First All Blacks squad of 2015 has been revealed

Jun 23 • General News, International • 1762 Views • Comments Off on First All Blacks squad of 2015 has been revealed

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The first All Blacks squad of 2015 has been revealed, and it’s the start of an international season which will reach its climax at the Rugby World Cup in the UK.
The squad will play the historic Test against Samoa in Apia, The Investec Rugby Championship and an extra Bledisloe Cup international.For All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen and fellow selectors Ian Foster and Grant Fox, the announcement was the culmination of months of hard work, where hundreds of hours of footage were analysed and many nights were spent watching the form of New Zealand’s Super Rugby talent.

“A lot of work goes into picking the team and getting ready to play Test matches,” Hansen said.

“The best part is actually having the team and starting to work with them.

“Your thoughts around players start to unfold, and you see whether you are right or you are wrong (in picking them).”

With Investec Super Rugby still in season, Hansen confirmed that any selected players who may feature in the Super Rugby Final will not take part in the Apia Test.

One thing was clear, however, and that is everyone will get their chance throughout the first part of the season.

“It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t give them all an opportunity to play at some stage,” Hansen, who has a 38-2-2 record heading into 2015, said.

“There’s some pretty tough decisions to be made.

“There’s a group of players that have been injured and haven’t played a lot. The back three is probably the most contested area of the team at the moment.

“It’s not about trying to put people under pressure or give them a message.

“These are the guys we see are in contention and now we’ll see who comes through.”

However, Hansen said some new faces would not be rushed into action, notably the two exciting prospects who further crowd the selection queue at the back.

“(Nehe) Milner-Skudder and Waisake (Naholo) have played a lot of rugby,” Hansen said.

“Early on that will maybe give us the opportunity to play the older guys and once they’ve had a go, the others will have freshened up and will be used to our environment.

“(We want them to) understand what we’re doing so you can send them out with real clarity.”

The final 31-strong group of players for the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be selected at the end of August.

The full squad is as follows: (with Investec Super Rugby and provincial teams and Test caps. * indicates a new All Black).Forwards:

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

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)

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

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

First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett – Hurricanes / Taranaki (28)
Daniel Carter – Crusaders / Canterbury (102)
Colin Slade – Crusaders /Canterbury (17)
Lima Sopoaga – Highlanders / Southland *

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)

Courtesy of The All Ablack

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