Steve Hansen acknowledges New Zealand “rolled the dice” with the selection of Brodie Retallick in their Rugby World Cup squad as he will not be fit for the pool stage.
Retallick dislocated his shoulder in the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship draw against South Africa last month, but he has been named in the 31-man group to travel to Japan.
Hansen, explaining his selection on Wednesday, admitted Retallick is unlikely to feature for the defending champions until the knockout stages.
“The update is his shoulder is still sore. We don’t expect him to play in the round robin,” he said, with his side set to face the Springboks, Italy, Namibia and Canada in Pool B.
“But we’re reasonably sure that – no disrespect to anyone else in our pool – we should make the quarter-finals. From there, we don’t know.
“So, at this point, we’ve rolled the dice to take him for that quarter-final, and we’ll see what happens from there.
“We think he’s worthy of that risk. He’s a quality player – and he’ll add plenty to us off the park, as well.”
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Meanwhile, Liam Squire was not named in the squad, having previously made himself unavailable for international duty.
Hansen insisted it was a joint decision with Squire, who is leaving New Zealand at the end of the season to join Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, but the 28-year-old could yet join the group as a replacement.
“We had a phone call, a really good phonecall actually, and discussed things,” he said.
“While Liam is playing really well for Tasman and enjoying his rugby, at the end of that conversation, it was agreed that he would make himself available if required as a replacement.”