New Zealand name squad for Rugby Championship

all blacksHead 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).

17 thoughts on “New Zealand name squad for Rugby Championship

  1. Well it is a very strong All Black squad as we would expect and they will no doubt be favourites for all their games, however , perhaps , like the Super Rugby, The Rugby Championships will produce some surprises! Australia with new coach, Boks with some new blood will possibly produce a shock or two!

  2. Still plenty of people who can lead the haka. Most likely Mealamu, but Messam and Kerr-Barlow could also do it.

  3. I have a problem with the recall of McCaw. He has only played about 30 minutes of Super Rugby (I also think he is the reason the Crusaders lost the semis; why miss up team’s chemistry when on a roll). He can’t be match fit and it sends a bad message. It doesn’t matter how well Todd or Cane (or another 7) has played, the All Blacks will go out of it’s way to accommodate McCaw at the expense of players who have actually trained and played.

    It leaves a bad taste no matter how great McCaw is as a player. No one is above the squad.

    1. totally agree.

      being a young 7 in NZ must be hugely frustrating, because no matter how well you play, McCaw will always get picked until he decides to pack in.

      Cane has played so well when turning out for the ABs, that people started talking of McCaw shifting to 6 (lack of a real contender after Kaino left).

      Now with Messam stepping up, it makes it harder. plus Cane seemed to have fallen behind Latimer at the chiefs. Todd must find it difficult too, because he knows that Richie is always hanging around.
      I would say that Todd probably had such a good season because he knew that McCaw was away on sabbatical.

      NZ need to start looking to the future a bit more. Richie took his break so that he will be around for the RWC, but he is going to be pretty old at that stage. NZ need to develop other 7s. Also (as they discovered with the 10s last time round) an injury crisis during a world cup can leave you scraping the barrel. NZ were fortunate that Slade, Cruden and Donald had all spent time playing no2 to Carter (so had experience). They could have even called on Nick Evans or Luke McAllister. But NZ dont have the same luxury at 7, because they have been so committed to playing Richie as much as possible.

      1. To be fair McCaw always had the Rugby Championship scheduled in to be his comeback, so not a surprise. And whilst he wasn’t watch fit, it’s a bit crazy to suggest he was the reason they lost the semi’s.

        Great player, great captain, and deserves his place as an All Black legend. Could they have developed other 7s better? Probably. But let’s be honest, noone has really come through and demanded game time. Whilst Cane was good at Todd has been decent this year, I still would rather play against either of those two than McCaw.

        1. totally get where you are coming from. McCaw is still a great player, and will go down as a legend of the game. also agree that its hard to lump the semi loss on his shoulders.

          the problem is that NZs approach to the 7 shirt is not sustainable.

          sure, most players would prefer to play against Cane or Todd rather than McCaw. but one day NZ wont have the choice of Richie, and they will have to play an underdeveloped 7.

          NZ have decided to omit Weepu in favour of developing 3 young 9’s. but they take a completely different approach to the 7 shirt… it seems a little hypocritical and extremely short sighted.

          1. Simo, I can appreciate that argument, but I think you’d have to add to it that McCaw is a thousand times more valuable to NZ than Weepu is. Smith is arguably a better player than Weepu anyway, but on his day McCaw is still streets ahead of Cane or Todd. I agree it doesn’t send a great message putting him straight back in, but after he’s trained with the squad and looks fit again, he’s the best 7 on the planet bar none. That’s why they rush him back in every time.

          2. Jamie, definitely a fair point. Dropping your bench 9 is different to dropping the first choice 7 and skipper.

            It just frustrates me a bit how much preferential treatment McCaw seems to get. Todd plays at the crusaders, because they know that they will need a decent 7 for the first 4 rounds of the super 15, because McCaw tends to be “rested” for the first few matches. Then when the games get a bit more serious, back comes Richie. It feels like NZ have started to do similar, and it must be a pretty hard pill to swallow if you are a young 7.

            I just think that the short sightedness of the management is a bit silly. I also think that they should have both Cane and Todd in the squad. If you aren’t going to play them, you might as well expose them both to the environment, at least that could help develop them as players for when McCaw does eventually retire.

          3. I would look at it in a slightly different way. Richie comes back in because he is still a very good player, and there is no 7 that has come in, proven them self, and kept the shirt. Whereas the 9 shirt, there a lot of very good young 9s that need looking at. At 7, there are a couple of ok 7s that may need to play one day. It is a different situation.

            To be fair, whilst NZ do need to develop a 9, playing Todd/Cane in matches where McCaw is rested is surely doing exactly what your suggesting they don’t do.

          4. Jacob, have any of the young 7’s been given a genuine chance to keep the shirt? i dont think so, but that is my opinion, and others are entirely free to disagree.

            NZ have hardly given another 7 a chance to develop, especially not like they have with the 9s.

            McCaw has missed the entire Super rugby, but the only test matches he has missed were the 3 match series against the french. Cane (i believe it was him who started all of them) was given 3 matches, thats hardly much of a chance to prove you should displace McCaw. i would like to think that the management will at least give Cane the opportunity to prove he is the incumbent, and it should be McCaw who has to fight to get the shirt back.

            its all well and good to replace some if they have played poorly, but as we saw in the 3rd lions test, taking a good young 7 off for the older player with the reputation, even though the youngster has played well, can be detrimental.

            dont get me wrong, McCaw is a great player, and if he is still on top form, then he deserves to start. I just hope, for the sake of NZ rugby, that Cane is given a fighting chance to retain the shirt, because he has played well.

          5. I do agree – and now I think is the time that Cane can begin to get more game time. Lets remember that NZ spent years completely focused on winning their home world cup, so it was dificult for them to play anyone who wasn’t their first choice. You can see it in the centres as well (with Nonu and Smith), they have very little depth and most the guys coming through have very few caps.

            For me, McCaw was building to the RWC11, which they won, so good plan really! Then in 2012 they were unbeaten, then he had his sabbatical. Now is probably then time that Cane will start being played more. I think up until now, they have played it quite well.

          6. The real problem for NZ is when McCaw will not be able to displace Todd for the starting position for the Crusaders next season and McCaw will have to come off the bench. That will be a hard pill to swallow for Hanson. Yes, I rate Todd and I think he will be the incumbent 7 next season. He really played well.

            Cane wasn’t starter for the Chiefs in the later stages of the competition. I don’t know if his form dipped after the June internationals or the other 7 just was playing better.

            NZ need to get their priorities straight. Their starting 7 missed practically all of the Super Rugby season and their starting 12 can’t find a franchise because none of them want him. They need to care about Super Rugby more and select the players on form.

        2. Yeah, it was hyperbole on blaming the Crusaders’ lose on McCaw. I should have said one of the reasons why they lost. However, as a superstitious player, I would be real hesitant to want a player who will not play until the first round of the playoffs or has not been training with them until the last couple weeks of the season. I feel like it’s a bad omen. I would want to back the players who got them there and McCaw should have recognized that it was best for the team to not be involved in the matches.

          I watched both the first round and the semis. The game was already won when he got on the pitch, so he didn’t have much impact. However, I felt like the Crusaders were a totally different team in the semis. They didn’t some pretty uncharacteristic things. It could be nerves or the vibe of the squad.

          1. Whatever you think of NZ’s selection policy, they seem to win a lot so they’re doing something right. I don’t buy them losing to the Cheifs as anything to do with McCaw – he played 20 minutes and the Cheifs were just the better side that day.

            Also, if Todd is keeping McCaw out of the side on form then I am sure Hanson will look at that; but I find that unlikely. If McCaw can get back to his best, he is still the best 7 in the world. Todd, in my opinion, is a good club player.

  4. You are totally right about the All Blacks. They seem to get the best out of their players and they will win a lot more games than they will lose.

    I believe Todd is now a better Super 15 player than McCaw because Super 15 is a lot faster and has a different playing style than international matches, which suits Todd more than McCaw (I know it doesn’t make sense, but Todd looks awesome). At the international level, yes, McCaw is still the best and Todd is no where near as good. I don’t think Hanson will care if McCaw doesn’t start as long as he get playing time. Todd will not get a real chance until after the World Cup, if that’s not too late.

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