Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Brad Shields released by NZ Rugby

Brad Shields released by NZ Rugby

England coach Eddie Jones has defended the controversial selection of Hurricanes captain Brad Shields, after the Kiwi was picked in England's 34-man squad to tour South Africa next month.

The 27-year-old back-row, who will join Wasps ahead of the 2018-19 Premiership season, is relishing the opportunity to show what he is capable of on the Test stage.

"We are releasing Brad with our best wishes and we hope to see him achieve his goal of playing worldwide rugby in June", NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said in a statement.

"We have taken some time to carefully work through the complexities of this request, to ensure that we gave appropriate consideration to his specific circumstances".

Led my new England recruit Brad Shields, the Hurricanes were quickly out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Sam Lousi handed off to Ricky Riccitelli. In the end, we are happy with the terms of his temporary release.

England's argument was that World Rugby rules requiring clubs to release players for national duty during worldwide windows would have trumped the contract, although neither case will now be tested.

But the call-up came earlier than expected, with England looking to select him for the three-Test tour of South Africa, even though his Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes is not yet over.

During last year's November Internationals, Shields turned down a call-up to the All Blacks.

"I know it's been a complex matter for them but I'm hugely grateful for their support on this".

Eddie Jones has defended his controversial selection of New Zealand-born Brad Shields, and described him as providing the ideal cover for Chris Robshaw.

"I guess it's a pretty tricky situation", said Shields.

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