Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Uncapped duo in All Blacks squad

Steve Hansen has named his squad for the Autumn tour of Europe

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has named two uncapped players in his squad for the world champions' autumn European tour.

Scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow and hooker Dane Coles have both made Hansen's 32-man group for a schedule that features Test matches against Scotland, Italy, Wales and England.

Lock Ali Williams, meanwhile, is recalled after recovering from knee surgery, but players not considered for selection include Anthony Boric (neck), Colin Slade (leg) and Richard Kahui (shoulder).

The squad, comprising 18 forwards and 14 backs, boasts a combined cap total of 1,103 and will be led by World Cup captain Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks kick off their tour against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday week and they are due to arrive in Edinburgh on Friday afternoon.

"I would like to congratulate Tawera and Dane on their selection," Hansen said. "They are young and exciting players and have shown this year that they look more than capable of stepping up to Test match rugby.

"Tours to the northern hemisphere always bring unique challenges, and this tour will be no different. For many of the newer players in the All Blacks it will be the first time they have experienced Test matches in the United Kingdom and Europe, and they are always big occasions."

New Zealand, unbeaten winners of the southern hemisphere's inaugural Rugby Championship this year, also tackle Italy in Rome on November 17 before facing Wales seven days later and then England at Twickenham on December 1.

Squad: Backs - I Dagg, H Gear, C Jane, B Smith, J Savea, T Ellison, M Nonu, C Smith, B Barrett, D Carter, A Cruden, T Kerr-Barlow, A Smith, P Weepu.

Forwards - W Crockett, C Faumuina, B Franks, O Franks, T Woodcock, D Coles, A Hore, K Mealamu, B Retallick, L Romano, S Whitelock, A Williams, S Cane, R McCaw (capt), L Messam, K Read, A Thomson, V Vito.

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