Head coach Steve Hansen has named his New Zealand squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship. The biggest news comes in the form of the recall of All Black legend and Crusaders stalwart Richie McCaw, who has been selected despite missing the majority of the Super Rugby season on his sabbatical from the game.
There is no place in the squad for Piri Weepu, who loses out to promising young Hurricane TJ Perenara. Perenara, who is the only uncapped member of the squad, joins Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Smith as the scrum-half options, while Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden, both of whom enjoyed excellent domestic campaigns, will push Dan Carter all the way for the fly-half spot.
The All Blacks’ opening Rugby Championship match is against Australia in Sydney on August 17.
Dane Coles (Wellington Hurricanes), Andrew Hore (Otago Highlanders), Keven Mealamu (Auckland Blues), Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury Crusaders), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Tony Woodcock (Highlanders), Brodie Retallick (Waikato Chiefs), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Steven Luatua (Blues), Richie McCaw (captain) (Crusaders), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Kieran Read (Crusaders)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Daniel Carter (Crusaders), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Ma’a Nonu (Highlanders), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Israel Dagg (Crusaders), Charles Piutau (Blues), Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Ben Smith (Highlanders).