All Blacks keen to build depth on northern tour

3 min

Wellington (AFP)

New Zealand have included four new faces in an extended 37-man squad named Monday for their November northern hemisphere tour as they look to bounce back from the weekend loss to Australia.

With the next World Cup only two years away, the reigning champions have now lost two of 11 Tests so far this year and coach Steve Hansen sees a need to "expose more young talent" to top-level pressure.

The All Blacks will play Tests against France, Scotland and Wales on the tour with additional fixtures against the Barbarians and a France XV.

The four uncapped players include two forwards -- hooker Asafo Aumua and prop Tim Perry -- as well as outside backs Matt Duffie and Jack Goodhue.

All 23 players who featured in Saturday's 23-18 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane have retained their places with Hansen keen to rectify the errors rather than point the finger.

"We want to play attractive rugby that we can be proud of and, of course, winning is part of that. But just as importantly, we will be re-establishing the processes that allow us to do this," Hansen said.

"Adding the four new players to our squad will again allow us to expose more young talent to the highest level, where, history tells us, players grow and get better.

"So this tour will complete a season of building depth and experience, which in the long run, will only benefit the team."

- Crusader heavy -

Of the 37 players in the squad, 19 have been selected since the All Blacks won the last World Cup two years ago.

In addition to the official touring party, a further five players who will turn out for the Barbarians in the opening match at Twickenham on November 4 will then assemble with the All Blacks for the French leg.

They include uncapped fly-half Richie Mo'unga, who was called into the All Blacks squad as injury cover last week, as well as two-Test lock Dominic Bird.

Hansen confirmed that six All Blacks who have carried heavy workloads this year -- captain Kieran Read, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Sam Whitelock, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams -- will not be considered for the Barbarians match.

Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders provide nearly a third of the squad with 12 players while there are eight from the Wellington Hurricanes, seven Waikato Chiefs, six from the Auckland Blues and four Otago Highlanders.

Players not considered due to either injury or family reasons include Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ben Smith.

Forwards: Asafo Aumua (Wellington Hurricanes), Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Nathan Harris (Waikato Chiefs), Codie Taylor (Canterbury Crusaders), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Kane Hames (Chiefs), Nepo Laulala (Chiefs), Tim Perry (Crusaders), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland Blues), Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Samuel Whitelock ( Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Kieran Read (capt, Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Liam Squire (Otago Highlanders), Matt Todd (Crusaders)

Backs: Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs), Sonny Bill Williams (Blues), David Havili (Crusaders), Matt Duffie (Blues), Rieko Ioane (Blues), Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), Seta Tamanivalu (Crusaders)


Nov 4: v Barbarians at Twickenham

Nov 11: v France in Paris

Nov 14: v French XV at Lyon

Nov 18: v Scotland at Edinburgh

Nov 25: v Wales at Cardiff