29 May 2016

Six uncapped players in All Blacks squad

11:02 am on 29 May 2016

Six new players have been named in the first All Blacks squad of 2016, for the three-test series against Wales in New Zealand next month.

The 32 man squad is the first new line up since the team's Rugby World Cup victory last year.

The new players are the Highlanders loose forwards Elliot Dixon and Liam Squire, Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea, Chiefs Chiefs midfielder Seta Tamanivalu, Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie and the Blues prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg, who wasn't selected for last year's World Cup, has been recalled, the beneficiary of an injury to Hurricanes wing Nehe Milner-Skudder.

The Hurricanes veteran wing Cory Jane has missed out, the entertaining and experienced winger tweeting he was on to the next chapter.

The Crusaders openside Matt Todd has been overlooked, despite having played for the All Blacks before.

Only two halfbacks have been picked in Aaron Smith and Tawera-Kerr Barlow, though the Hurricanes TJ Perenara has been included as an injury replacement.

The Highlanders lock Tom Franklin is also in the squad as an injury replacement for Sam Whitelock.

No.8 Kieran Read is the captain, with fullback Ben Smith the vice-captain.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the selectors would like to congratulate all players selected.

"Especially the new All Blacks and those returning to the squad - they and their families can be very proud.

"We'd also like to congratulate Kieran and Ben on their respective appointments as Captain and Vice-Captain."

Hansen also said the team was really energised by the challenges they would face this season.

"We know that there's been a lot of interest around the selection of this first All Blacks squad of 2016, after what was a great season for us last year, and with a large group of experienced players moving on.

"Many people, including our opponents, may be thinking we're vulnerable and are rebuilding. However, we don't have that mindset. We, as selectors, are very confident that we have both the talent and the experience to continue enhancing the legacy of the All Blacks," he said.

"It's often said that when the tall trees that cast the largest shadows are cut down, the remaining smaller trees grow more rapidly. We believe we'll see players stand tall and take their game to a higher standard this season.

"This group of players, I can assure you, is very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for them. They know it's their time, their moment, and they can't wait to make their mark in the jersey," Hansen added.

"We're well aware that what we did yesterday will not be enough for today, so we'll be looking to raise the bar to an even higher level from where we've been. This is our challenge - one, I must say, we're really looking forward to getting stuck into."

The make-up of the squad means 18 forwards have selected (three hookers, five props, four locks and six loose forwards) and 14 backs (two halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders and five outside backs) with an average age of 25.

The squad is made up of four Blues players, eight Chiefs, four Hurricanes, nine Crusaders and seven Highlanders while 11 of New Zealand's provinces are represented with eight Canterbury players, five from Auckland, four from Taranaki, three from Wellington, two each from Southland, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty and Waikato, and one player from Tasman and Otago.

The All Blacks squad assembled in Auckland today to prepare for the first Test against Wales at Eden Park on Saturday 11 June.

The second Test is at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday 18 June, with the third and final Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday 25 June.

The Wellington Test will be an historic occasion: it will be the first time the All Blacks have played Wales in the capital city.

The All Blacks and Wales have a rivalry dating back to 1905 and have played each other 30 times, with 27 wins to New Zealand and three wins to the Welsh.

The two teams last met in November 2014 in Cardiff, with the All Blacks winning 34-16.

The squad is:



Dane Coles (Wellington, 36 Tests)

Codie Taylor (Canterbury, four Tests)

Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, two Tests)


Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 45 Tests)

Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 33 Tests)

Owen Franks (Canterbury, 78 Tests)

Joe Moody (Canterbury, 11 Tests)

Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Auckland, new cap)


Brodie Retallick (Hawke's Bay, 47 Tests)

Luke Romano (Canterbury, 22 Tests)

Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, seven Tests)

Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 73 Tests)

Loose Forwards

Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 31 Tests)

Elliot Dixon (Southland, new cap)

Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 67 Tests)

Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury, 84 Tests)

Ardie Savea (Wellington, new cap)

Liam Squire (Tasman, new cap)



Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato, 20 Tests)

Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 47 Tests)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 36 Tests)

Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 37 Tests)

Lima Sopoaga (Southland, one Test)


Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 15 Tests)

Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 13 Tests)

Charlie Ngatai (Taranaki, one Test)

Seta Tamanivalu (Taranaki, new cap)

Outside backs

Israel Dagg (Hawke's Bay, 49 Tests)

Damian McKenzie (Waikato, new cap)

Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, three Tests)

Julian Savea (Wellington, 41 Tests)

Ben Smith (Otago, 48 Tests)