Seven uncapped players earn a call-up for New Zealand
Blues prop Alex Hodgman, Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa’i, Crusaders second-row Quinten Strange, ‘Saders back-rower teammate Cullen Grace, Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu, Blues wing Caleb Clarke and flying outside back Will Jordan from the Crusaders have all come into the squad.
There are also some familiar names returning to the All Blacks set-up, with young Chiefs hooker Asafo Aumua joining back-row Akira Ioane and cult hero prop Karl Tu’inukuafe back in the fold.
Following the North v South match, players were told by New Zealand management they would get a phone call the next morning – between 7.30am and 8.30am – to let them know whether they had made the 35-man squad. Foster told those not selected while All Blacks team manager Darren Shand informed those who had made it.
Foster said of the selections: “On behalf of Foxy and Plums, I want to congratulate all the players named today and particularly the seven new caps. This is a really special day for Alex, Quinten, Tupou, Cullen, Hoskins, Caleb and Will and their families and we congratulate them all. All seven have walked a slightly different path to get here, but the common thing for all of them today is that feeling of hearing your name read out as an All Black.”
SANZAAR are yet to confirm the upcoming schedule for the Rugby Championship, so in the meantime these players will head off to compete in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Here is the squad:
Asafo Aumua (23, Hurricanes, uncapped)
Dane Coles (33, Hurricanes, 69 caps)
Codie Taylor (29, Crusaders, 50 caps)
Alex Hodgman (27, Blues, uncapped)
Nepo Laulala (28, Chiefs, 26 caps)
Tyrel Lomax (24, Highlanders, 1 cap)
Joe Moody (31, Crusaders, 46 caps)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (27, Blues, 13 caps)
Ofa Tuungafasi (28, Blues, 35 caps)
Quinten Strange (24, Crusaders, uncapped)
Patrick Tuipulotu (27, Blues, 30 caps)
Tupou Vaa’i (20, Chiefs, uncapped)
Sam Whitelock (31, Crusaders, 117 caps)
Sam Cane (28, Chiefs, 68 caps) – captain
Shannon Frizell (26, Highlanders, 9 caps)
Cullen Grace (20, Crusaders, uncapped)
Akira Ioane (25, Blues, uncapped)
Dalton Papalii (22, Blues, 3 caps)
Ardie Savea (26, Hurricanes, 44 caps)
Hoskins Sotutu (22, Blues, uncapped)
TJ Perenara (28, Hurricanes, 64 caps)
Aaron Smith (31, Highlanders, 92 caps)
Brad Weber (29, Chiefs, 5 caps)
Beauden Barrett (29, Blues, 84 caps)
Richie Mo’unga (26, Crusaders, 17 caps)
Braydon Ennor (23, Crusaders, 1 cap)
Jack Goodhue (25, Crusaders, 13 caps)
Rieko Ioane (23, Blues, 29 caps)
Anton Lienert-Brown (25, Chiefs, 44 caps)
Jordie Barrett (23, Hurricanes, 17 caps)
George Bridge (25, Crusaders, 9 caps)
Caleb Clarke (21, Blues, uncapped)
Will Jordan (22, Crusaders, uncapped)
Damian McKenzie (25, Chiefs, 23 caps)
Sevu Reece (23, Crusaders, 7 caps)
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