New faces in All Blacks squad

2014-05-12 08:22
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Wellington - Five uncapped players were included in the All Blacks 35-man training squad named Monday ahead of the three-Test series against England in June.

The squad, which will be whittled down to 31 on June 1, also marks the return of Jerome Kaino to All Blacks consideration while flyhalf Dan Carter is a notable omission as he continues a sabbatical before returning to Test rugby in August.

Blindside flank Kaino, now back in New Zealand with the Blues, last played for the All Blacks in the 2011 World Cup final victory against France before moving to Japan.

With Carter unavailable, his 2011 World Cup understudy Colin Slade earns a call up along with Aaron Cruden, the Chiefs playmaker who has been out since early April with a broken thumb injury.

New faces include hookers Nathan Harris and Liam Coltman, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and centre Malakai Fekitoa along with scrumhalf TJ Perenara who was an All Blacks squad member last year but has not played a Test.

Lock Luke Romano and fullback Charles Piutau were not considered after suffering long-term leg injuries on the weekend.

Head coach Steve Hansen said with the training group limited to 35 there were several players whom the All Blacks management knew about who would not be attending the camps to be held on May 18-20 and 25-27.

"The camps also give the All Blacks management time to meet and learn in greater details about some of the younger players who have been named," Hansen said.

"With players coming from five different Super Rugby teams, it's important that we get aligned on our game plans and skill sets. The challenge the English bring means we will need to be at our very best as quickly as possible."

Training squad:

Forwards: Keven Mealamu (Auckland Blues), Nathan Harris (Waikato Chiefs), Dane Coles (Wellington Hurricanes), Liam Coltman (Otago Highlanders), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury Crusaders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Jeremy Thrush, (Hurricanes), Dominic Bird (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Steven Luatua (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes), Richie McCaw (Crusaders), Kieran Read (Crusaders), Luke Whitelock (Crusaders).

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (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).

Luke Whitelock will only attend the first camp in Christchurch and Thrush will only attend the second camp in Wellington.

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

Read more on:    all blacks  |  rugby

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