The world of rugby has reacted with disbelief at the naming of the All Blacks squad for the World Cup in Japan – with many leading media organisations and fans expressing shock at the decision to exclude 108-cap veteran Owen Franks.
Franks, Liam Squire and Ngani Laumape were the most noticeable absentees from the 31-man squad named in Auckland overnight.
Fox Sports called the trio’s omission “ruthless” under the headline All Bl-axed! 144 caps gone as ruthless NZ run a knife through World Cup squad.
The mass interest in the squad was evident when the All Blacks’ official website crashed shortly after the announcement and the hashtags #RWC2019, #AllBlacks and #NewZealand soared to the top of Twitter’s trending topics.
Unsurprisingly, fans took to social media to voice their opinions on the selections – with Franks’ absence a hot topic.
All Blacks legend Dan Carter was quick to congratulate the selected team while offering his sympathy for those who didn’t.
“Rugby World Cups are where dreams are made. A special congratulations to all the boys selected for the @allblacks RWC squad. Commiserations to the guys that missed out. The work starts now #letsgooo #allblackeverything,” he wrote on Twitter.
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