Exciting uncapped wing duo named in Foster's first All Blacks squad

International
by Christy Doran

The inclusions of exciting uncapped wing pair Will Jordan and Caleb Clarke headline Ian Foster's first All Blacks squad.

Foster has named a 35-man squad for next month's Bledisloe Cup series against the Wallabies, including seven new faces.

The Test season has yet to be confirmed, but New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia are working towards playing the opening Bledisloe Test on October 10.

SANZAAR has yet to announce whether The Rugby Championship will go ahead either, with a decision on the tournament likely in the next week.

"Like everyone else, we're impatient to know what is happening, but we fully understand all the variables at play and we remain confident that there'll be something for fans to look forward to in the not-too-distant future," Foster said.

Auckland Blues winger Caleb Clarke and Crusaders outside back Will Jordan, who scored the matchwinning try for South against North on Saturday night, headline the squad's fresh look in the post-Steven Hansen era.

Both men were the standout backs throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa.

They will fight for a place in the back three which is already crammed with extraordinary talent including Crusaders trio George Bride, Sevu Reece and Braydon Ennor, Chief Damian McKenzie, Blues utility back Rieko Ioane and the Barrett brothers - Beauden and Jordie.

As expected Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett are the two playmakers in the squad, but whether Foster fits both men in the starting side is yet to be determined.

There's three halfbacks in the squad with TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber all included.

The absence of Brodie Retallick and international retirement of captain Kieran Read has provided opportunities for some fresh blood in the forward pack.

In particular, Blues No.8 Hoskins Sotutu and Crusaders back-rower Cullen Grace are new additions to the squad.

But with the exception of captain Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, there's inexperience in the back-row stocks with Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane and Shannon Frizell included too.

That inexperience is shared in the second-row too, with uncapped duo Quinten Strange and Tupou Vaa'i included alongside veteran Sam Whitelock and Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

Up front and Blues front-rower Alex Hodgman is the only new face, which has a mixture of experience and young blood in Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi and Tyrel Lomax.

There's three hookers with young Hurricanes rake Asafo Aumua joining World Cup-winning duo Dane Coles and Codie Taylor.

Prop Atu Moli, lock Scott Barrett and centre Ngani Laumape weren't considered due to injury.

ALL BLACKS 35-man squad:

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Quinten Strange, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'i, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizell, Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu

Backs: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, Braydon Ennor, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece