Rugby

Ulster's Charles Piutau Included In Terrifyingly Good All Blacks Squad

Ulster's Charles Piutau Included In Terrifyingly Good All Blacks Squad

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has named a 41-man squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship, and the historic friendly game in Samoa ahead of their defence of their Rugby World Cup crown later this year.

There are five new faces in the squad - with the Highlanders' Waisake Naholo and Lima Sopoaga, Crusaders' Codie Taylor, and the Hurricanes' James Broadhurst and Nehe Milner Skudder included. Sopoaga and Naholo are involved off the back of great seasons after the arrival of new backs coach Tony Brown, while Nehe Milner-Skudder's outrageous stepping ability and offloads have been dazzling in the Super Rugby season so far.

There are places in the squad for out of form Israel Dagg and Cory Jane, while Ulster-bound Charles Piutau is also included, despite not playing in the last few weeks from injury and angering the NZRU by moving to Ulster.

Despite the talent included, there are still big names not included like Hurricanes openside flanker Ardie Savea who misses out to Crusaders flanker Matt Todd, and Chiefs' pair Charlie Ngatai and James Lowe are unfortunate not to be involved.

ALL BLACKS SQUAD

Hookers

Dane Coles -  Hurricanes / Wellington (27)
Hikawera Elliot - Chiefs / Poverty Bay (3)
Keven Mealamu - Blues / Auckland (123)
Codie Taylor - Crusaders / Canterbury *

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Props

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)

Locks

James Broadhurst - Hurricanes / Taranaki *
Brodie Retallick - Chiefs / Bay of Plenty (36)
Luke Romano -  Crusaders / Canterbury (17)
Jeremy Thrush -  Hurricanes / Wellington (11)
Sam 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)

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Halfbacks

Tawera Kerr-Barlow - Chiefs / Waikato (15)
TJ Perenara -  Hurricanes / Wellington (11)
Aaron Smith -  Highlanders / Manawatu (38)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett - Hurricanes / Taranaki (28)
Dan Carter - Crusaders / Canterbury (102)
Colin Slade -  Crusaders /Canterbury (17)
Lima Sopoaga - Highlanders / Southland *

Midfielders

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)

Conor O'Leary
Article written by
"That's what." - She.

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