Title names return as All Blacks name rugby championship squad
The All Blacks have named a 36-man squad with the return of many key players ahead of next month’s Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series.
Retaining largely the same squad used for the recently completed Steinlager Series against Tonga and Fiji, head coach Ian Foster has opted for small but significant changes to his roster.
Among the most notable changes is the half-back, where veteran No.9 TJ Perenara returns to the national team for the first time since returning to New Zealand after his Top League sabbatical with NTT. Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan.
Out of contract with New Zealand rugby [NZR] Leading up to that sabbatical, Perenara was excluded from the Steinlager Series due to a contractual technicality which meant he had to play rugby in New Zealand before being eligible to play for the All Blacks again.
Unsigned with NZR until 2023, the 69 Test star played club rugby for Northern United in Wellington and has since become available for international selection.
As a result, Perenara has been selected for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship squad and replaces rookie half-back Finlay Christie, who won his first two caps in his bench appearances against Tonga and Fiji.
However, Christie will remain with the team as cover while Perenara undergoes a gradual return to test rugby via club rugby and Wellington in the AFN.
Further changes were made to the front row squad, with premium props Joe Moody and Ofa Tuungafasi both being selected after sustaining injuries.
Moody has been out since April after sustaining a foot injury in his 100th appearance for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes, while Tuungafasi was unavailable for recent tests after undergoing minor knee surgery.
Both have returned to Foster’s squad, however, and are expected to play key roles in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship once they are fit and available.
It shouldn’t be too far for Tuungafasi, although Moody shouldn’t appear before the Bledisloe Cup series.
Moody’s downtime allowed rookie mainstay George Bower, who landed his first three caps against Tonga and Fiji, to stay on the squad as injury cover.
Newly selected hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, who scored twice in his test debut against Fiji on Saturday, is also fortuitous as he will remain with the squad, although not named to the squad, to replace Asafo Aumua, who is still struggling with a concussion. symptoms.
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However, there is no luck for Ethan de Groot, mainstay of two head-to-head tests, who was left out of the squad to make way for the return of Moody and Tuungafasi two weeks after his test debut. .
The only other change to the squad comes in midfield, where testing center Braydon Ennor has recovered from the appendicitis injury that excluded him from the July testing series to return to the Foster configuration.
No room has been found for injured duo Sam Cane (chest) and Jack Goodhue (knee), both of whom remain clear of their respective injuries for a long time.
Likewise, powerful winger Caleb Clarke remains absent as he acts as a traveling reserve for the All Blacks Sevens Olympics team in Tokyo.
With Cane, the All Blacks’ regular captain still out of action as he recovers from his pectoral injury, seasoned lock Sam Whitelock will take over as captain for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship campaign.
Foster said he was happy with the squad he was able to assemble and what he learned from the recent tests against Tonga and Fiji.
“The Steinlager series has given us a great opportunity to expand and gain experience. It has also allowed us to recover some returning players, both from overseas or from injury, ”Foster said in a statement.
“The Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship are major challenges for us and remain our top priorities. There is real excitement in the group for these opportunities available to us.
The All Blacks will meet for a two-day camp in Christchurch next week before meeting again in Auckland next week ahead of their first Bledisloe Cup clash – which doesn’t count towards the Rugby Championship – at Eden Park on the 7th. August.
All Blacks team for the Bledisloe Cup and the 2021 Rugby Championship
Asafo Aumua (2 tests)
Dane Coles (76 tests)
Codie Taylor (58 tries)
Nepo Laulala (31 tries)
Tyrel Lomax (8 tries)
Joe Moody (50 tests)
Angus Taavao (16 events)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (18 events)
Ofa Tuungafasi (39 events)
Scott Barrett (42 tries)
Brodie Retallick (83 tries)
Patrick Tuipulotu (38 events)
Tupou Vaa’i (4 events)
Sam Whitelock (125 tests) (c)
Ethan Blackadder (2 tries)
Shannon Frizell (14 tries)
Akira Ioane (4 events)
Luke Jacobson (5 tries)
Dalton Papalii (5 tries)
Ardie Savea (50 tries)
Hoskins Sotutu (6 events)
TJ Perenara (69 events)
Aaron Smith (99 tests)
Brad Weber (9 tries)
Beauden Barrett (91 tries)
Richie Mo’unga (24 events)
Braydon Ennor (1 try)
David Havili (5 events)
Rieko Ioane (37 tries)
Anton Lienert-Brown (50 tries)
Quinn Tupaea (1 try)
Outside the backs:
Jordie Barrett (25 tries)
George Bridge (12 tries)
Will Jordan (5 events)
Damian McKenzie (30 tries)
Sevu Reece (10 tests)
Damage coverage reserves:
George Bower (3 tries)
Finlay Christie (2 tries)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (1 try)
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