July 02, 2019

Jacobson and Weber named in All Blacks Squad

The All Blacks selectors, Head Coach Steve Hansen, Assistant Head Coach Ian Foster and former All Black Grant Fox, have named the squad for the first two matches of the Investec Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa.

The 39-strong squad includes 8 Gallagher Chiefs players; Atu Moli, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Brad Weber and Anton Lienert-Brown.

Asafo Aumua (22, Hurricanes / Wellington, uncapped)
Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 60)
Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 4)
Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 41)

Owen Franks (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 106)
Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 17)
Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 37)
Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, uncapped)
Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 3)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (26, Blues / North Harbour, 13)
Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 75)
Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 21)
Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 108)

Utility Forward
Jackson Hemopo (25, Highlanders / Manawatu,3)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 60)
Vaea Fifita (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 9)
Shannon Frizell (25, Highlanders / Tasman, 4)
Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, new cap)
Dalton Papalii (21, Blues / Auckland, 2)
Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 118) — Captain
Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 35)
Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 17)

TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 55)
Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 82)
Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 1)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett (28, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 73)
Josh Ioane (23, Highlanders / Otago, new cap)
Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 9)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 7)
Ngani Laumape (26, Hurricanes / Manawatu, 10)
Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 33)
Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 51)

Utility Backs
Braydon Ennor (21, Crusaders / Canterbury, new cap)
Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 9)

Outside backs
George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 1)
Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 24)
Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, new cap)
Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 76)

Four new All Blacks have been named in the squad: Chiefs and Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobson, Highlanders and Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane and Crusaders and Canterbury back Braydon Ennor and Crusaders and Waikato outside back Sevu Reece.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “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.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Hansen said there were many positives in being able to name a larger squad for the first two matches in the Investec Rugby Championship.

“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 Investec 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.

Hansen further added: “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.”

Hansen further said that the first two Investec Rugby Championship matches, along with the Maori All Blacks two matches against Fiji, would give the selectors an opportunity to see a large number of players performing at a higher level, prior to them naming a trimmed down squad of 34 for the Bledisloe Cup.

Hansen said: “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.”

Squad breakdown:
The All Blacks squad is made up of 23 forwards (four hookers, seven props, three locks, one utility forward and eight loose forwards) and 16 backs (three halfbacks, three first five–eighths, four midfielders, two utility backs and four outside backs).

The squad is made up of six Blues players, eight Chiefs, eight Hurricanes, 11 Crusaders and six Highlanders while 13 of New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup provinces are represented, with eight Canterbury players, five from Wellington, four from Auckland, three each from Counties Manukau, Waikato Taranaki, Manawatu and Otago, two from Hawke’s Bay and Tasman while there is one player from Northland, North Harbour and Bay of Plenty.

The All Blacks squad (minus the Crusaders players) will assemble in Auckland tomorrow for a pre-season camp, and again for four days next week, before flying to Argentina on Friday 12 July to prepare for the Test against the Pumas on Saturday 20 July.

The Investec Rugby Championship

The 2019 Investec Rugby Championship will be the eighth edition of the expanded annual Southern Hemisphere rugby tournament. The All Blacks won the Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 – 2018. The All Blacks have also held The Bledisloe Cup (played between New Zealand and Australia) since 2003 and The Freedom Cup (played between New Zealand and South Africa) since 2010.

Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks Tests

1. vs. ARGENTINA. Saturday 20 July, 3.05PM (6.05AM, Sunday 21 July NZT), Jose Amalfitani Stadium (Estadio Velez Sarsfield), BUENOS AIRES
2. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 27 July, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
3. vs. AUSTRALIA. Saturday 10 August, 6.00PM (11.00PM NZT), Optus Stadium, PERTH

Second Bledisloe Cup Test

4. vs. AUSTRALIA. Saturday 17 August, 7.35PM, Eden Park, AUCKLAND

Jacobson and Weber named in All Blacks Squad