Wellington - Brad Shields' decision to opt for an England jersey cost him a "probable" slot in the All Blacks, coach Steve Hansen said Sunday as two new loose forwards were selected for the New Zealand side.
Wellington Hurricanes skipper Shields, whose parents are English, cited constantly being overlooked for the All Blacks as a factor when he switched allegiance to England and won selection for their June tour of South Africa.
But Hansen, who named his squad Sunday to play France next month, said Shields would "probably" have been selected had he been available.
Injuries and form forced Hansen to select four inexperienced loose forwards - newcomers Jordan Taufua and Shannon Frizell along with Vaea Fifita and Luke Whitelock who have seven Tests between them.
"It is obviously one of those positions ... he (Shields) probably would have made this team this year," Hansen told Radio Newstalk ZB.
"I wish him all the best. He wants to play Test rugby, he obviously didn't see a future here."
With the retirement of Jerome Kaino and injuries to Kieran Read and Liam Squire, Hansen said filling the six and eight jerseys had been a focus for the selectors.
"That's the thing about the All Blacks - you've got to stay resilient because you are always up against someone else as good if not a little better.
"If you are not prepared to wait for the opportunity and keep working at it you are not going to get it."
Shields, meanwhile, will continue to live in New Zealand and play Super Rugby for the Hurricanes until the end of the season when he will move to England to join Wasps.