All Blacks selector Grant Fox has offered his sympathies to Crusaders fullback David Havili, one of the few New Zealand-based stars to miss the cut in this week's 41-man squad announcement.
Despite being in dazzling form for the Crusaders in their quest for a third straight Super Rugby title, Havili was overlooked on Tuesday night, with the likes of teammate Braydon Ennor and Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes opted for in the utility back role.
Havili will likely be forced to wait to add to his three Test caps, with the All Blacks' 41-man squad to play in the opening two matches of the Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa.
Speaking after the squad was named on Tuesday, chief selector Grant Fox was frank about why Havili was one of few names to miss out, despite his many solid Super Rugby showings.
"He can't do much more," Fox said.
"He's played well, he was in the conversation, no doubt about that. But we can't pick everybody."
Fox continued to say that Havili's seeming inability to shift away from the fullback position this year hasn't done his chances any good, with more versatile options instead selected.
"When you go to a Rugby World Cup, you need some utility value because you can only pick 31," Fox added.
"Guys who can play multiple positions - you don't want too many of them, but you want enough to make sure you have got your bases covered.
"The main reason around that is if you get injuries and want to keep guys on, then you need utility value to help cover that. Because if we replace a player during the World Cup, he's gone."
Havili will have one more chance for the Crusaders to impress selectors this weekend, likely to start at fullback in the Super Rugby final against the Jaguares in Christchurch.