All Blacks unveil mammoth squad for Japan and Europe tours

Posted by On 8:51 PM

All Blacks unveil mammoth squad for Japan and Europe tours

New Zealand rugby union team All Blacks unveil mammoth squad for Japan and Europe tours

  • Steve Hansen names 51 players
  • 32 to travel to Tokyo for final Bledisloe Cup match
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and selector Grant Fox
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and selector Grant Fox announce the All Blacks squad. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has mined the depth of New Zealand rugby to name 51 players for their tour of Japan and Europe. A 32-strong group, at close to full strength, will head to Yokohama for the third Bledisloe Cup Test on 27 October before an additional 19 players join them for a Test against Japan a week later.

That will allow a core group of about 20 All Blacks to travel to Europe early and begin preparations for Tests against England, Ireland and Italy. Hansen also wants to broaden his selection options before next year’s World Cup and beyond.

“Bringing in the wider squad players also allows us to grow our player depth and will expose them to the international arena, which we think will be great for their development and, in turn, will benefit New Zealand Rugby in the long term,” he said.

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Blues flanker Dalton Papali’i is the only uncapped player in the main squad, called in to boost the openside stocks after Sam Cane underwent neck sugery, ruling him out for the rest of 2018.

Hansen also received clearance from Japanese club Panasonic and an exemption from New Zealand Rugby to select v eteran Japan-based Crusaders openside flanker Matt Todd. Cane and loose forwards Shannon Frizell were the only All Blacks used this year who were unavailable for selection.

A number of leading forwards return from injury, including props Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody, lock Brodie Retallick, flanker Liam Squire and Dane Coles. Classy hooker Coles returned to provincial action with Wellington last week after nearly a year out due to knee surgery.

The additional group of 19 includes seven uncapped players â€" props Tyrel Lomax and Reuben O’Neill, loose forward Gareth Evans, halfback Bryn Hall, five-eighth Brett Cameron, outside centre Matt Proctor and winger George Bridge. Three others â€" hooker Asafo Aumua, loose forward Dillon Hunt, and halfback Mitchell Drummond â€" played non-Tests on last year’s tour of Europe.

The five Tests shape as a fascinating challenge for the world champions, who wobbled near the end of the Rugby Championship. They suffered a rare los s at home to South Africa and followed it with a last-gasp win against the Springboks in Pretoria.

Squad for Australia Test and Europe: Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith TJ Perenara, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Matt Todd, Dalton Papali’i, Liam Squire, Vaea Fifita, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu, Owen Franks, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Karl Tuinukuafe, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris.

Additional players for Japan Test: Nehe Milner-Skudder, David Havili, George Bridge, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Brett Cameron, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Drummond, Luke Whitelock, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Jackson Hemopo, Luke Romano, Angus Ta’avao, Tyrel Lomax, Reuben O’Neill, Tim Perry, Liam Coltman, Asafo Aumua.

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Source: Google News Japan | Netizen 24 Japan

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