Steve Hansen has named his All Blacks squad for their three Tests against the Lions, the first of which takes place on June 24.
Two new faces come into the team in the form of Hurricanes teammates Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett. Interestingly the Lions take on the duo’s club side between the second and third Tests later this summer.
While the selection of Beauden Barrett’s brother, Jordie, was to be expected following his fine domestic form and inclusion as an apprentice on the northern tour with New Zealand last year, Hansen was quick to point out that this is a special moment for the pair.
“Firstly, on behalf of the All Blacks, the selectors would like to congratulate all players selected for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series, especially the new All Blacks,” Hansen told Allblacks.com
“Obviously, it’s a very special occasion for the Barrett and Laumape families, with Jordie and Ngani being selected for the first time. Jordie has been in outstanding form, he has a skill set which is complete and has a great running and kicking game. Ngani too has been impressive throughout the Super season and has forced his way in through commanding performances.”
With a host of talent at his disposal at present, the All Black boss also professed that this was one of the toughest squads he’s had to select yet.
“This has been by far the toughest team that we’ve had to select for some time and some players who are in very good form missed out, and we always feel for them.
“But as is the nature of Test rugby I’m sure a number of them will get an opportunity, if not in this Series, then throughout the season.”
The All Blacks take on the Lions three times over the course of June and July with the opening Test now just over two weeks away.
The All Black Squad To Take On The Lions:
Dane Coles (Wellington, 49)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, 15)
Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty, 4)
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 58)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 46)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 90)
Joe Moody (Canterbury, 24)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland, 4)
Scott Barrett (Taranaki, 4)
Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay, 60)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 26)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 84)
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 40)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 74)
Kieran Read, captain (Counties Manukau, 97)
Ardie Savea (Wellington, 12)
Liam Squire (Tasman, 8)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato, 25)
TJ Perenara (Wellington, 29)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 58)
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 49)
Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, 47)
Lima Sopoaga (Southland, 6)
Ryan Crotty (Canterbury, 26)
Ngani Laumape (Manawatu, uncapped)
Anton Leinert-Brown (Waikato, 9)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau, 33)
Jordie Barrett (Taranaki, uncapped)
Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay, 61)
Rieko Ioane (Auckland, 2)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, 12)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 52)
Ben Smith (Otago, 60)
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena