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Frank Bunce says he wouldn’t pick SBW, Crotty in All Blacks squad - 'I don't think they're gonna win us a World Cup'

Former All Blacks midfielder Frank Bunce says if he was a selector for this year's Rugby World Cup, he wouldn't pick veterans Sonny Bill Williams or Ryan Crotty in his final squad.

Appearing on TVNZ's The Front Row, the 55-Test All Black said he would rather see younger members in the squad head to Japan as both Williams and Crotty aren't the game-changing playmakers the team needs.

"I wouldn't take Sonny Bill Williams or Ryan Crotty to be honest," Bunce said.

"Crotty hasn't played for a while now and Sonny Bill, he had a great game the another night admittedly... but I don't think Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty are gonna to win us a World Cup - great players that they are and have been but they're not gonna win us a World Cup.

"They're not gonna lose us one but they're not gonna win us one."

Sonny Bill Williams and Frank Bunce. Source: 1 NEWS

Crotty, 30, hasn't featured in a single All Blacks Test so far this year after injuring his thumb in the Crusaders' Super Rugby semi-final victory over the Hurricanes in June.

Williams has also been plagued by injuries this year but has found his stride in recent weeks, turning out domestically for Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup before playing a starting role in the 36-0 win over the Wallabies at Eden Park on Saturday.

1 NEWS Sport presenter Andrew Saville, who also appeared on the show, said it was a "shame" there wasn't a third Bledisloe to help with the selection battles.

"With Sonny Bill and Ryan Crotty, you know what you're going to get and in the past, these selectors have been very loyal so I expect them to take them."

Regardless, Bunce says there's other younger players in the squad who have shown they can control the midfield.

"I'm more for Ngani Laumape and Braydon Ennor, probably," he said.

"They're young guys and they're in form at the moment. I'd be more inclined to take a couple of guys that are chomping at the bit."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen names his final squad next Wednesday at midday with the midfield pool currently consisting of Williams, Crotty, Laumape, Ennor, Anton Lienert-Brown and utility back Jordie Barrett.

It's believed Hansen will take four midfielders in his 31-man squad to the World Cup.

Frank Bunce's All Blacks RWC squad

Forwards

Hookers: Dane Coles, Liam Coltman and Codie Taylor.
Props: Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, and Ofa Tuungafasi.
Locks: Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu and Samuel Whitelock.
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea and Matt Todd.

Backs

Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber.
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga.
Midfielders: Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, and Anton Lienert-Brown
Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece and Ben Smith.
 

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Kimberlee Downs is joined by Frank Bunce and Andrew Saville to break down a crucial week in the Rugby World Cup buildup. Source: 1 NEWS