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Three new faces in All Blacks squad, but no room for Ben Lam

Ben Lam of the Hurricanes. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Editor
20th May, 2018
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There’s a trio of new players potentially set to be called up for national duty in the 33-man All Blacks squad named by Steve Hansen.

The All Blacks will take on France in three Tests during the June international window.

Jordan Taufua, Shannon Frizell and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi could all potentially make their debut at international level for New Zealand after being named.

Ben Lam however has missed out on a spot, as has Akira Ioane.

“It was a really tough squad to select, more so because there are some very talented players who have missed out, but I’m sure they will get their opportunity in the black jersey in the near future,” said Hansen.

Sam Whitelock has been named as captain for the three-match series, after Kieran Read recently confirmed he’ll be no chance to return in time.

“He’s one half of the best locking combination in the world and one of the best players on and off the park. He has a cool head under pressure and the support of the players and management,” said Hansen.

“In saying that, we’re blessed with a number of other leaders in our group and the expectations are that they’ll continue to lead both on and off the park in their actions, and in doing so make Sam’s job that little bit easier.”

Although the All Blacks will certainly enter as favourites, Hansen said the French are always a dangerous opponent.

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“Whilst they’re at the end of their season, many of their players haven’t played a lot of rugby through injury, so they’ll be a lot fresher than they’d normally be, for this campaign.

“Our preparation will need to be both smart and bone-deep if we’re to combat this French team, who’ll come with a strong belief and commitment.

“As history tells us, we’d be very foolish and naïve to underestimate their abilities.”

Forwards

Hookers
Nathan Harris (26, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 11)
Codie Taylor (27, Crusaders / Canterbury, 29)

Props
Owen Franks (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 95)
Joe Moody (29, Crusaders /Canterbury, 31)
Tim Perry (29, Crusaders / Tasman, uncapped)
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 1)
Ofa Tuungafasi (26, Blues / Auckland, 14)

Locks
Scott Barrett (24, Crusaders / Taranaki, 16)
Brodie Retallick (26, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 68)
Samuel Whitelock (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 96) – Captain

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (26, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 53) – Vice-captain
Vaea Fifita (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 5)
Shannon Frizell (24, Highlanders / Tasman, uncapped)
Ardie Savea (24, Hurricanes / Wellington, 22)
Liam Squire (27, Highlanders / Tasman, 15)
Jordan Taufua (26, Crusaders / Tasman, uncapped)
Luke Whitelock (27, Highlanders / Canterbury, 2)

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Backs

Halfbacks
TJ Perenara (26, Hurricanes / Wellington, 42)
Aaron Smith (29, Highlanders / Manawatu, 71)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (23, Chiefs / Taranaki, uncapped)

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett (27, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 62)
Damian McKenzie (23, Chiefs / Waikato, 12)
Richie Mo’unga (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, uncapped)

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 32)
Jack Goodhue (22, Crusaders / Northland, uncapped)
Ngani Laumape (25, Hurricanes / Manawatu, 4)
Anton Lienert-Brown (23, Chiefs / Waikato, 22)
Sonny Bill Williams (32, Blues / Counties Manukau, 46)

Outside backs
Jordie Barrett (21, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 2)
Rieko Ioane (21, Blues / Auckland, 13)
Nehe Milner-Skudder (27, Hurricanes / Manawatu, 11)
Waisake Naholo (27, Highlanders /Taranaki, 18)
Ben Smith (30, Highlanders /Otago, 64) – Vice-captain