All Blacks raring to go at Samoans and Lions

Sheevas Dayal – 

The All Blacks selectors Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox have named the men in their squad for the Pasifika Challenge Test against Samoa and three Tests against the British & Irish Lions in the DHL New Zealand Lions Series.

The Team

The squad is as follows: Forwards: Hookers: Dane Coles (Wellington, 49); Codie Taylor (Canterbury, 15); Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, 4); Props: Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 58); Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 46); Owen Franks (Canterbury, 90); Joe Moody (Canterbury, 24); Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland, 4). Locks: Scott Barrett (Taranaki, 4); Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay, 60); Luke Romano (Canterbury, 26) Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 84); Loose Forwards: Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 40); Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 74); Kieran Read, captain (Counties Manukau, 97); Ardie Savea (Wellington, 12); Liam Squire (Tasman, 8); Backs: Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato, 25); TJ Perenara (Wellington, 29); Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 58); First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 49); Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 47); Lima Sopoaga (Southland, 6); Midfielders: Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 26); Ngani Laumape (Manawatu, uncapped); Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato, 9) Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau, 33); Outside Backs: Jordie Barrett (Taranaki, uncapped); Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay, 61); Rieko Ioane (Auckland, 2); Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, 12); Julian Savea (Wellington, 52); Ben Smith (Otago, 60).

Injury Cover

The selectors have also named the following five players as injury cover: Midfielder Jack Goodhue, Hooker Liam Coltman and Loose Forwards Matt Todd, Vaea Fifita and Akira Ioane.

The key features of the 33-man squad are the selection of two new All Blacks: exciting young Hurricanes Midfielder Ngani Laumape and talented teammate Jordie Barrett, who toured with the team as an apprentice on the All Blacks’ Northern Hemisphere Tour last year.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said, “Obviously, it is a very special occasion for the Barrett and Laumape families, with Jordie and Ngani being selected for the first time. Jordie has been in outstanding form; he has a skillset which is complete and has a great running and kicking game. Ngani too has been impressive throughout the Super season and has forced his way in through commanding performances.”

Toughest Squad

“This has been by far the toughest team that we’ve had to select for some time and some players who are in very good form missed out, and we always feel for them.  But as is the nature of Test Rugby, I am sure that a number of them will get an opportunity, if not in this Series, throughout the season,” Hansen said.

Pasifika Challenge

All Blacks V Manu Samoa. Friday, June 16, 8pm, Eden Park, Auckland

DHL New Zealand Lions Series – Limited tickets still available

First Test: Saturday June 24 735 pm, Eden Park, Auckland

Second Test: Saturday July 1, 735 pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Third Test: Saturday, July 8, 735pm, Eden Park, Auckland

Sheevas Dayal is our Rugby Correspondent based in Auckland.

Picture Courtesy: newshub.co.nz

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