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All Blacks Squad For Rugby Championship Named: SBW Returns, McKenzie Out

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen resisted temptation and selected the tried and trusted over the young and gifted in his Rugby Championship squad, which was announced on Monday.

Sonny Bill Williams will be jet-setting from the Rio Olympics straight into the midfield while Julian Savea retains his place despite only featuring from the subs bench for the Hurricanes recently.

The Chiefs lost three representatives from the previous squad against Wales: Charlie Ngatai through injury (concussion), Seta Tamanivalu and the exciting Damian McKenzie. George Moala retains his place after impressing in the final Welsh test.

SINGAPORE - APRIL 17: Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand warms up before the 2016 Singapore Sevens Cup Quarter Final between South Africa and New Zealand at National Stadium on April 17, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

In the forwards, Hansen has retained the same players as the Wales series and, perhaps surprisingly, has not rewarded the outstanding Super 18 form of Hurricanes forwards Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita and Brad Shields.

The selectors have favoured experience over form and perhaps the end-of-year Northern tour will be the time to experiment more and test the mettle of explosive newcomers like McKenzie, Fifita and the Ioane brothers, Rieko and Akira.

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 16: Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs on the attack during the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 16, 2016 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)

The All Blacks squad will meet in the North Shore of Auckland on Thursday for a two-day camp except for the five Hurricanes who will feature against the Lions in the Super Rugby final.

There are also five other non-squad players who will also attend the training camp: Tamanivalu, McKenzie and promising midfield back Anton Lienert-Brown (all Chiefs), Crusaders flanker Matt Todd, Blues utility loose forward Steven Luatua and pacy fullback Melani Nanai.

All Blacks squad:
Forwards:
Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington / Hurricanes, 39)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury / Crusaders, 5)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty / Chiefs, 4)
Props
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury / Crusaders, 48)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland / Blues, 36)
Owen Franks (Canterbury / Crusaders, 80)
Joe Moody (Canterbury / Crusaders, 14)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland / Blues, 1)
Locks
Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay / Chiefs, 50)
Luke Romano (Canterbury / Crusaders, 24)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland / Blues, 9)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury / Crusaders, 75)
Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty / Chiefs, 34)
Elliot Dixon (Southland / Highlanders, 1)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland / Blues, 69)
Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury / Crusaders, 87)
Ardie Savea (Wellington / Hurricanes, 2)
Liam Squire (Tasman / Highlanders, 1)

_____

Backs:
Halfbacks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato / Chiefs, 21)
TJ Perenara (Wellington / Hurricanes, 19)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu / Highlanders, 50)
First five-eighths
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki / Hurricanes, 39)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu / Chiefs, 39)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland / Highlanders, 2)
Midfielders
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury / Crusaders, 18)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland / Highlanders, 15)
George Moala (Auckland / Blues, 2)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau / Chiefs, 33)
Outside backs
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay / Crusaders, 51)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki / Highlanders, 6)
Julian Savea (Wellington/ Hurricanes, 43)
Ben Smith (Otago / Highlanders, 51)

_____

The Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks Tests
1. vs. Australia. Saturday 20 August, 8.05PM, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
2. vs. Australia. Saturday 27 August, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
3. vs. Argentina. Saturday 10 September, 7.35PM, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
4. vs. South Africa. Saturday 17 September, 7.35PM, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
5. vs. Argentina. Saturday 1 October, 7.10PM, Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
6. vs. South Africa. Saturday 8 October, 5.05PM, Kings Park, Durban

(Squad details from the NZ Herald)

Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.

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