Three familiar faces are to return to the All Blacks while a group of senior players will miss the Argentinian leg of the Investec Rugby Championship as the All Blacks management looks to manage the squad across a demanding playing and international travel schedule at the back end of the 2017 season.
The 28-man squad to travel to Argentina for the All Blacks away Test has been named today with three players, loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Matt Todd and lock Patrick Tuipulotu, re-joining the All Blacks squad.
Six players will stay home from Argentina and join the squad in South Africa. They are locks Samuel Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, loose forwards Liam Squire and Sam Cane and backs Beauden Barrett and Ryan Crotty.
The squad to travel to Argentina is:
Forwards: Wyatt Crockett, Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Jeffery Toomaga Allen, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (captain), Ardie Savea and Matt Todd.
Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Damian McKenzie, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo.
A group of players will also head home after the Argentina Test, with details confirmed following the Buenos Aires Test match.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said it was vital to try and keep players fresh and performing at their very best at this time of the year, with the All Blacks playing eight matches in nine weeks across multiple time zones, taking in the back end of the Investec Rugby Championship, the third Bledisloe Cup match and the end of year Tour.
“We struggled at times last year, this is the hardest time of the year for us, so we are just trying to think outside the box and think of ways to keep the players fresh. This also gives us a chance to build player depth and experience.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us going to Argentina because they are a good side and we’ll need to play well to perform there, but we’re confident that the group we are taking there will be able to do the job.” Meanwhile, replacement players Akira Ioane and Tim Perry will return to their Mitre 10 Cup provincial teams, while Nathan Harris and Jerome Kaino will also play for their provinces this week.
The All Blacks squad will travel to Argentina on Friday.