Two new caps for All Blacks

2012-10-29 07:47
Steve Hansen (AFP)

Wellington - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on Monday named uncapped scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow and fellow rookie Dane Coles in his 32-man squad for New Zealand's upcoming Northern Hemisphere tour.

Kerr-Barlow, 22, and hooker Coles, 25, were the only new faces in a squad boasting a combined 1 103 Test caps that will face Scotland, Italy, Wales and England in New Zealand's first European tour since last year's Rugby World Cup triumph.

Hansen said the pair had been rewarded for their strong form in this year's Super Rugby competition, Kerr-Barlow with the championship-winning Chiefs and Coles with the Hurricanes.

"They are young and exciting players and have shown this year that they look more than capable of stepping up to Test match rugby," he said.

Hansen also kept faith with Blues pair Piri Weepu and Ali Williams, who both struggled with poor form and injuries during the Super Rugby season.

The only selection likely to raise eyebrows was Highlanders forward Adam Thomson, who is yet to commit to a new contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union amid speculation he will announce plans this week to play in Japan.

New Zealand go into the tour undefeated in 17 matches, although their hopes of breaking international rugby's 18-game record for consecutive Test victories was scuppered by an 18-18 draw with Australia earlier this month.

Hansen has blooded a clutch of promising youngsters at Test level since taking over after the World Cup and said they were relishing the prospect of a Northern Hemisphere tour.

"For many of the newer players in the All Blacks it will be the first time they have experienced Test matches in the UK and Europe and they are always big occasions," he said.

"Overall, the team has been very happy with what we have achieved so far this year, but nothing has changed - we are always looking to put in performances we are proud of and we are always looking to improve."

All Blacks tour squad:


Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Hosea Gear, Conrad Smith, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Tamati Ellison, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Tawera Kerr-Barlow


Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Victor Vito, Adam Thomson, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Wyatt Crockett, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Dane Coles


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