Steve Hansen has trimmed his All Blacks squad from 39 to 34 ahead of his side’s opening Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Perth.
The All Blacks will take on the Wallabies at Optus Stadium on Saturday week but the build-up has coincided with the first of two squad culls.
The second, of course, will see three further players dropped from the squad as Hansen settles on the 31 that will travel to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Those who have been cut from the current squad include flankers Shannon Frizell and Dalton Papalii, out-half Josh Ioane, hooker Asafo Aumua and prop Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Sonny Bill Williams remains in the squad but he will only be available for the second Test against the Wallabies in Auckland.
“We wanted to see him on Saturday being able to cope with the rigours of Test football, which he did so that’s a big tick but to judge him at the very highest level when he’s had no football is not fair,” Hansen said.
“So what we’ve asked him to do is go and play a couple of games for Counties Manukau which will give him three games in three weeks and then look to see what we are going to do in Auckland and if he was to play there that would be four games in four weeks.
“We’ll watch and see what’s happening at Counties and then we’ll watch and see what happens in Auckland.”
Scott Barrett also joins up with the squad as a replacement for the injured Brodie Retallick.
Updated All Blacks Squad
Sonny Bill Williams