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PA Archive/Press Association Images There's no place for Cory Jane or Israel Dagg in Hansen's squad.
# Embarrassment of riches
The All Blacks are so strong they can leave two stalwarts out of their World Cup squad
Israel Dagg and Cory Jane miss out.

WAISAKE NAHOLO COMPLETED a stunning comeback from a broken leg when he was named in the New Zealand World Cup squad last night, while stalwarts Israel Dagg and Cory Jane missed out.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen selected 17 forwards and 14 backs to head to England to defend their world crown, putting his faith in the traditional Fiji medicine that appears to have healed Naholo’s fracture within a week.

The squad includes only three locks, allowing an extra loose forward to suit the All Blacks preference for a fast-paced game, while Colin Slade is included as a multi-purpose back who can cover scrum-half, fly-half, wing and fullback.

Hansen said the target for his reigning world champions is become the first side to win consecutive World Cups.

“In doing so, we have to do something that no one has ever done before. But that is a hugely exciting challenge and one I believe the team will rise to,” he said.

Naholo, the top try scorer in Super rugby this year, suffered a leg fracture in his Test debut against Argentina in July and was told by New Zealand doctors he would be sidelined for three months and his World Cup dream was over.

Instead of accepting the diagnosis, the blockbusting wing flew to Fiji where his cracked fibula was healed within a week of herbal treatment.

The wonder cure added to a congested line-up for the back-three positions with Hansen eventually settling on Naholo, Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea.

The option of a fifth flyer was ruled out with the inclusion of Tawera Kerr-Barlow as a third scrum-half with Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.

RUGBY NEW ZEALAND ARGENTINA Ross Setford Naholo has made a remarkable recovery to be included. Ross Setford

That left no room for proven big-game performers Dagg and Jane, who played in the 2011 World Cup final when the All Blacks beat France 8-7, nor Charles Piutau who was the in-form wing in the three Tests he played this year.

Sonny Bill Williams, who has been below his best this year, did enough to make the squad along with Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Malakai Fekitoa in the centres.

Dan Carter is joined at fly-half by Beauden Barrett and the utility Slade.

Liam Messam, considered the unluckiest player to miss the 2011 World Cup, is included with McCaw, Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito and Sam Cane in the loose forwards.

Kaino and Vito will also cover the middle row with Hansen’s decision to go with only three locks.

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The front row basically selected itself with Charlie Faumuina, who can prop both sides, making the team a day after playing 40 minutes of provincial rugby in his first game since a neck injury in June.

Hansen has used a squad of 50 this year and all players who missed the cut for England are to remain on standby in case they are needed as injury replacements.

In the 2011 World Cup, Stephen Donald was recalled from holiday after the three first-choice fly-halves were injured and kicked the match-winning penalty in the final.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Victor Vito.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

© – AFP 2015

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