Wellington - Winger Cory Jane has been rushed back into the All Blacks squad, despite fleeting game time following a serious knee injury that has sidelined him all year.
Jane was named Sunday in a 29-man squad for the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Dunedin next weekend.
The winger ruptured knee ligaments at the start of the year and missed the Super 15, the June Tests and the Rugby Championship.
He has since played just two games for Wellington in New Zealand's national provincial championship, but shown enough class to earn a call-up from All Blacks coach Shane Hansen.
The return of Jane will allow Hansen to move try-scoring wing Ben Smith into the centre position to replace regular 13 Conrad Smith who is taking a break from rugby.
Flyhalf Dan Carter and tighthead prop Owen Franks were not considered for the Australia Test because of injury but are expected to be available for the All Blacks' end-of-year tour to the northern hemisphere.
Conrad Smith will also miss New Zealand's end-of-season tour to Japan
and Europe and will not be available again for the All Blacks until
next June for their home series against England.
Ben Smith has
been one of the standouts for the All Blacks this season on the wing,
while he excelled at fullback for the Otago Highlanders during the Super
Rugby season although Hansen has long wanted to test his skills in the
"The big thing about Ben is he's very comfortable in
that All Black jersey. He's not finding anything too difficult because
his confidence is sky high," Hansen told Radio LiveSport earlier this
"He's got a high work rate, he's very very fit and he's got a
similar style of game to Conrad. So hopefully he fits in pretty
Tighthead prop Owen Franks was also ruled out of the
clash in Dunedin after he suffered a groin injury against Argentina two
weeks ago with Ben Afeaki remaining with the squad.
Carter, who suffered a shoulder injury against South Africa in Auckland
last month, was also not considered though he is expected to make the
end-of-season tour to the northern hemisphere.
The All Blacks, who
wrapped up the Rugby Championship title with a 38-27 victory against
the Springboks in Johannesburg last week, have already retained the
Bledisloe Cup after comfortably beating the Wallabies in their two
All Blacks squad:
Forwards: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Ben Afeaki, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read.
Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Tom Taylor, Ma'a Nonu, Francis Saili, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.