Savea sent packing by All Blacks

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Julian Savea has been left out of the All Blacks squad for The Rugby Championship.

The man they call "The Bus" has been replaced by Hurricanes teammate Nehe Milner-Skudder, who returned to the Canes in the back half of the Super Rugby season and immediately hit top gear.

Crusaders flanker Matt Todd has also been dropped from the squad that faced the British and Irish Lions in June, with Nepo Laulala in at prop.

Aaron Cruden has been left out, as he sets off for Montpellier on a multi million dollar deal.Aaron Cruden won't feature for the All Blacks again in 2017. Photo: Getty ImagesCoach Steve Hansen has otherwise kept the squad very similar to the one that drew with the Lions, though Damian MacKenzie has been named as injury cover for Ben Smith, who will take time off from the game after the first two Bledisloe's.


All Blacks squad for The Rugby Championship

Forwards (Tests bracketed)


Dane Coles (Wellington/Hurricanes, 49)

Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty/Chiefs, 8)

Codie Taylor (Canterbury/Crusaders, 19)


Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury/Crusaders, 62)

Owen Franks (Canterbury/Crusaders, 94)

Nepo Laulala (Counties Manukau/Chiefs, 4)

Joe Moody (Canterbury/Crusaders, 28)

Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland/Blues, 4)


Scott Barrett (Taranaki/Crusaders, 8)

Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay/Chiefs, 64)

Luke Romano (Canterbury/Crusaders, 26)

Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury/Crusaders, 88)

Loose forwards

Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty/Chiefs, 44)

Vaea Fifita (Wellington/Hurricanes, 1)

Jerome Kaino (Auckland/Blues, 74)

Kieran Read, captain (Counties Manukau/ Crusaders, 100)

Ardie Savea (Wellington/Hurricanes, 16)

Liam Squire (Tasman/Highlanders, 8)



Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Waikato/Chiefs, 25)

TJ Perenara (Wellington/Hurricanes, 33)

Aaron Smith (Manawatu/Highlanders, 62)

First five–eighths

Beauden Barrett (Taranaki/Hurricanes, 53)

Lima Sopoaga (Southland/Highlanders, 7)


Ryan Crotty (Canterbury/Crusaders, 27)

Ngani Laumape (Manawatu/Hurricanes, 2)

Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato/Chiefs, 13)

Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau/Blues, 36)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (Taranaki/Hurricanes, 2)

Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay/Crusaders, 65)

Rieko Ioane (Auckland/Blues, 4)

Nehe Milner-Skudder (Manawatu/Hurricanes, 8)

Waisake Naholo (Taranaki/Highlanders, 13)

Ben Smith (Otago/Highlanders, 62)

Utility back / Replacement

Damian McKenzie (Waikato/Chiefs, 2)