Lienert-Brown's versatility sealed the deal

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 14:00
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REACTION: Chiefs midfield back Anton Lienert-Brown offers the All Blacks more options than any other player.

This was the reaction of New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, when he explained the decision to name Lienert-Brown as a full-time member of the All Black squad in place of the injured Sonny Bill Williams.

Hansen called up the uncapped Lienert-Brown after the two-times World Cup winner Williams partially tore his Achilles tendon during the Sevens tournament at the Rio Olympics.

He has been ruled out of action for anywhere between six to nine months and will undergo surgery when he returns to New Zealand from Rio.

"The reason why we have gone for Anton [Lienert-Brown], as opposed to anyone else, is that he can cover inside and outside centre," Hansen told a media briefing.

"He gives us better options than anyone else," the All Black coach added.

Lienert-Brown was already with the New Zealand training squad at their base in Auckland - as a stand-in for Williams, while the latter was on Sevens duty in Rio.

The 21-year-old is an immense talent, but his formal call-up was not expected to have been the end-of-year tour.

The All Black coach is confident the young midfielder will get him up to speed in good time for the start of the Rugby Championship - when the All Blacks travel to Sydney to tackle the Wallabies on August 20.

Unless there is further midfield injuries, he will remain on the fringes of the squad for the opening Bledisloe Cup Test.

Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa are the established midfield duo, with George Moala rounding out Hansen's options.

Source: @AllBlacks