All Blacks selectors Ian Foster, Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt have named the All Blacks squad for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
The squad was announced by former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in Napier this afternoon in front almost 2000 locals who were impacted by cyclone Gabrielle, as well as first responders.
The 33-strong squad is as follows (with age, Super Rugby team, province and Test caps):
Dane Coles (36, Hurricanes / Wellington, 86)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 24)
Codie Taylor (32, Crusaders / Canterbury, 79)
Ethan de Groot (25, Highlanders / Southland, 16)
Tyrel Lomax (27, Hurricanes / Tasman, 26)
Nepo Laulala (31, Blues / Counties Manukau, 49)
Fletcher Newell (23, Crusaders / Canterbury, 7)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (31, Blues / Northland, 53)
Tamaiti Williams (22, Crusaders / Canterbury, 2)
Scott Barrett (29, Crusaders / Taranaki, 61)
Brodie Retallick (32, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 103)
Tupou Vaa’i (23, Chiefs / Taranaki, 21)
Samuel Whitelock (34, Crusaders / Canterbury, 145)
Sam Cane (31, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 89) – Captain
Shannon Frizell (29, Highlanders / Tasman, 28)
Luke Jacobson (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 14)
Dalton Papali’i (25, Blues / Counties Manukau, 25)
Ardie Savea (29, Hurricanes / Wellington, 74)
Finlay Christie (27, Blues / Tasman, 17)
Cam Roigard (22, Hurricanes / Counties Manukau, 1)
Aaron Smith (34, Highlanders / Manawatū, 118)
Beauden Barrett (32, Blues / Taranaki, 115)
Damian McKenzie (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 42)
Richie Mo’unga (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 48)
Jordie Barrett (26, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 51)
David Havili (28, Crusaders / Tasman, 25)
Rieko Ioane (26, Blues / Auckland, 62)
Anton Lienert-Brown (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 62)
Caleb Clarke (24, Blues / Auckland, 18)
Leicester Fainga’anuku (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 3)
Will Jordan (25, Crusaders / Tasman, 24)
Emoni Narawa (24, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 1)
Mark Telea (26, Blues / North Harbour, 4)
The squad features 18 forwards and 15 backs with the following positional breakdown: three hookers, six props, four locks, five loose forwards, three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders and five outside backs.
The All Blacks will be captained by Sam Cane. Lock Samuel Whitelock will be going to his fourth tournament. Six players will be going to their third tournament, nine players will be going to their second Tournament, while 17 are going to their first.
With a combined 1493 Test caps, this is the All Blacks’ most experienced Rugby World Cup squad in history. Whitelock is the most capped player with 145 Test caps, while halfback Cam Roigard is the newest All Black with one Test cap. The side has an average age of 27.
“It’s a great privilege to both select and be selected for an All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad,” said head coach Ian Foster.
“We congratulate those 33 players selected. This group has grown in belief and is highly motivated to represent our country with pride in France, as we seek to be the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup four times.
“This year’s Rugby World Cup promises to be the most competitive yet and the pool draw means we have to ready right from the outset. We have worked hard through the first part of our season and have made some strong progress through the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe series. There is more growth to come and more is needed.
“This is a vastly experienced team but with over half the players going to their first RWC, it has a strong balance of youth and future planning.
“The challenge is to continue our growth through the game in London vs South Africa, into our camp in Germany before arriving in Lyon with a clear focus on performance in each of our pool games.”
The All Blacks will stage their pre-Rugby World Cup preparations in Napier over a three-day camp. The region was hit hard by cyclone Gabrielle and the entire squad will be out in the community helping to rescue the damaged Tangoio Marae while also hosting a public training session.
The squad features provincial representation from 13 of New Zealand’s Bunnings Warehouse NPC provinces and all New Zealand’s five DHL Super Rugby clubs are represented.
“The support we have had for our games to date has been fantastic and we are greatly appreciative of it. By naming this team in Napier and spending three days there in the community we simply want to acknowledge the tremendous adversity the communities of the East Coast have endured recently. We have felt helpless from afar and hope this small symbol of our support will assist in some small way,” added Foster.
The All Blacks will kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against host France in Paris (Friday 8 September), then play Namibia in Toulouse (Friday 15 September), Italy in Lyon (Friday 29 September), and their final Pool match against Uruguay in Lyon (Thursday 5 October).
Players set to appear at multiple Rugby World Cups (including 2023):
Samuel Whitelock (4)
Aaron Smith (3)
Beauden Barrett (3)
Brodie Retallick (3)
Codie Taylor (3)
Dane Coles (3)
Sam Cane (3)
Anton Lienert-Brown (2)
Ardie Savea (2)
Jordie Barrett (2)
Nepo Laulala (2)
Ofa Tu’ungaasi (2)
Richie Mo’unga (2)
Rieko Ioane (2)
Scott Barrett (2)
Shannon Frizell (2)
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.