Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks take stand for mental health

The All Blacks have voiced their support for Liam Squire, following the loose forward's omission from the 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Last week, Squire revealed he wasn't ready for the pressures of test rugby and was putting his mental health first. 

The team's praise for Squire came on a day New Zealand Rugby launched a new campaign aimed at promoting mental wellbeing.

The campaign is aimed at the heart of one of society's most pressing issues -  mental health.

Fans at Saturday's test in Hamilton are being urged to play their part by making as much noise as possible to help remove the stigma around it.

"It's a great initiative and we want be talking about things," said assistant coach Ian Foster.

"The reality is, in some ways, it's a flash title for something we should all be doing anyway, which is just communicating openly and honestly with people, and if times are tough, being vulnerable enough to share that and to put your hand up for help."

The campaign comes just days after Squire broke his silence, after previously making himself unavailable for All Blacks selection.

Squire told coach Steve Hansen he would ready if called upon for the World Cup, but  took to Instagram to say his mental health was more important than playing rugby.

That environment is clearly working for Aaron Smith, who feels he's in the best space possible - both physically and mentally - heading into the Rugby World Cup.

And he's hoping his Highlanders teammate soon will be too.

"You can see it in his rugby," said Smith. "He's probably the best player in the Mitre 10 Cup and he's on fire.

"I watch Tasman just to watch him play, so it's good to see. When Liam's Liam, watch out."

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