The All Blacks Head Coach, Steve Hansen, and his fellow selectors, Ian Foster and Grant Fox, have named their squad for the upcoming Investec Rugby Championship.
On making the announcement, Hansen stated that he and his management team were very happy with the squad and the combinations they had come up with:
“The form of the players in Investec Super Rugby has been outstanding and, whilst there is not a lot of change from the Steinlager Series squad, it was still a challenging team to select. It was more a case of who do we leave out, rather than who do we pick.”
The squad is as follows: (province, Investec Super Rugby team and Test caps in brackets)
Dane Coles (Wellington / Hurricanes, 39); Codie Taylor (Canterbury / Crusaders, 5);
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty / Chiefs, 4)
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury / Crusaders, 48); Charlie Faumuina (Auckland / Blues, 36); Owen Franks (Canterbury / Crusaders, 80); Joe Moody (Canterbury / Crusaders, 14); Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland / Blues, 1)
Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay / Chiefs, 50); Luke Romano (Canterbury / Crusaders, 24); Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland / Blues, 9); Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury / Crusaders, 75)
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty / Chiefs, 34); Elliot Dixon (Southland / Highlanders, 1); Jerome Kaino (Auckland / Blues, 69); Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury / Crusaders, 87); Ardie Savea (Wellington / Hurricanes, 2); Liam Squire (Tasman / Highlanders, 1)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato / Chiefs, 21); TJ Perenara (Wellington / Hurricanes, 19); Aaron Smith (Manawatu / Highlanders, 50)
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki / Hurricanes, 39); Aaron Cruden (Manawatu / Chiefs, 39)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland / Highlanders, 2)
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury / Crusaders, 18); Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland / Highlanders, 15); George Moala (Auckland / Blues, 2); Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau / Chiefs, 33)
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay / Crusaders, 51); Waisake Naholo (Taranaki / Highlanders, 6); Julian Savea (Wellington/ Hurricanes, 43); Ben Smith (Otago / Highlanders, 51)
Head Coach Hansen declared the number one goal for the All Blacks is to win the Investec Rugby Championship:
“The quality of the opposition we’ll face during the Investec Rugby Championship will require a growth in our physicality, intensity and the standard of our preparation. How well we do that will be reflected in our results. It’s going to be a very competitive Championship, which we’re all really looking forward to. By the end of the tournament, we’d expect to have a greater understanding of where the 32 individual players are at, and their ability to cope and perform at Test level.”
The All Blacks fixtures for this year’s Investec Rugby Championship are as follows:
1. v Australia. Saturday 20 August, ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
2. v Australia. Saturday 27 August, Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
3. v Argentina. Saturday 10 September, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton.
4. v South Africa. Saturday 17 September, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
5. v Argentina. Saturday 1 October, Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires.
6. v South Africa. Saturday 8 October, Growthpoint King’s Park, Durban.
Rugby Championship | FIXTURES
|20||Australia||v||New Zealand||ANZ Stadium,Sydney||12:05|
|20||South Africa||v||Argentina||Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit||17:05|
|27||New Zealand||v||Australia||Westpac Stadium,Wellington||09:35|
|27||Argentina||v||South Africa||Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena,Salta||21:40|
|10||New Zealand||v||Argentina||FMG Stadium,Hamilton||09:35|
|10||Australia||v||South Africa||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||12:05|
|17||New Zealand||v||South Africa||AMI Stadium, Addington, Christchurch||09:35|
|1||South Africa||v||Australia||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||17:05|
|2||Argentina||v||New Zealand||Estadio Jose Amalfitani,Buenos Aires||00:10|
|8||South Africa||v||New Zealand||Growthpoint KINGS Park, Durban||17:05|