All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has announced six uncapped players in his squad for this month’s three-test series with France.
Into the squad comes the Blues trio of Steven Luatua, Charles Piutau and Francis Saili alongside Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush, Chiefs prop Ben Afeaki and Crusaders backrower Matt Todd, who is called up as an injury replacement.
The 32-man squad, which is split between 18 forwards and 14 backs, will be captained by Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read with the All Blacks’ stalwart No 10 Dan Carter acting as vice captain for the series.
Blues centre Rene Ranger has earned a well-deserved recall to test rugby while the Highlanders trio of Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Ma’a Nonu all make the squad despite some pretty poor form in Super Rugby.
ALL BLACKS SQUAD:
Forwards: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Afeaki, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Matt Todd (injury replacement).
Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Ma’a Nonu, Francis Saili, Conrad Smith, Rene Ranger, Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.