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Ian Foster and Sam Cane retained as All Blacks name squad for Rugby Championship

By Alex McLeod
Ian Foster and Sam Cane. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Ian Foster and Sam Cane have been retained as All Blacks coach and captain, respectively, for the Rugby Championship.

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The All Blacks confirmed on Friday that both individuals have kept their roles within the national set-up despite a historic home series defeat to Ireland last week, which was labelled as “not acceptable” by New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson.

Despite that, Foster and Cane have been kept in their respective positions, despite recent media reports that the latter was set to be axed as skipper of the national team.

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Instead, Cane will lead a 36-man All Blacks squad to South Africa for two tests against the Springboks next month.

All up, Foster has made only two changes to his squad that faced Ireland, dropping France-bound prop Karl Tu’inukuafe and debutant loose forward Pita Gus Sowakula in favour of Ethan de Groot and Shannon Frizell.

Three additional players – prop Tyrel Lomax, utility back Braydon Ennor and uncapped lock Josh Dickson – will travel with the side to South Africa as reserves.

Lomax, Ennor and Dickson are providing cover for the suspended Angus Ta’avao and injured duo Brodie Retallick and Jack Goodhue.

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Joe Moody, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ethan Blackadder and Josh Lord were all not considered due to injury, while Damian McKenzie was deemed ineligible after his sabbatical in Japan.

“We have taken on board the lessons from the Steinlager Series and are excited about looking forward to the next phase of our test season,” Foster said in a statement.

“The Rugby Championship plus the Bledisloe Cup remain our top priorities. This is a real chance to show what we are about as a team.”

No comment has yet been provided about the status of Foster’s assistant coaches, all of whom were reported to be in the firing line in the wake of series loss.

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The All Blacks will open their Rugby Championship campaign against the Springboks at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on August 6. Both sides will then square off again at Ellis Park in Johannesburg the following week.

All Blacks squad to play in Rugby Championship

Hookers

Dane Coles
Samisoni Taukei’aho
Codie Taylor

Props

Aidan Ross
George Bower
Nepo Laulala
Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Ethan de Groot
Angus Ta’avao

Locks

Scott Barrett
Brodie Retallick
Patrick Tuipulotu
Tupou Vaa’i
Samuel Whitelock

Loose Forwards

Sam Cane (c)
Shannon Frizell 
Akira Ioane
Dalton Papalii 
Ardie Savea
Hoskins Sotutu

Halfbacks

Finlay Christie
Folau Fakatava
Aaron Smith

First five–eighths

Beauden Barrett
Richie Mo’unga
Stephen Perofeta

Midfielders

Jack Goodhue
David Havili
Rieko Ioane
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Quinn Tupaea

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett
Caleb Clarke
Leicester Fainga’anuku
Will Jordan
Sevu Reece

Replacement players travelling to South Africa:

Josh Dickson
Braydon Ennor
Tyrel Lomax

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