23 Oct 2017

Four new All Blacks selected for Northern Tour

6:15 pm on 23 October 2017

There are four newcomers in the All Blacks team to tour France, Scotland and Wales later this year.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tasman prop Tim Perry, Northland midfielder Jack Goodhue, and North Harbour outside back Matt Duffie have been rewarded with spots in the 37 man squad bound for the Northern Hemisphere.

Also included is Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, who unlike the other three has never played Super Rugby but has been in phenomenal form in the National Provincial Competition.

Wellington winger Julian Savea is once again missing from the squad. Coach Steve Hansen said Savea's plan to return to the All Blacks is more long-term than short-term.

The squad has an average of 26 Tests per player and an average age of 25.

"Adding the four new players to our squad will again allow us to expose more young talent to the highest level, where, history tells us, players grow and get better," Hansen said.

"So this tour will complete a season of building depth and experience which, in the long run, will only benefit the team."

"We want to play attractive rugby that we can be proud of and, of course, winning is part of that," said Hansen.

"But, just as importantly will be re-establishing the processes that allow us to do this."

Key players Kieran Read, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Samuel Whitelock, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams, who all played in the 23-18 loss to Australia last Saturday, will be rested for the Barbarians match and join the squad late.

Brodie Retallick, who has missed the last two tests will remain at home on compassionate grounds, leaving the squad with only four locks, but experienced loose forward Jerome Kaino, who has not played since the Lions series for his own personal reasons, returns.

Goodhue has been on the fringes of the squad after being drafted in as injury cover during the British and Irish Lions series, while the versatile Duffie gets his chance with Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg and Nehe Milner-Skudder all out injured.

Regular fullback Ben Smith is also on sabbatical, while season-ending injuries to first choice props Joe Moody and Owen Franks have created the opportunity for loosehead Perry.

Hansen has retained Tawera Kerr-Barlow as his third-choice halfback, despite the player's decision to sign for French club La Rochelle, indicating he is not quite convinced of his options behind Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.

Five additional players - loose forward Dillon Hunt, prop Atunaisa Moli, halfback Mitchell Drummond, first five Richie Mo'unga and lock Dominic Bird - will play for the Barbarians and join the All Blacks squad for the two matches in France.

Forwards: Kane Hames, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Tim Perry*, Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Asafo Aumua*, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Squire, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Matt Todd, Kieran Read (captain)

Backs: Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Jack Goodhue*, Waisake Naholo, Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie*, Seta Tamanivalu, David Havili, Damian McKenzie.

* uncapped player

- Reuters/RNZ