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Patrick Tuipulotu to captain All Blacks XV as squad named

By Sam Smith
Photo: Derek Morrison / www.photosport.nz

Auckland and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu will captain the inaugural All Blacks XV squad selected for two matches against Ireland A and the Barbarians next month.

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The 28-strong All Blacks XV squad was selected by the All Blacks coaching team of Ian Foster, Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan and includes eight players with Test experience including Tuipulotu, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta’avao, Asafo Aumua, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber, and Damian McKenzie.

Leon MacDonald is Head Coach of the All Blacks XV, alongside Assistant Coaches Clayton McMillan and Scott Hansen. The squad will boost the depth in New Zealand’s talent pool as Rugby World Cup 2023 approaches.

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All Blacks XV Head Coach, Leon MacDonald said, “We are expecting an intense challenge from both Ireland A and the Barbarians. These two fixtures will allow players to showcase what they have and put their best foot forward on an international stage.

“The selection panel have named a dynamic All Blacks XV squad, with eight capped All Blacks who know how to perform at this level and emerging talent. To play at international level is extremely valuable for the players and I am looking forward to guiding the team in what will be a first for the All Blacks XV.”

Ian Foster All Blacks Head Coach and All Blacks XV selector said, “The squad has a mixture of some experienced players and some younger talent coming through that we, as a group of All Blacks, are really keen to see how they progress in a Northern Hemisphere environment.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to play with a black jersey on, in a different environment and test themselves against different game plans and styles. Hopefully, that will help prepare us really well in another part of our building blocks for the Rugby World Cup next year.”

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The 28-strong squad is as follows: (age, Super Rugby club, province).

Forwards:

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Finlay Brewis (22, Crusaders / Canterbury)
Oli Jager (27, Crusaders / Canterbury)
Aidan Ross (26, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty)
Angus Ta’avao (32, Chiefs / Auckland)
Tamaiti Williams (22, Crusaders / Canterbury)

Hookers
Asafo Aumua (25, Hurricanes / Wellington)
George Bell (20, Crusaders* / Canterbury)
Brodie McAlister (25, Crusaders / Canterbury)

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Locks
Josh Dickson (27, Highlanders / Otago)
Zach Gallagher (21, Crusaders / Canterbury)
Patrick Tuipulotu – Captain (29, Blues / Auckland)

Loose Forwards
Dominic Gardiner (21, Crusaders / Canterbury)
Billy Harmon (27, Highlanders / Canterbury)
Luke Jacobson (25, Chiefs / Waikato)
Christian Lio-Willie (24, Crusaders / Otago)
Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (24, Highlanders, Hawkes Bay)

Backs:

Halfbacks
TJ Perenara (30, Hurricanes / Wellington)
Brad Weber (31, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay)
Cam Roigard (21, Hurricanes / Counties Manukau)

First five-eighths
Bryn Gatland (27, Chiefs / North Harbour)
Damian McKenzie (27, Chiefs / Waikato)

Midfielders
Levi Aumua (28, Moana Pasifika / Tasman)
Bryce Heem (33, Blues / Auckland)
Alex Nankivell (26, Chiefs / Tasman)
Bailyn Sullivan (24, Hurricanes / Waikato)

Outside backs
AJ Lam (24, Blues / Auckland)
Ruben Love (21, Hurricanes / Wellington)
Mark Telea (25, Blues / North Harbour)

The All Blacks XV assemble on 28 October, travelling to Dublin where they will play Ireland A at RDS Arena on 4 November followed up with the Barbarians at Tottenham Stadium in London on 13 November.

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