Menu allblacks.com

News

Anton Lienert-Brown earns All Blacks opportunity

Getty Images

allblacks.com     11 Aug 2016     Getty Images

Originally in the wider training squad, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed the 21-year-old second five-eighth would take the place in the squad left by the injury to Williams at the Rio Olympics.

QUICK TAP: PUMAS WILL BE DIFFERENT TO JAGUARES IN RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

“He can cover second five-eighth and centre and gives us better options than anyone else,” Hansen said.

Lienert-Brown has had a breakout year in the Chiefs midfield. Across 14 performances for the Chiefs in 2016, Lienert-Brown has helped to produce a club record of 76 team tries across the season.

A crisp distributor and genuine line breaker, Lienert-Brown also impressed with his strong defensive game, forming a formidable defensive wall with centre Seta Tamanivalu during the 2016 Super Rugby campaign.

Lienert-Brown was a member of the New Zealand Under 20 side in 2014 and 2015.

Hansen said he was disappointed to lose Sonny Bill Williams but understood the risk of injury was always there with players going to the Olympics.

“It’s disappointing to lose a world class player and he plays in a position where we have already lost two world class players overseas. It’s an opportunity for someone else though. Looking at the positive side for Sonny, it gives him 6-9 months to give his body a break and he probably hasn’t had that for a long time,” Hansen said.

The All Blacks begin their Investec Rugby Championship campaign against Australia in Sydney on August 20.