Liam Squire’s decision to make himself unavailable for the All Blacks has been applauded by coach Steve Hansen, who had some forthright words for Akira Ioane, who again missed selection.
The problem with Squire was a physical one, according to Hansen, who called the loose forward’s decision courageous.
“Well he just doesn’t think he’s ready to play international rugby yet," he said. "You’ve got a guy who’s straight up and honest about life and when he tells you that you got to listen to it.
“I think it’s a physical state that he’s talking about, he hasn’t played much rugby.
“He’ll go away and work away quietly. If he feels like he’s ready to get back into it, he’ll let us know and we’ll pick him.”
Regarding Blues No.8 Ioane, Hansen said his fitness was once again the issue.
“I think it’s the same problem he’s always had, he comes into the season probably not as fit as he could have been,” he said.
“Trying to get fit while playing every game for the Blues, he’s a tired athlete.
“We know what’s under the surface, we just need him to take ownership of that and turn up and say ‘I’m in’.
“You can only lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink - so he has to decide to get thirsty.”