The All Blacks selectors have named their squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup later this month in Japan.
The All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad boasts 1,195 Test caps with huge international experience balanced with a number of newer All Blacks. Captain Kieran Read is the most capped player with 121 Test caps, while loose forward Luke Jacobson is the newest All Black with one Test cap. The side has an average age of 27.
The squad features 17 forwards and 14 backs with the following positional breakdown: three hookers, five props, four locks, five loose forwards, three halfbacks, two fly-halves, four midfielders and five outside backs.
The All Blacks captain Kieran Read will be taking part in his third Rugby World Cup, together with lock Samuel Whitelock and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams, with nine players will be going to their second Tournament, and 19 are going to their first.
The 31-strong squad is as follows:
Dane Coles (Hurricanes / Wellington)
Liam Coltman (Highlanders / Otago)
Codie Taylor (Crusaders / Canterbury)
Nepo Laulala (Chiefs / Counties Manukau)
Joe Moody (Crusaders /Canterbury)
Atu Moli (Chiefs / Tasman)
Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs / Taranaki)
Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues / Auckland)
Scott Barrett (Crusaders / Taranaki)
Brodie Retallick (Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues / Auckland)
Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders / Canterbury)
Sam Cane (Chiefs / Bay of Plenty)
Luke Jacobson (Chiefs / Waikato)
Kieran Read (Crusaders / Counties Manukau) – Captain
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes / Wellington)
Matt Todd (Crusaders / Canterbury)
TJ Perenara (Hurricanes / Wellington)
Aaron Smith (Highlanders / Manawatu)
Brad Weber (Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay)
Beauden Barrett (Blues / Taranaki)
Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders / Canterbury)
Ryan Crotty (Crusaders / Canterbury)
Jack Goodhue (Crusaders / Northland)
Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs / Waikato)
Sonny Bill Williams (Blues / Counties Manukau)
Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes / Taranaki)
George Bridge (Crusaders / Canterbury)
Rieko Ioane (Blues / Auckland)
Sevu Reece (Crusaders / Waikato)
Ben Smith (Highlanders /Otago)
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said of his World Cup 2019 squad:
“Now we are finally in a position to put all our time, effort and thinking into what is going to be an awesome challenge to try and do something that’s never been done before – win three Rugby World Cups in a row. Yes, it will come with massive expectation and therefore pressure. We’re looking forward to tackling that pressure head on and enjoying everything that comes with it. We know it’ll be tough and that we’ll need to earn the right, every time we play, to continue throughout the Tournament. However, that’s exciting and knowing we’ve faced that pressure before gives us confidence. There are no guarantees in sport. However, with talent, hard work and mental fortitude, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
The All Blacks will kick off their Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign against South Africa in Yokahama (Saturday, 21st September), then play Canada in Oita (Wednesday, 2nd October), Namibia in Tokyo (Sunday, 6th October), and their final Pool match against Italy in Toyota (Saturday, 12th October).