21 Oct 2013

Vito, Shields among the unlucky omissions from ABs tour

11:19 am on 21 October 2013

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is insisting his squad will remain grounded as they prepare for a four-match northern hemisphere tour which could see them become the first team in the professional era to to go through a year without losing.

After Saturday night's hard-fought win over the Wallabies in Dunedin, Hansen named his touring party of 36 and among those unlucky to miss out were loose forwards Brad Shields and Victor Vito, with Luke Whitelock getting the extra place.

Hansen says Shields and Vito were victims of circumstance. He says Shields has been playing really well and Vito's improved, but because they're taking five locks rather than four with Luke Romano not fit for at least the Japan game, they've been unlucky.

Meanwhile the All Black selectors may be hoping to give Kieran Read some time off and that's the reason they've picked Canterbury's Luke Whitelock for the end of the year tour of Japan and Europe.

Whitelock is set to join his brothers Sam and George to play for the All Blacks.

Hansen says Luke Whitelock's ability to play No.8 gave him the edge over the likes of Brad Shields, who is more comfortable at blindside flanker.

The match against Japan is on the 2nd of November.