The All Blacks have 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.

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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.

The All Blacks selectors name the Rugby World Cup squad at Eden Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The All Blacks selectors name the Rugby World Cup squad at Eden Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Luke Jacobson was named in the squad, with Liam Squire not selected after having earlier turned down selection during the Rugby Championship. Hansen confirmed that Squire is available if required as an injury replacement, while Vaea Fifita, Jackson Hemopo and Shannon Frizell were amongst those also missing out.

The All Blacks will play South Africa, Canada, Namibia and Italy in pool matches starting on September 21, before heading into the knockout rounds.

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

- More to come