Rugby World Cup 2019: Shannon Frizell surprised with last-minute All Blacks call-up

Loose forward Shannon Frizell is still coming to terms with his last-minute inclusion in the All Black's 31-man Rugby World Cup squad to Japan.

On Friday, the Tongan-born star was called into the squad after Luke Jacobson was ruled out of the tournament with a delayed onset of concussion.

Jacobson has struggled during the year with concussion, and developed symptoms after the first training session in Japan. 

Frizell made his test debut against France in 2018 and has gone onto play five times for the All Blacks. 

The 25-year-old has been in good form with the Tasman Mako in the Mitre 10 Cup, and admits he was "surprised" but "excited" to be heading to Japan. 

"I'm happy and excited," he said."I was surprised to get the call. 

"I called my mum straight away. I just said 'I'm going to Japan today' and she was just screaming."

Frizell said he felt sorry for Jacobson, but can't wait for the journey ahead. 

"I'm gutted for him, [but] he'll come back fitter and stronger. At the same time, I'm grateful for the opportunity."

Frizell was in the original 39-man squad selected by Steve Hansen this year, but was cut after the 16-16 draw against the Springboks. 

Hansen feels this is a fantastic opportunity for Frizell, who can cover the loose forward positions and lock.

"I can only imagine he'll be ecstatic," said Hansen. "While it's tough for Luke, its an opportunity for Shannon - so let's hope he takes it with both hands."   

The All Blacks' opening game at the Rugby World Cup is against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21.


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