Rugby Championship

All Blacks recall Milner-Skudder, Laulala

2017-08-07 07:16
Nehe Milner-Skudder (Gallo Images)

Wellington -  Blockbusting wing Julian Savea has been dropped from the All Blacks with a fit-again Nehe Milner-Skudder back in the frame in a 33-man squad named on Monday for the Rugby Championship.

With the exception of Milner-Skudder and a recall for prop Nepo Laulala, the line-up reflects the frontline players used in the recent drawn series against the British and Irish Lions.

Savea, known as "The Bus" and with 46 tries from 55 tests, had been a regular in the 11 jersey for the All Blacks since 2012, but he now finds himself dumped on his 27th birthday. He looked in a precarious position when only required for the third test in the Lions series, and was then relegated to the bench by the Wellington Hurricanes for their Super Rugby semi-final against South Africa's Golden Lions.

Milner-Skudder has been making a rapid return to form after being out of rugby for must of the past two years with injury problems. He last played for the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup final.

Of the two All Blacks to take off-shore contracts following the Lions tests, Charlie Faumuina's departure has opened the door for Laulala.

But the selectors opted not to replace Aaron Cruden, instead reducing their fly-half ranks to Beauden Barrett and Lima Sopoaga.

Damian McKenzie has been named as a replacement for fullback Ben Smith, who will take an extended break from the game following the first two matches.

"For us, it's case of re-establishing ourselves and building on our good work from last year and during the recent Lions series," coach Steve Hansen said.

"There were some clear things learnt in the Lions series and this is a great chance for us to implement those; to continue to grow our skill execution and the mental side of our game, and develop our leadership and the leadership group."

Hansen said he also had to be mindful of the impact that the Rugby Championship travel, which involves playing in Australia, South Africa and Argentina, would have on the All Blacks' end-of-year northern hemisphere tour.

"There is a massive travelling component to the Championship, which comes at a cost at the end of the year, so we'll be looking to implement some new strategies to try and overcome that," he said.

Super Rugby champions Crusaders provide the bulk of the squad with 10 players, while there are eight from the Hurricanes, six from the Chiefs, five Highlanders and four Blues.


NEW ZEALAND SQUAD:

Forwards: Dane Coles (Wellington Hurricanes), Nathan Harris (Waikato Chiefs) Codie Taylor (Canterbury Crusaders), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Nepo Laulala (Chiefs), Joe Moody (Crusaders), Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Auckland Blues), Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Kieran Read (capt, Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Liam Squire (Otago Highlanders)


Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs) Sonny Bill Williams (Blues), Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes), Israel Dagg (Crusaders), Rieko Ioane (Blues), Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), Ben Smith (Highlanders).


Utility replacement: Damian McKenzie (Chiefs)


New Zealand itinerary:

Aug 19 v Australia, Sydney

Aug 26 v Australia, Dunedin

Sept 9 v Argentina, New Plymouth

Sept 16 v South Africa, Auckland

Sept 30 v Argentina, Buenos Aires

Oct 7 v South Africa, Cape Town

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 29 September 2018
South Africa v Australia, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
Sunday, 30 September 2018
Argentina v New Zealand, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 00:40
Saturday, 06 October 2018
South Africa v New Zealand, Loftus Versfeld 17:05
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Following the win over the All Blacks in Wellington, Springbok supporters will be counting down the days until the return fixture at Loftus on October 6. How do you see that match ending?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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