Five new players have been selected in the 35-man squad tio tour the UK and Ireland next month, including Taranaki loose forward Chris Masoe and lock Jason Eaton.
The other three new All Blacks tourists are Wellington prop Neemia Tialata, Auckland loose forward Angus Macdonald and Auckland utility back Isaia Toeava.
“Developing depth is part of our strategy going forward,” coach Graham Henry said, “so it is good to introduce five new players to the All Blacks.”
Several loose forwards pressed for selection, Henry noted, and in addition to form, the selectors sought versatility. “With Angus and Chris we’ve picked a couple of new players who have, or are developing, broad skill sets. Both also have the ability to cover more than one position.”
Selection for the four-Test tour marks a recall for Taranaki hooker Andrew Hore who last played for the All Blacks in the 2004 Philips Tri Nations. The other 29 members of the squad were selected for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series or the Philips Tri Nations this year.
Hooker Derren Witcombe and flanker Jono Gibbes were unavailable due to injury.
The squad is:
Backs: Mils Muliaina (Auckland), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Rico Gear (Nelson Bays), Doug Howlett (Auckland), Joe Rokocoko (Auckland), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Ma'a Nonu (Wellington), Conrad Smith (Wellington), Tana Umaga (Wellington, captain), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Daniel Carter (Canterbury), Luke McAlister (North Harbour), Byron Kelleher (Waikato), Piri Weepu (Wellington), Jimmy Cowan (Southland).
Forwards: Rodney So'oialo (Wellington), Mose Tuiali'i (Canterbury), Richie McCaw (Canterbury), Chris Masoe (Taranaki), Jerry Collins (Wellington), Sione Lauaki (Waikato), Angus Macdonald (Auckland), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Ali Williams (Auckland), Chris Jack (Canterbury), James Ryan (Otago), Carl Hayman (Otago), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour), John Afoa (Auckland), Anton Oliver (Otago), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Andrew Hore (Taranaki).