All Black’s World Cup hopes take a blow after squad omission

Dylan Coetzee
All Black Brad Weber looks on during a warm-up

Veteran scrum-half Brad Weber’s World Cup hopes took a major blow after not being announced in New Zealand’s primary Test squad.

Weber was named in the All Blacks XV squad for their tour to Japan but failed to make the cut for the Test squad with Aaron Smith, Finlay Christie and the in-form Cam Roigard the chosen trio.

Tough omission

It may have been a disappointment for Weber but Sam Cane would have been delighted to retain the All Blacks captaincy. However, the flanker acknowledged how tough the omission is for his Chiefs team-mate.

“Yeah. Yeah, it is,” Cane said. “He [Weber] was one guy I thought of straight away, when seeing that team announcement. He is a tough character and playing some good footy.

“And, look, it is the selectors’ choice, but I think everyone can see there’s not a lot between those halfbacks. So, being the type of character he is, I know that he will be doing everything … to have an awesome game for us, in his last game for the Chiefs this weekend.”

Weber has shown great form this season and has played a key role in powering the decision-making alongside Damian McKenzie.

Speaking to the media before the semi-final against the Brumbies, Weber said he pushes all the selection pressure to the side to keep a clear mind.

“So I push that to the side now, have done so for a few years, and it’s treated me really well, to be honest,’’ Weber said last week.

“My full energy’s in with the Chiefs, I don’t think this game needs me to prove that I can play at international level, I know I can, I’ve done it before.

“That’s great for my mental space, because I don’t have to come out here and try and do something outrageous.“

Timing of announcement

Weber and other stars who missed out will have to show some mental strength to find a good performance in the Super Rugby Pacific final this weekend between the Chiefs and Crusaders.

The timing may be awkward but Cane understands there are a lot of moving parts and is hoping the team uses their time together well.

“It’s just the nature of the schedule,” Cane said. “There’s no real other time to squeeze it in. Plus we have got guys who aren’t playing this week, who will assemble this week for a camp. There are a lot of moving parts.

“I know other teams around the world are already getting together and training, so we just have to make the best use of our time.”

READ MORE: Winners and losers from the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship squad