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Four Uncapped Players in All Blacks Squad

Steve Hansen has named his 39-man squad for the Rugby Championship and there are some big names missing

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Steve Hansen has announced his 39-man squad for the opening two games of this year’s shortened Rugby Championship and there are four new caps in it.

Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson, Highlanders Josh Ioane and Crusaders duo Braydon Ennor and Sevu Reece have all been called up for the first time.

Along with those four there could be two new test capped players in Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua and Chiefs prop Atu Moli, who have both only played in non-test matches for the All Blacks.

Head coach Hansen took the time to congratulate the newcomers and the players who have been called up once more into the national side.

“On behalf of the selectors, we want to congratulate the four new All Blacks named today – Luke, Josh, Braydon and Sevu. They’ve all performed to very high levels this year and played some outstanding rugby. It’s a special time being named in the All Blacks for the first time and they and their families can be proud of what they’ve achieved. We also congratulate the returning All Blacks and commiserate with those players who haven’t been named. As always, history has shown us opportunities will arise,” he said.

The key names missing from the squad are Waisake Naholo, Liam Squire (excluded himself from selection), Nathan Harris, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Akira Ioane.

While Scott Barrett, Ryan Crotty, Tim Perry and Damien McKenzie are all absent through injury.

On the other hand, Chiefs halfback Brad Weber has received his first call up to the national side for four years following an impressive campaign.

Hansen is excited to have all the players together and at the possibility to claim a third Rugby World Cup in a row come the end of the year.

“It’s really exciting bringing the team together and we’re all looking forward to starting the work towards this year’s goals. We’re going to try and do something that’s never been done before and that’s to win three Rugby World Cups in a row. However, that’s not a given. We’re going to have to be hungry for success and we’re going to have to work incredibly hard and smart to achieve this. Whilst recapturing the Rugby World Cup and the Bledisloe Cup are two of the end goals for the year, we have to deal with the here and now, which is getting ready to face two quality oppositions in Argentina and South Africa,” he added.

The coach, who is set to step down from his post come the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup is also happy to have the opportunity to name a larger squad and be able to pick from a bigger pool of players.

“First and foremost, it allows us to pick a very strong squad for what will be a challenging first Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires, while at the same time giving most of the Crusaders players in the All Blacks a rest from what has been a very tough Super Rugby Finals campaign. For the new players, it allows us to meet them for the first time, introduce them to our environment and grow their understanding of their game and our game at international level,” he continued.

Hansen has his sights set on creating winning and attractive rugby during the first two games before having to narrow his squad down to 34-players for the side’s clash with Australia.

“The challenge and the aim of the first two matches is not only to play winning rugby but attractive, exciting rugby. To do this, we’ll have to quickly reconnect the players from the various Super Rugby clubs back into the All Blacks’ ways. We will need to master our game by improving our execution. To do this, our skillsets and decision making will be our key focus. Being a Rugby World Cup year, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation from our many fans not only in New Zealand but also overseas. The squad is really looking forward to our fans’ support at all our Tests this year,” he finished.

Kieran Read will captain the team once more throughout their campaign as they hope to add yet another Rugby Championship title to their cabinet before setting off to Japan in search of another piece of history.

Check Out the Full 39-Man Squad Below.

Asafo Aumua (22, Hurricanes / Wellington, uncapped)

Beauden Barrett (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 60)

Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 9)

GeorgeBridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 1)

Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 60)

Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 60)

Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 4)

Braydon Ennor (21, Crusaders / Canterbury, new cap)

Vaea Fifita (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 108)

Owen Franks (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 106)

Shannon Frizell (25, Highlanders / Tasman, 4)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 7)

Jackson Hemopo (25, Highlanders / Manawatu, 3)

Josh Ioane (23, Highlanders / Otago, new cap)

Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 24)

Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, new cap)

Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 17)

Ngani Laumape (26, Hurricanes / Manawatu, 10)

Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 33)

Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, uncapped)

Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 37)

Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 9)

Dalton Papali’i (21, Blues / Auckland, 2)

TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 55)

Kieran Read (c) (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 118)

Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, new cap)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 75)

Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 35)

Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 82)

Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 76)

Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 3)

Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 41)

Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 17)

Karl Tu’inukuafe (26, Blues / North Harbour, 13)

Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 21)

Ofa Tu’ungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 1)

Sam Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 108)

Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 51)

Not considered for selection due to injury: Ryan Crotty, Scott Barrett, Tim Perry and Damian McKenzie.

Unavailable for selection: Liam Squire has also made himself unavailable as he felt he wasn’t ready to return to international rugby at this stage.


International

Eddie upbeat for ‘intriguing’ World Cup

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Eddie Jones admits the Wallabies are in the chasing pack but still close enough to catch the favourites and win September’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones, after a 15-minute technical glitch, gave his first wide-ranging interview from England on Thursday after his shock appointment on Monday.

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He said the battle to wear the No.10 jersey in France was wide open, touched on the side’s ill-discipline and current eligibility laws, assessed the health of the code in Australia and had a neat return-of-serve to rugby league powerbroker Peter V’landys in the latest code-war chapter.

But when asked if he genuinely thought the inconsistent world No.6 side could win the World Cup this year, he was serious.

“There’s no long term; the whole thing is to win the World Cup in 2023,” said Jones, who is on a five-year contract.

“We have to concentrate on areas that will make the biggest difference to the performance of the team and we have to get selection right.
“And we’ve got to create an environment where players are going to give that little bit more, because nobody knows how much they can give.”

Jones will have just five Tests to prepare his men before the Cup and he turned to racing parlance to assess the current power rankings.

He says feels there’s still time for the field to settle with the team who improves the most between now and October set for victory.

“At the moment France and Ireland, in a horse race they’re at the front on the top of the rise,” he said.

“But there’s still plenty of work to do.

“Australia and England are nestled behind them and the team that improves the most over the next nine months will win the World Cup.

“This is the most intriguing World Cup we’ve ever seen.

“Throw in the volatility of the refereeing at the moment with red and yellow cards.

“You’ve got all these things happening that give us this massive opportunity.”

He said every player would have a chance to “select themselves” in club rugby and that replacing Rennie before his contract was to expire at the end of this year wasn’t in his control.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I can do this better than Dave, or, I’m a better person’, it’s not that at all,” he said.

“It’s the fact that there was an opportunity there that as an Australian when you get a chance to coach your country you want to do it, mate.”

In a boost for James O’Connor’s hopes after he was cut from Rennie’s extended squad, Jones said he’d base selection on Super Rugby Pacific form and keep an eye on his foreign-based playmakers.

But Jones admits time isn’t on his side when it comes to settling on a preferred partnership, with rival five-eighth Quade Cooper’s recovery from an Achilles tear counting against him.

“We are going to have to decide quite quickly who we think are the best nines and tens and 12s, particularly, to try and build up that cohesion,” he said.

Content & Images from – Australia Rugby


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6 Nations

England team to face Scotland in Six Nations opener

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Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut at left wing, Max Malins returns to the side at right wing and Freddie Steward is named at full back.

Owen Farrell captains the side from inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Joe Marchant. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Jack van Poortvliet at scrum half.

The front row is made up of vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler with Jamie George at hooker. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum start at lock, while Ben Curry makes his second appearance for England at open-side flanker. Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt complete the back row.

Jack Walker is in line to make his England debut after being named as a substitute, Anthony Watson could make a first England appearance since March 2021, and if Dan Cole comes off the bench he will earn a 96th Test cap.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs and Ollie Lawrence make up the remaining replacements.

“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” said Borthwick.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”

England Match Day Squad

Starting

15. Freddie Steward

14. Max Malins

13. Joe Marchant

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Ollie Hassell-Collins

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Ellis Genge (VC)

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Ollie Chessum

6. Lewis Ludlam

7. Ben Curry

8. Alex Dombrandt

Replacements

16. Jack Walker

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Dan Cole

19. Nick Isiekwe

20. Ben Earl

21. Ben Youngs

22. Ollie Lawrence

23. Anthony Watson


Images & Content from England Rugby
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6 Nations

Scotland name team to face England in 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener

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Head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad to face England in the opening fixture of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this Saturday as Scotland bid to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Leading his side in the championship for the first time, blindside flanker Jamie Ritchie is joined at openside by Luke Crosbie, whose excellent recent form is rewarded with a second start for Scotland, with Matt Fagerson completing the back row.

In the second row, the experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, who is named as Vice Captain, resume a partnership that impressed during last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

Pierre Schoeman starts at loosehead prop in what is a 17th consecutive international since his 2021 debut, with the evergreen WP Nel – who reached 50 caps in November – selected at tighthead and George Turner named at hooker.

In the back division, scrum-half Ben White will link up with stand-off Finn Russell, a year on from his try-scoring debut in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones are named as a centre pairing, the former having scored his first tries for Scotland in November’s win over Argentina, with the latter having notched no fewer than four tries against England in as many games against them.

In the back three, Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg continues at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn lining up on the wings.

Townsend has selected a bench with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs, with Glasgow Warriors clubmates Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan and Jack Dempsey, alongside Jonny Gray, listed as pack replacements. George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Chris Harris complete the matchday squad as substitute options.

Scotland team to face England in the Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday, 4 February at Twickenham, kick-off 4.45pm, live on STV and ITV

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 96 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 65 caps
9. Ben White (London Irish) 9 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 50 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – Vice Captain – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – Captain – 36 caps
7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps

Replacements

16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 57 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) 72 caps
20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 38 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 39 caps

Tickets for Scotland’s match against Italy at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 18 March are still available HERE

Images & Content – Scotland Rugby


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