Five uncapped players have been picked in a 36-man squad for the All Blacks’ rugby tour of Japan and Europe. They include the Crusaders’ trio of prop Joe Moody, lock Dominic Bird and loose forward Luke Whitelock, who joins 48-cap brother Sam in the touring party.
Also selected are Blues winger Frank Halai and Hurricanes scrum half TJ Perenara, who was named in this year’s Rugby Championship squad but had to pull out through injury.
Richie McCaw returns after missing the latest Bledisloe Cup instalment through injury to captain the squad, while the outstanding Kieran Read and Dan Carter are named as joint co-vice-captains.
The All-Blacks have also named an ‘apprentice’ player to accompany the squad on tour, 20-year old Ardie Savea. The Hurricanes flanker is the younger brother of winger Julian Savea.
They play Japan on November 2, followed by Tests on successive weekends against France, England and Ireland. A group of 27 players, to be named after the camp, will head to Tokyo to prepare for the opening Test, while the nine others will travel to Paris.
New Zealand squad for Autumn tour:
Forwards: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Tony Woodcock, Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw (C), Liam Messam, Kieran Read (VC), Luke Whitelock.
Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter (VC), Aaron Cruden, Tom Taylor, Ryan Crotty, Ma’a Nonu, Francis Saili, Israel Dagg, Frank Halai, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.