Rugby

Hansen names NZ squad

2012-05-14 07:20
Steve Hansen (Gallo)

Wellington - New All Blacks coach Steve Hansen remained loyal to several out-of-form All Blacks and tapped nine promising newcomers in naming a training squad of 35 players on Monday.

VIDEO: Steve Hansen names All Blacks squad

The group, including 21 survivors from last year's Rugby World Cup winning team, will attend two camps before a final squad is chosen on June 3 for the three home Tests against Ireland next month.

Hansen, who has said he valued the experience of established players capable of rising to the challenge of Test rugby, has included Piri Weepu and Ali Williams who have failed to fire this year for the Blues.

But he has also signalled the likelihood of new faces in his final All Blacks squad.

The training group includes six players from last year's New Zealand Under-20 side that won the world title including captain Luke Whitelock who has only started twice for the Crusaders.

The most surprising selection is 20-year-old Ben Tameifuna who started the year as the back-up prop for the Chiefs and is now their first choice tighthead selection while being eyed as a possible fill in hooker.

"In the wider training group we have a balance between proven Test players, in-form Super Rugby players and some talented young players," Hansen said.

"We have two aims with the selection of the players for the camps. Our main aim is to begin to prepare a squad to win (the series) against Ireland.

"Secondly, it gives us the opportunity to introduce and work with some younger, talented players in the All Blacks environment."

Players who were available from last year's All Blacks but were not chosen include Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear, Jimmy Cowan, Jarrad Hoeata and Corey Flynn.

Others who are injured or offshore are Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava, Colin Slade, Stephen Donald, Jerome Kaino, Brad Thorn and Anthony Boric.

Dan Carter has been included although he continues to be troubled by the groin injury suffered in the World Cup with newcover Beauden Barrett joining Aaron Cruden as the other flyhalves in the squad.

With Jimmy Cowan out of contention, Aaron Smith and Tawera Kerr-Barlow emerge as scrumhalf prospects along with the established Andy Ellis and Weepu.

Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick are two new locks who come into contention to challenge the mis-firing Williams.

New Zealand squad:

Blues
Charlie Faumuina, Ma'a Nonu, Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock

Chiefs
Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden, Richard Kahui, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Brodie Retallick, Ben Tameifuna, Sonny Bill Williams

Hurricanes
Beauden Barrett, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Brad Shields, Conrad Smith, Victor Vito

Crusaders
Daniel Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Luke Whitelock, Samuel Whitelock

Highlanders
Tamati Ellison, Andrew Hore, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Adam Thomson

Read more on:    steve hansen  |  rugby
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