All Blacks stick with old hands

2014-06-01 10:51
Steve Hansen (AFP)

Wellington - The All Blacks selectors resisted the chance to experiment a year out from the Rugby World Cup and named a vastly experienced squad on Sunday for the upcoming three-Test series against England.

Only three uncapped players made the 31-man squad with coach Steve Hansen dismissing suggestions England were down on manpower.

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu and centre Malakai Fekitoa are new faces in the squad to be be lead by 124-Test veteran Richie McCaw.

The other is scrumhalf TJ Perenara who was on the All Blacks northern tour last year but did not take the field.

Of the 23 players involved in the famous 24-22 victory over Ireland at the end of that tour, which saw the All Blacks become the first team in the professional era to go through a calendar year undefeated, only Steven Luatua is missing.

He's been muscled out of a bulging group of experienced loose forwards by the return of Jerome Kaino from Japan and a resurgence in form of Victor Vito. Both were part of the 2011 World Cup-winning All Blacks.

England arrived in New Zealand without several top players who were involved in this weekend's Premiership final, won by Northampton 24-20 over Saracens, and will be unavailable for next weekend's first Test.

However, a diplomatic Hansen said he still rated England as a "formidable opponent" and the most improved side in the world over the past two years.

"Those who think England will be fielding a weak side in the first Test are completely underestimating the quality of depth in the England squad," he said, underlining the importance of the series ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

"If we can play well we'll have the psychological advantage. Conversely, if they play well they'll have the psychological advantage going into next year's World Cup."

While talking up England, Hansen also noted New Zealand's rugby depth, saying there were "more quality players available than we are able to select".

Contenders ruled out of consideration because of injury include outside backs Francis Saili and Charles Piutau and lock Luke Romano, while leading flyhalf Daniel Carter is on extended leave and will not be available until later in the year.


Forwards: Keven Mealamu (Blues), Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), (Hurricanes), Dominic Bird (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes), Richie McCaw (Crusaders), Kieran Read (Crusaders)

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Otago Highlanders), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Colin Slade (Crusaders), Ma'a Nonu (Blues), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), Cory Jane (Hurricanes), Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Israel Dagg (Crusaders), Ben Smith (Highlanders

The All Blacks play England in Auckland on June 7, in Dunedin on June 14 and Hamilton on June 21.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Sharks centre Frans Steyn has been found NOT GUILTY of a dangerous tip-tackle against the Chiefs. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.