an attractive offer comes from the northern hemisphere.

His other sporting passion, rugby league, is an option. But Warriors director of football John Hart said the NRL salary cap would make it difficult for Weepu to switch codes.

Hart, the 1999 All Blacks World Cup coach, said the Warriors had no plans to chase Weepu and felt it would be difficult for other NRL clubs to approach him.

"I think the salary cap will always be an issue [for rugby players]," said Hart. "With our situation in the salary cap there's no way we can look at anyone else. We've got our roster for next year so we're pretty secure."

Meanwhile, another player who had high hopes of making the World Cup squad, Troy Flavell, is expected to join the Auckland training this week.

"I'm really disappointed for Troy because I know how hard he's worked in the last two years," Blues coach David Nucifora said of his Super 14 captain this year. "

- NZPA