Opinion: Five things we learned about the All Blacks squad for the Lions Test series

OPINION: Steve Hansen and his merry men have announced a 33-man squad, plus a few extras, to take on the British and Irish Lions in a highly anticipated series.

As always there were a few talking points, some surprises and plenty of the obvious.

Here are five things to take from Shag's selections.

Steve Hansen has let down Steven Luatua

Steven Luatua celebrates the Blues win over the Lions on Wednesday night (Getty)
Steven Luatua celebrates the Blues win over the Lions on Wednesday night (Getty)

The Blues backrower is undoubtedly the form Number 8 in Super Rugby this season. So what that he is going overseas? Hansen and his staff have made concessions to other players in the past - hello SBW - and selected them for squads, despite their impending departure to greener pastures offshore.

Luatua deserves to be in this squad - he was sensational on Wednesday night against the tourists and quite frankly I am embarrassed as an All Black fan that he has been omitted. What's good for Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Charlie Faumuinia  and Aaron Cruden should also apply to one of the form players of Super Rugby.

We have ridiculous depth in the midfield

Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after scoringa ;ate first-half try against the Lions (Getty)
Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after scoringa ;ate first-half try against the Lions (Getty)

The following players didn't make the squad: Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Vince Aso and Seta Tamanivalu, while Jack Goodhue has made a five-man standby squad.

Think about that for a second. None of the forementioned players would look out of place in a black jersey against the Lions, and if anything happens to the guys lucky enough to earn a call-up then look-out Lions because some hungry beasts will be unleashed.

Dane Coles is integral to this side

Hurricanes skipper, Dane Coles (Getty)
Hurricanes skipper, Dane Coles (Getty)

The fact that he is highly unlikely to play, yet has been selected, goes to show what the selectors think of this man.

All Blacks name squad for Lions Test series

An outside shot at being the next All Black captain, Coles is currently sitting on the sidelines with concussion issues, but you would think he will still play some role as part of the side's leadership group. Hopefully he gets the all-clear soon, given he is the most dynamic hooker to ever pull on an All Black jersey.

Rieko Ioane has superceded Nehe Milner-Skudder

Blues winger Rieko Ioane (Getty)
Blues winger Rieko Ioane (Getty)

Okay so yes, the Hurricanes winger has spent more time on the sidelines than on the field in the last two years, but the selectors in the past have been very faithful to players returning from injury.

Ioane has been sensational in 2017 and despite Milner-Skudder's recent return it would have been unfair to the Blues flyer to miss out.

Milner-Skudder will likely be the first point of call should someone go down with an injury, but Ioane has the perfect opportunity now to cement a spot on the right-wing.

Matt Todd is the unluckiest player in the history of rugby

Matt Todd in action for the Crusaders (Getty)
Matt Todd in action for the Crusaders (Getty)

The Crusaders captain has never let the All Blacks down when called upon and in my humble opinion is the most complete openside flanker in world rugby.

I don't get Hansen's fascination with Sam Cane. Todd is more combative, better at the breakdown and far superior in open-play.

I would suspect should Cane go down with an injury then Todd would walk straight into the starting lineup ahead of Ardie Savea, but one wonders if the vultures from Europe are beginning to circle around the outstanding Cantabrian.

Brad Lewis is a digital producer for Newshub sport.

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