Read, Retallick return for All Blacks

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

Fit-again captain Kieran Read has been restored to the All Blacks and will lead a powerful squad in twin Bledisloe Cup Tests this month.

Coach Steve Hansen sprung few surprises in unveiling a 33-man squad for the Rugby Championship, with Read, hooker Dane Coles, lock Brodie Retallick and prop Tim Perry additions to the squad that swept France 3-0 in June.

There are 10 players from the freshly-crowned Super Rugby champion Crusaders, including Read, who hasn't played a Test since last November when he suffered a serious back injury.

The 109-Test No.8 reclaims the leadership from lock Sam Whitelock ahead of the opening Test against the Wallabies in Sydney next week.

Read's return is a straight swap with injured loose forward Jordan Taufua (broken arm).Dane Coles will play no part in the Bledisloe. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile Read took part in the final weeks of the Crusaders' charge to a ninth title, Coles hasn't played at any level since rupturing knee ligaments nine months ago.

He is still recuperating and will miss both opening Tests against Australia, along with inside centre Sonny Bill Williams (shoulder).

Three Hurricanes players have been dropped from the French series - midfield back Ngani Laumape, lock/flanker Vaea Fifita and prop Jeff Toomaga Allen.

Laumape and hooker Liam Coltman will join the squad as injury cover for Williams and Coles.

Toomaga-Allen is replaced by Perry, who missed the French series with a hamstring injury.Brodie Retallick returns to the New Zealand. Photo: Getty ImagesPerry and third-ranked halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi are the only uncapped players.

Retallick withdrew late from the French series with injury but is poised to end 11 months out of the Test arena.

"The selectors found this an incredibly difficult squad to select," Hansen said.

"It has to be noted that there are some very good players who have not made the squad.

"One of the positives of having such a talented pool to select from is that it creates natural competition, That competition should remove any feelings of complacency within our playing group."

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday August 18 at ANZ Stadium, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.


All Blacks squad for The Rugby Championship


Kieran Read (C)

Luke Whitelock

Sam Cane

Ardie Savea

Liam Squire

Shannon Frizell

Jackson Hemopo

Sam Whitelock

Brodie Retallick

Scott Barrett

Joe Moody

Tim Perry

Karl Tu'inukuafe

Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Owen Franks

Codie Taylor

Nathan Harris

Dane Coles.


Jordie Barrett

Ben Smith

Nehe Milner-Skudder

Waisake Naholo

Rieko Ioane

Jack Goodhue

Anton Lienert-Brown

Ryan Crotty

Sonny Bill Williams

Beauden Barrett

Damian McKenzie

Richie Mo'unga

Aaron Smith

TJ Perenara

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi