5 Aug 2015

Osborne called into All Blacks

12:01 pm on 5 August 2015

The uncapped winger Patrick Osborne has been called into the extended All Blacks squad for next weekend's Rugby Championship decider against Australia in Sydney and the second test against the Wallabies in Auckland the following week.

Patrick Osborne celebrates the Highlanders semi-final win.

Patrick Osborne celebrates the Highlanders semi-final win. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow also comes back in place of the experienced Andy Ellis and will be desperate to get back into test rugby after missing the Super Rugby season because of a knee injury.

Midfielder Ma'a Nonu was included in the squad despite a shoulder injury suffered in last week's victory over the Springboks that could yet rule him out of Saturday's match at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

"We're not going to risk him if he's not right. There's a big season ahead, and we've got plenty of cover there so we'll see how it goes," said coach Steve Hansen.

First five Dan Carter and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams return after being rested for the trip to South Africa, while Charlie Faumuina was among seven props named in the squad as he continues his recovery from neck surgery.

Osborne comes in to provide cover for Cory Jane and his Highlanders team-mate Waisake Naholo, who fractured his leg on his Test debut against Argentina last month and has been all but ruled out of the World Cup.

Jane still has hopes of defending the title he helped win on home soil in 2011 but the 53-test veteran sprained his ankle playing for New Zealand Barbarians against the Maori All Blacks in July.

"With Waisake out for three months and Cory still struggling with his injury, we just wanted to make sure we had someone else that has been in the environment," said Hansen.

Hurricanes flyer Nehe Milner-Skudder looks more likely to make his Test debut in one of the two matches against the Wallabies, after recovering from a rib injury suffered in the Super Rugby final.

The 41-man squad will be reduced to 31 for the trip across the Tasman on Wednesday for the match, which also doubles as the first of two Tests for the Bledisloe Cup.

Forwards - Dane Coles, Hika Elliot, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Tony Woodcock, James Broadhurst, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Jeremy Thrush, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Matt Todd, Kieran Read, Victor Vito

Backs - Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith, Patrick Osborne