All Blacks squad for Air New Zealand European Tour 29 Oct 2012
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All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen and his fellow selectors Assistant Coach Ian Foster and former All Black Grant Fox have today announced the squad for the All Blacks Air New Zealand European Tour to Scotland, Italy, Wales and England with two new All Blacks, Dane Coles and Tawera Kerr-Barlow, selected.
The squad is: (with province and Test caps. * denotes a new cap)
Dane Coles Wellington* Tawera Kerr-Barlow Waikato*
Andrew Hore Taranaki (72) Aaron Smith Manawatu (10)
Keven Mealamu Auckland (100) Piri Weepu Auckland (66)
Wyatt Crockett Canterbury (7) Beauden Barrett Taranaki (2)
Charlie Faumuina Auckland (4) Daniel Carter Canterbury (92)
Ben Franks Canterbury (21) Aaron Cruden Manawatu (18)
Owen Franks Canterbury (41) Tony Woodcock North Harbour (92)
Tamati Ellison Otago (3) Ma'a Nonu Wellington (73)
Brodie Retallick Bay of Plenty (10) Conrad Smith Wellington (63)
Luke Romano Canterbury (8)
Sam Whitelock Canterbury (35) Ali Williams Auckland (75)
Israel Dagg Hawke's Bay (22) Hosea Gear Wellington (13)
Cory Jane Wellington (38) Sam Cane Bay of Plenty (4) Ben Smith Otago (9)
Richie McCaw (c) Canterbury (113) Julian Savea Wellington (5)
Liam Messam Waikato (17) Kieran Read Canterbury (45)
Adam Thomson Otago (28) Victor Vito Wellington (17)
The key feature of the squad is the selection of new caps 22-year-old Waikato and Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and 25-year-old Wellington and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles. Kerr-Barlow and Coles, who both attended All Blacks training camps this year, were in outstanding form for their respective Investec Super Rugby franchises and ITM Cup provinces.
"Firstly, I would like to congratulate Tawera and Dane on their selection. It is always a special occasion when you are picked for the All Blacks and we look forward to welcoming them into the All Blacks family. They are young and exciting players and have shown this year that they look more than capable of stepping up to Test match rugby," All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said.
The squad also features the return of the All Blacks second-most capped lock, 75-Test veteran Ali Williams, who missed most of the All Blacks season recovering from knee surgery. Players not considered for selection due to injury include Anthony Boric (neck), Colin Slade (leg) and Richard Kahui (shoulder). The squad is made up of 18 forwards and 14 backs with a combined total of 1,103 Test caps and will again be captained by 113-Test All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw.
Hansen said the All Blacks players and management were looking forward to the Air New Zealand European Tour.
"Tours to the Northern Hemisphere always bring unique challenges and this tour will be no different. For many of the newer players in the All Blacks it will be the first time they have experienced Test matches in the UK and Europe and they are always big occasions.
"Overall, the team has been very happy with what we have achieved so far this year, but nothing has changed - we are always looking to put in performances we are proud of and we are always looking to improve - and that is what we will be wanting to do on this tour."
The All Blacks assemble and fly out from Auckland this Thursday with the first Test against Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday 11 November.
Mini biographies - Dane Coles and Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Dane Coles now has experience to go with his mobility and energy as one of the country's leading hookers. Raised on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington, Coles played for New Zealand Under 19 in 2005 and New Zealand Under 21 in 2007. He made his provincial debut for Wellington the same year, scoring two tries on debut. He has been in the Hurricanes since 2009 and in 2010 also played for the Maori All Blacks in their triumphant centenary series of matches against the New Zealand Barbarians, Ireland and England.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow is one of a crop of talented, young New Zealand halfbacks and has earned All Blacks selection with his bruising defence and ability to make a nuisance of himself in classic halfback fashion. He made Waikato age-grade sides before being selected for the Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 in 2010 and was picked for the Chiefs in 2011. He has a unique rugby heritage for an All Black - his mother Gail played halfback for AustraliNZRU
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