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All Blacks squad to play Ireland in July rugby Tests


The All Blacks have named six newcomers in their 36-man squad, including Folau Fakatava and NRL convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, to prepare for the three-Test Ireland series next month.

Coach Ian Foster said the halfback position was hotly contested with five candidates as TJ Perenara and Brad Weber missed the cut. Stephen Perofeta, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Aidan Ross and Pita Gus Sowakula are the other new faces in the squad.

“We want to congratulate the six new caps in what will be a very special day for them and their families who I’m sure will be extremely proud of their achievements. We have a new group of exciting players who will be keen to make a difference in the All Black jersey,” Foster said.

“We would also like to congratulate Sam Cane on resuming his role as All Black captain after injuries kept him sidelined for much of last year.

“It’s also great to see Jack Goodhue back after his knee injury in 2020.

“We also know there’s disappointment for those players not selected and we feel for them at this time.

“You can often judge the strength of the All Blacks by the quality of the men who have missed out.”

Tuivasa-Sheck has had a rollercoaster season since joining rugby from the Warriors and Foster said he still had areas of improvement needed before he becomes a sure starter.

“Roger has been in the mix in the light of his progress in the last five or six weeks so it’s a chance to have a look at him. Whilst he’s earnt his spot there he’s got a lot to learn from now,” said Foster.

Fellow selector Grant Fox added: All Blacks selector Grant Fox on Roger Tuivasa-Sheck: “He’s a big powerful man and he’s got great feet … he’s still a project for us but someone who we want to develop in the All Blacks environment.”

He said while there were new faces there was also “a bit of pragmatism with a couple of selections with making sure we’ve got the equipment we need to play well against Ireland.

“We spent a lot of time on the front row and nines and some of those hard decisions are still to come breaking this down into the 23. There have been a couple of good names, particularly TJ and Brad that have missed out.

”We’ve got five nines playing really well. With Folau and Finlay we feel they offer something a little bit different.”

He said he still saw Jordie Barrett as a No.15 despite his Super Rugby success as a No.12. “He’s an outstanding fullback, we think he plays well in that space, and we’ve got some other midfield options, but what it does do is maybe change the way we select our 23.”

Forwards

Hookers:

Dane Coles (Hurricanes, Wellington)

Codie Taylor (Crusaders, Canterbury)

Samisoni Taukei’aho (Chiefs, Waikato)

Props:

Aidan Ross* (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)

George Bower (Crusaders, Otago)

Nepo Laulala (Blues, Counties Manukau)

Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues, Northland)

Karl Tu’inukuafe (Blues, North Harbour)

Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs, Auckland)

Locks:

Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders, Canterbury)

Brodie Retallick (Chiefs, Hawkes Bay)

Scott Barrett (Crusaders, Taranaki)

Josh Lord (Chiefs, Taranaki)

Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs, Taranaki)

Loose Forwards:

Pita Gus Sowakula* (Chiefs, Taranaki)

Sam Cane – Captain (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)

Dalton Papalii (Blues, Counties Manukau)

Ardie Savea (Hurricanes, Wellington)

Akira Ioane (Blues, Auckland)

Hoskins Sotutu (Blues, Counties Manukau)

Backs

Halfbacks:

Folau Fakatava* (Highlanders, Hawkes Bay)

Aaron Smith (Highlanders, Manawatu)

Finlay Christie (Blues, Tasman)

First five-eighths:

Stephen Perofeta* (Blues, Taranaki)

Beauden Barrett (Blues, Taranaki)

Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders, Canterbury)

Midfielders:

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck* (Blues, Auckland)

Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs, Waikato)

Jack Goodhue (Crusaders, Northland)

Rieko Ioane (Blues, Auckland)

David Havili (Crusaders, Tasman)

Outside backs:

Leicester Fainga’anuku* (Crusaders, Tasman)

Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes, Taranaki)

Will Jordan (Crusaders, Tasman)

Caleb Clarke (Blues, Auckland)

Sevu Reece (Crusaders, Tasman)





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