22 Jun 2015

Five new All Blacks

7:19 am on 22 June 2015

Five new players have been named in the All Blacks squad of 41 for this year's Test matches leading up to the September World Cup in England.

The Hurricanes winger Nehe Milner-Skudder has bolted into the team alongside his lock forward team-mate James Broadhurst.

The Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo and his first-five-eighth teammate Lima Sopoaga have made the grade for the first time, as has the Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor.

The squad will be trimmed to 31 players in August for the World Cup.



Dane Coles - Hurricanes / Wellington (27)

Hikawera Elliot - Chiefs / Poverty Bay (3)

Keven Mealamu - Blues / Auckland (123)

Codie Taylor - Crusaders / Canterbury *


Wyatt Crockett - Crusaders / Canterbury (27)

Charlie Faumuina - Blues / Auckland (20)

Ben Franks - Hurricanes / Hawke's Bay (31)

Owen Franks - Crusaders / Canterbury (57)

Joe Moody - Crusaders / Canterbury (8)

Tony Woodcock - Blues /North Harbour (110)


James Broadhurst - Hurricanes / Taranaki *

Brodie Retallick - Chiefs / Bay of Plenty (36)

Luke Romano - Crusaders / Canterbury (17)

Jeremy Thrush - Hurricanes / Wellington (11)

Samuel Whitelock - Crusaders / Canterbury (62)

Loose forwards

Sam Cane - Chiefs / Bay of Plenty (22)

Jerome Kaino - Blues /Auckland (56)

Richie McCaw (captain) - Crusaders / Canterbury (137)

Liam Messam - Chiefs / Waikato (40)

Kieran Read - Crusaders / Canterbury (72)

Matt Todd - Crusaders / Canterbury (2)

Victor Vito - Hurricanes / Wellington (26)



Tawera Kerr-Barlow - Chiefs / Waikato (15)

TJ Perenara - Hurricanes / Wellington (11)

Aaron Smith - Highlanders / Manawatu (38)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett - Hurricanes / Taranaki (28)

Daniel Carter - Crusaders / Canterbury (102)

Colin Slade - Crusaders /Canterbury (17)

Lima Sopoaga - Highlanders / Southland *


Ryan Crotty - Crusaders / Canterbury (13)

Malakai Fekitoa - Highlanders / Auckland (8)

Ma'a Nonu - Hurricanes / Wellington (94)

Conrad Smith - Hurricanes / Wellington (85)

Sonny Bill Williams - Chiefs / Counties Manukau (23)

Outside backs

Israel Dagg - Crusaders /Hawke's Bay (46)

Cory Jane - Hurricanes / Wellington (48)

Nehe Milner-Skudder - Hurricanes / Manawatu *

Waisake Naholo - Highlanders / Taranaki *

Charles Piutau - Blues /Auckland (14)

Julian Savea - Hurricanes / Wellington (33)

Ben Smith - Highlanders / Otago (38)

The Crusaders prop Nepo Laulala has been named as an injury replacement for Charlie Faumuina, who has a neck injury, but is expected to return to rugby near the end of the Rugby Championship.

The Hurricanes and Manawatu outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder.

The Hurricanes and Manawatu outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 26-Test All Black and Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis has also been named as a replacement player for Tawera Kerr-Barlow who will be released to play some games until he is ready to return to international duty.

Kerr-Barlow has returned to the All Blacks despite not playing any Super Rugby in 2015 due to injury.

Players not considered for selection due to injury were halfback Augustine Pulu, first five-eighth Aaron Cruden, hooker Nathan Harris, loose forward Stephen Luatua and lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

The Hurricanes' lock James Broadhurst.

The Hurricanes' lock James Broadhurst. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks squad boasts an average age of 27.

Thirty three new players now introduced to the All Blacks in the last four seasons.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says those players unlucky to have not made the team will get further opportunities to stake their claims in the Maori All Blacks and Barbarians sides, which play next month.

Waisake Naholo is flying for the Highlanders

Waisake Naholo is flying for the Highlanders Photo: Photosport

"We have selected a large squad of 41 players, partly through necessity, with two New Zealand teams still involved in the Super Rugby competition. But, more importantly, it also gives us the chance to work with some athletes we haven't worked with before and see how they cope at Test level. This will allow us to make better decisions when it comes to selecting our Rugby World Cup team in August.

"With only five games before the Rugby World Cup, it's important that we get game plans and other aspects of our environment embedded as quickly as possible."

Codie Taylor

Codie Taylor Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen said the "immediate focus" was preparing for the historic Samoan Test in Apia on July the 8th.

He confirmed the team to play Samoa would not include any players from any New Zealand teams which make through to the Super Rugby final.

"It may even mean we possibly have to bring in some extra players in certain positions, but we will wait and see how the Super Rugby finals unfold."

Lima Sopoaga

Lima Sopoaga Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks squad will assemble on Auckland's North Shore on Wednesday this week for a three-day camp minus the 18 players in the Hurricanes and Highlanders, who will be preparing for this weekend's Super Rugby semifinal matches.

Following the camp, the All Blacks will re-assemble in Auckland on Wednesday July the 1st to prepare for the Test against Samoa.