Rugby World Cup 2019: Owen Franks under threat, says former All Blacks coach John Hart

With coach Steve Hansen less than 24 hours from naming his 31-man World Cup squad, another former All Blacks boss thinks one of the most experienced players could be in danger of missing the cut.

John Hart fears Owen Franks may be left in the lurch, with the rise of Atu Moli offering a more versatile skillset.

Versatility that could also benefit another All Black fighting for World Cup inclusion.

Hansen hasn't been afraid to make some tough calls in 2019, bringing the axe down on several front-line players for the deciding Bledisloe Cup test.

Hart believes that move suggests 108-test veteran Franks may miss selection.

"Nepo Lauala stepped up and Atu Moli has played well," Hart told Newshub. "I think maybe he's under threat."

If Hansen and All Blacks selectors opt for experience, that could save Franks, but the broader skill set of Atu Moli has impressed Hart.

"If they go for mobility and ball-carrying, then probably Moli goes. I think it comes down to experience versus mobility."

Experience could also see Ryan Crotty fight his way into a packed midfield, a crucial inclusion according to Hart, even though he's been sidelined for two months with a broken thumb.

"They'll go with Ryan Crotty, because of his ability to vary the game. Laumape and Sonny Bill bring certain things, but you want variety."

Hart thinks it would be tough to overlook a now-available Liam Squire.

"He obviously brings something that they're looking for, which is that hardness and the carrying of the ball. If he was available and fit then, yes, you'd certainly take him."

On Wednesday, we'll find out if Hansen agrees.

Watch the full story above

Newshub.

Join us for live updates of the 2019 Rugby World Cup from September 20

 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz