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All Blacks squad named for Northern Tour

(L-R) Nepo Laulala, David Havili, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown and Brodie Retallick sing the national anthem ahead of the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Fiji at FMG Stadium Waikato on July 17, 2021 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The bulk of the Rugby Championship squad has been retained as the All Blacks set their sights on the Northern Tour whilst a number of players from the Ireland series have returned to the squad.

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Props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi along with winger Leicester Fainga’anuku return to Foster’s squad after missing The Rugby Championship following the Ireland series in July.

The squad features the return of 56-Test midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown who has made a successful return to play following shoulder surgery, while Braydon Ennor returns to the fold to boost the midfield depth after injuries to Quinn Tupaea and Jack Goodhue due to injury.

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Blues pair Stephen Perofeta and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck have also been named after spending time in-and-out of the All Blacks during the Rugby Championship.

While there is a combined 1362 Test caps across this squad, a number of capped players will be given the opportunity to gain valuable experience on tour with the All Blacks XV.

Coached by Leon MacDonald, the squad is named tomorrow (Monday) and will boost the depth in New Zealand’s talent pool as Rugby World Cup 2023 approaches.

“The Northern Tour is always a highlight in the All Black calendar and this year is no exception,” said Foster.

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“With less than a year till the start of the Rugby World Cup, this tour gives us another great opportunity to grow from where we finished the Rugby Championship. Experiencing big Test matches in the north is great preparation for what is to come in France next year.

“The addition of our All Blacks XV team will also help grow this experience across a wider group of players.”

The All Blacks will have a three-day camp in Nelson this week before travelling to the northern hemisphere where they will play Japan, Wales, Scotland and England across four weeks of action.

The 35-strong squad is as follows: (age, Super Rugby club, province, Test caps).

Forwards:

Hookers

Dane Coles (35, Hurricanes / Wellington, 84)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 17)
Codie Taylor (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 72)

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Props

George Bower (30, Crusaders / Otago, 19)
Ethan de Groot (24, Highlanders / Southland, 10)
Nepo Laulala (31, Blues / Counties Manukau, 42)
Tyrel Lomax (26, Hurricanes / Tasman, 20)
Fletcher Newell (22, Crusaders / Canterbury, 4)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (30, Blues / Northland, 48)

Locks

Scott Barrett (28, Crusaders / Taranaki, 55)
Brodie Retallick (31, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 98)
Tupou Vaa’i (22, Chiefs / Taranaki, 15)
Samuel Whitelock (33, Crusaders / Canterbury, 140)

Loose Forwards

Sam Cane – Captain (30, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 85)
Shannon Frizell (28, Highlanders / Tasman, 21)
Akira Ioane (27, Blues / Auckland, 19)
Dalton Papali’i (24, Blues / Counties Manukau, 18)
Ardie Savea (28, Hurricanes / Wellington, 67)
Hoskins Sotutu (24, Blues / Counties Manukau, 12)

Backs:

Halfbacks

Finlay Christie (27, Blues / Tasman, 12)
Folau Fakatava (22, Highlanders / Hawke’s Bay, 2)
Aaron Smith (33, Highlanders / Manawatu, 111)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett (31, Blues / Taranaki, 109)
Richie Mo’unga (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 41)
Stephen Perofeta (25, Blues / Taranaki, 1)

Midfielders

Braydon Ennor (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 5)
David Havili (27, Crusaders / Tasman, 21)
Rieko Ioane (25, Blues / Auckland, 56)
Anton Lienert-Brown (27, Chiefs / Waikato, 56)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (29, Blues / Auckland, 2)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (25, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 45)
Caleb Clarke (23, Blues / Auckland, 11)
Leicester Fainga’anuku (22, Crusaders / Tasman, 2)
Will Jordan (24, Crusaders / Tasman, 21)
Sevu Reece (25, Crusaders / Tasman, 21)

Unavailable for selection due to injury – Ethan Blackadder, Jack Goodhue, Josh Lord, Joe Moody and Quinn Tupaea.

29 OCTOBER – Japan vs All Blacks, 2:50PM (6:50PM NZT), NATIONAL STADIUM, TOKYO
5 NOVEMBER – Wales vs All Blacks, 3:15PM (4:15AM SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER NZT), PRINCIPALITY STADIUM, CARDIFF
13 NOVEMBER – Scotland v All Blacks 2:15PM (3:15AM MONDAY 14 NOVEMBER NZT), MURRAYFIELD STADIUM, EDINBURGH
19 NOVEMBER – England v All Blacks, 5:30PM (6:30AM SUNDAY 20 NOVEMBER NZT), TWICKENHAM, LONDON

-Press Release/NZR/Additional reporting RugbyPass

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J
Jon 8 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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