Four new All Blacks named
Steve Hansen and his fellow All Blacks selectors have named four new caps in a 39-man squad for the Rugby Championship.
Crusaders backs Sevu Reece and Braydon Ennor, Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson and Highlanders first-five Josh Ioane have been named as All Blacks for the first time.
The extended squad, named in Auckland last night, will have its first assignment against Argentina on July 21 – the All Blacks’ first match of the Rugby Championship.
As predicted by Stuff last week, Ioane has been named and could make his All Blacks debut off the bench in Buenos Aires on July 21 with Richie Mo’unga and the rest of the Crusaders’ All Blacks likely to be rested for the test against Argentina following Saturday’s Super Rugby final.
Brad Weber has earned an All Blacks recall after a four-year absence, overtaking Chiefs teammate Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
Chiefs prop Atu Moli and Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua, who have previously been named but are uncapped, are now a chance to make their test debuts.
Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty has not been named after undergoing surgery for his fractured thumb suffered against the Hurricanes last weekend. Even in his absence, Ma’a Nonu, who played 103 tests between 2003 and 2015, has missed out.
Highlanders loose forward Liam Squire made himself unavailable, feeling he wasn’t ready for test rugby after a run of injuries. Along with Crotty, Scott Barrett, Tim Perry and Damian McKenzie were not considered because of injury.