Dan Carter has returned to the New Zealand squad for The Rugby Championship after his extended break from rugby. Charles Piutau and Sam Cane, who also missed the June tests, return to the squad too.
The trio return to the team that will be looking to defend its Rugby Championship crown ahead of the Crusaders trio of Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd. Victor Vito and Luke Romano were not considered for the squad due to injury, while Crusaders prop Joe Moody is named as cover for Tony Woodcock, who is expected to miss the start of the championship with a shoulder issue.
The All Blacks are chasing a world record 18 wins in a row, a run they will achieve should they beat Australia in the Bledisloe Cup on August 16th.
New Zealand squad:
Forwards: Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Keven Mealamu (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Dominic Bird (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders, capttain), Kieran Read (Crusaders), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Steven Luatua (Blues).
Backs: Aaron Smith (Highlanders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), Dan Carter (Crusaders), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Ma’a Nonu (Blues), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), Israel Dagg (Crusaders), Ben Smith (Highlanders), Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Cory Jane (Hurricanes), Charles Piutau (Blues).
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images