WELLINGTON – New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is expected to spring few surprises in his 31-man World Cup squad on Wednesday, but intrigue remains over the availability of loose forward Liam Squire.
The starting blindside flank opted out of the Rugby Championship after an injury-blighted Super Rugby campaign.
But he has put his hand up for a ticket to Japan after returning at provincial level, local media reported.
Squire’s absence forced Hansen to try out a number of his back-ups, with Ardie Savea taking the No 6 jersey in the two Bledisloe Cup Tests against Australia after Vaea Fifita started in the position against Argentina.
While Squire’s withdrawal raised eyebrows in New Zealand, it drew only praise from Hansen, who saw it as a selfless act and said the 23-cap flank need only call him when he was ready to return.