4 Jun 2012

Seven new caps in All Blacks squad

10:11 am on 4 June 2012

Seven new caps have been named in the All Blacks squad for tests against Ireland in New Zealand.

Coach Steve Hansen has first All Blacks squad includes three new caps are from the Super rugby competition leaders the Chiefs. They are prop Ben Tameifuna, loose forward Sam Cane and lock Brodie Retallick.

The other new cap in the forwards is Crusaders lock Luke Romano.

The newcomers in the backs are Hurricanes first five Beauden Barrett and winger Julian Savea, and Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith.

Despite their lack of recent form, World Cup winners and Blues players Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams have been included in the 30-strong squad.

Other notable inclusions are Highlanders Hosea Gear and Tamati Ellison.

The first of the three tests against Ireland takes place in Auckland on Saturday.

Hansen will name his side for the first test on Thursday.

All Blacks squad

Backs: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Julian Savea, Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Tamati Ellison, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu.

Forwards: Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Victor Vito, Adam Thomson, Sam Cane, Luke Romano, Ali Williams, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Ben Tameifuna, Tony Woodcock.