Hansen names NZ squad

2012-05-14 07:20

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:

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

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

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

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

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


  • Richard - 2012-05-14 08:27

    Some of these names are also becoming very "has been" as the S15 has proved so far. I wonder if there's a turning point coming in NZ rugby as well.

  • Abie - 2012-05-14 08:40

    Very unlucky for the Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor not to be in this squad. But his time will come sooner than later. Another Christian Cullen in the making.

  • Marlin - 2012-05-14 08:41


      Pietie - 2012-05-14 14:50

      @Martin STFU!

  • tuckytatham - 2012-05-14 09:18

    Interesting blend here of experience and youth. A number of WC winners but plenty of young players including young WC winners - Franks brothers, Sam Whitelock, Israel Dagg. Kiwi's will be incredibly hard to beat come WC 2015. The likes of Barrett, Kerr-Barlow, Tom and Andre Taylor, TJ Perenara, Ben Tameifuna, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Cruden to name a few. These guys are class players and all still young. Positive for us is that we have just as much class in our junior ranks to counter this! Exciting times for South African and New Zealand rugby.

  • jacobisschoff84 - 2012-05-14 11:08

    No place for Robbie Fruean?? He would have been 1st choice centre for the Boks if he was South African. Watch out for Julian Savea, new Lomu like player in the making!

      Rich - 2012-05-14 12:19

      RF great going forward but defensively naive, will hopefully improve though.

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