13 May 2014

Five newcomers in All Blacks squad

11:42 am on 13 May 2014

Five uncapped players have been named in the All Blacks 35-strong wider training squad to prepare for the three home Tests against England next month.

Hookers Nathan Harris of the Chiefs and Liam Coltman of the Highlanders have been included while the Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu and Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa are the other newcomers.

The fifth uncapped player is Huricanes halfback TJ Perenara, although he has been involved in the All Blacks squad previously, having been included for the Rugby Championship and November tours last year but subsequently ruled out through injury.

The Crusaders first five eighths Colin Slade and Hurricanes loose forward Victor Vito are also back in the All Blacks setup as is Blues loose forward Jerome Kaino who returned to Super Rugby this year after a couple of seasons in Japan, following the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup success.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will run two camps, one in Christchurch and Wellington, with a 31-strong squad for the three Tests against England to named on June 1st.

The first Test of the season is in Auckland on June 7th.

Squad: Hookers: Keven Mealamu (Blues), Nathan Harris (Chiefs), Dane Coles (Hurricanes) and Liam Coltman (Highlanders).

Props: Charlie Faumuina and Tony Woodcock (Blues), Ben Franks (Hurricanes) and Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks (Crusaders).

Locks: Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) and Dominic Bird and Sam Whitelock (Crusaders).

Loose forwards: Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua (Blues), Sam Cane and Liam Messam (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes) and Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Luke Whitelock (Crusaders).

Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) and Aaron Smith (Highlanders).

First five-eighths: Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) and Colin Slade (Crusaders).

Midfielders: Ma'a Nonu (Blues), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders) and Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders).

Outside backs: Cory Jane and Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Israel Dagg (Crusaders) and Ben Smith (Highlanders).