'Great players' will miss All Blacks' World Cup squad, says skipper

Some of the biggest names in New Zealand Rugby could miss out on a spot at this year's World Cup in Japan says captain Kieran Read, with coach Steve Hansen limited to just a 31-man squad.

With several players having put their hands up in Super Rugby so far this year, All Blacks selectors have the unenviable task of whittling the number down to 31 ahead of this year's World Cup.

If traditional squad numbers are to serve as any indication, this year's 31 should contain three halfbacks and three hookers, allowing for two in every other position with one exception.

Speaking to 1 NEWS, Read outlined how it feels for players trying to impress selectors at the moment, with few certainties penciled in.

"If you look across the board, it's not too bad," Read said.

"I know the guys the best way you can, put your best foot forward is to play well for your franchise first and foremost. We've seen that from most of the guys this year.

"You understand, it can be pretty cut throat. There's going to be some great players who potentially miss out on this team, which is going to be tough, but we'll bind together and grow with whatever team we have."

The All Blacks are next in action when the Rugby Championship begins next month, before the  World Cup in September.

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Only 31 players will make the cut for New Zealand's World Cup defence. Source: 1 NEWS

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