Fresh faces feature in All Blacks training squad

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named three fresh faces in his wider training squad for The Rugby Championship.

Highlanders pair Richard Buckman and Tom Franklin, along with Chiefs prop Atu Moli, are the three new inclusions in the 34-man squad.

No Crusaders have been named as they prepare for Saturday's Super Rugby final but there are recalls for props Nepo Laulala and Jeff To'omaga Allen, who weren't part of the squad during the British and Irish Lions series.

Charlie Ngatai is back in the All Blacks fold. Photo: Getty ImagesCharlie Ngatai has also been handed an invitation, having battled ongoing concussion issues since he made his debut in 2015.

The final squad for The Rugby Championship will be named on August 7.



Hookers: Dane Coles and Nathan Harris.

Props: Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Locks: Dominic Bird, Tom Franklin, Brodie Retallick and Patrick Tuipulotu.

Loose Forwards: Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Akira Ioane, Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea and Liam Squire.


Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith.

First five-eighths:
Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie and Lima Sopoaga.

Midfielders: Richard Buckman, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai and Sonny Bill Williams.

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea and Ben Smith.