21 Jun 2021

New All Blacks squad: four newcomers, Whitelock named as captain

9:21 pm on 21 June 2021

Five uncapped players have been announced in the first All Blacks squad of 2021 while Canterbury lock Sam Whitelock has been named as captain.

Crusaders utility forward Ethan Blackadder, Blues halfback Finlay Christie, Highlanders prop Ethan de Groot and Chiefs midfielder Quin Tupaea have all earned selection for the first time.

Crusaders prop George Bower is again included after being called up to the squad as injury cover last year.

Blues halfback Finlay Christie during the SKY Super Rugby Trans-Tasman rugby match between the Blues and the Waratahs held at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.  22  May  2021

Blues halfback Finlay Christie has impressed the All Blacks selectors. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2021

The squad also features the recall of Crusaders utility back David Havili, who last played for the All Blacks in 2017.

The 36-strong squad has been named for a test against Tonga and then two against Fiji in New Zealand next month.

New Crusader Ethan Blackadder.

Crusaders utility forward Ethan Blackadder is one of four newcomers to the All Blacks. Photo: Photosport

Whitelock, a 122-Test veteran, has been named captain for the matches, replacing Sam Cane who is still recovering from chest surgery.

"Sam Whitelock is the right man for the job," All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said.

"He's hugely experienced, not just as a player but also as a leader, and he has great connections with Sam Cane and the leaders in the team as well.

"Our current leadership group is working hard together and we know Sam will lead the team superbly."

(L to R) Angus Ta'avao, Damian McKenzie, coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Whitelock.

From left, Angus Ta'avao, Damian McKenzie, coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Whitelock, after the announcement of the squad. Photo: PHOTOSPORT/ Andrew Cornaga

As well as Cane, several other injured All Blacks weren't considered for selection, including props Ofa Tuungafasi and Joe Moody and midfielder Jack Goodhue. Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava was also not considered because of injury.

Foster said the All Blacks had a clear goal for 2021 - to be number one in the world again.

"This is going to involve hard work and a commitment to our preparation, whilst at the same time expanding our depth, with an eye to the future."

The team will assemble for a three-day camp in South Auckland later this week before heading into the Tongan Test week.

All Blacks squad



Asafo Aumua (24, Hurricanes / Wellington, 1)

Dane Coles (34, Hurricanes / Wellington, 74)

Codie Taylor (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 56)


George Bower (29, Crusaders / Otago, uncapped)

Ethan de Groot (22, Highlanders / Southland, new cap)

Nepo Laulala (29, Blues / Counties Manukau, 29)

Tyrel Lomax (25, Hurricanes / Tasman, 6)

Angus Ta'avao (31, Chiefs / Auckland, 14)

Karl Tu'inukuafe (28, Blues / North Harbour, 17)


Scott Barrett (27, Crusaders / Taranaki, 36)

Brodie Retallick (30, Chiefs / Hawke's Bay, 81)

Patrick Tuipulotu (28, Blues / Auckland, 35)

Tupou Vaa'i (21, Chiefs / Taranaki, 4)

Samuel Whitelock (32, Crusaders / Canterbury, 122) - captain

Loose Forwards

Ethan Blackadder (26, Crusaders / Tasman, new cap)

Shannon Frizell (27, Highlanders / Tasman, 13)

Akira Ioane (26, Blues / Auckland, 2)

Luke Jacobson (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 2)

Dalton Papalii (23, Blues / Counties Manukau, 4)

Ardie Savea (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 49)

Hoskins Sotutu (22, Blues / Counties Manukau, 5)



Finlay Christie (25, Blues / Tasman, new cap)

Aaron Smith (32, Highlanders / Manawatu, 97)

Brad Weber (30, Chiefs / Hawke's Bay, 7)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett (30, Blues / Taranaki, 88)

Richie Mo'unga (27, Crusaders / Canterbury, 22)


Braydon Ennor (23, Crusaders / Canterbury, 1)

David Havili (26, Crusaders / Tasman, 3)

Rieko Ioane (24, Blues / Auckland, 33)

Anton Lienert-Brown (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 49)

Quinn Tupaea (22, Chiefs / Waikato, new cap)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (24, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 23)

George Bridge (26, Crusaders / Canterbury, 10)

Will Jordan (22, Crusaders / Tasman, 2)

Damian McKenzie (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 27)

Sevu Reece (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 8)