All Blacks travelling squad for Australia named

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Otago prop George Bower and Wellington loose forward and captain Du'Plessis Kirifi will join the squad as prop and loose forward cover respectively, with prop Joe Moody going through HIA (head injury assessment) protocols and fellow prop Nepo Laulala on paternity leave, while loose forward Ardie Savea is also on paternity leave.

The squad also features the inclusion of lock Mitchell Dunshea and midfielders Ngani Laumape and Peter Umaga-Jensen who have already assembled with the All Blacks as cover.

The All Blacks will travel with 36 players initially to Australia on Sunday, with Savea and Laulala expected to join the squad in the following week or two.

Meanwhile, three players have been released to play Mitre 10 Cup rugby this weekend.  Dunshea and loose forward Cullen Grace will be available for Canterbury's game against Bay of Plenty in Tauranga on Saturday afternoon, with loose forward Akira Ioane available for Auckland's match against North Harbour in Auckland on Saturday night.

The All Blacks travelling squad for the Investec Tri Nations is as follows:


Hookers: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles and Codie Taylor.

Props: George Bower, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Karl Tu'inukuafe, and Ofa Tuungafasi.

Locks: Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'i and Samuel Whitelock.

Loose Forwards: Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea and Hoskins Sotutu.



Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber.

First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.

Midfielders: Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown and Peter Umaga-Jensen.

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie and Sevu Reece.

Player bios - George Bower, Mitchell Dunshea, Du'Plessis Kirifi and Peter Umaga-Jensen

Born in Lower Hutt, 28-year-old prop George Bower, who can cover both tighthead and loosehead, began his rugby playing for the Avalon club and worked his way through the ranks, playing for the Wellington Under 20 team in 2011 before moving to Dunedin to train as a teacher. He played for Otago B and one game for the top team in 2014 as an injury replacement but it wasn't until 2018 that he managed to get more regular games.  Things moved quickly for the hard-working prop and he was then signed by the Crusaders for the 2019 season and has helped the team to two Super titles.

Born in Hamilton, Mitchell Dunshea moved to the South Island as a youngster and attended Lincoln High School and Lincoln University.  The 24-year-old lock / loose forward made his provincial debut in 2015, months after winning the World Under 20 Championship with New Zealand, and helped the team win the provincial Premiership title.  Dunshea made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and played for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions. He has been a key member of the Crusaders forward pack as the team went on to win their fourth consecutive title in 2020.

Another Wellington and Hurricanes player to come out of New Plymouth's Francis Douglas Memorial College (as well as a former First XV teammate and flatmate of Jordie Barrett), 23-year-old Du'Plessis Kirifi was called into the Hurricanes as injury cover in 2018 following an impressive debut season for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup the previous year. A dynamic loose forward, especially over the ball, he has continued his outstanding form for both the Hurricanes and as captain of the Wellington Lions. A former age-group representative for Taranaki and Waikato, Du'Plessis is named after former Springbok captain Morne du Plessis.

22-year-old Peter Umaga-Jensen, who made his Test debut against Australia last weekend, is a nephew of All Blacks great Tana Umaga and grew up in the rugby and rugby league nursery suburb of Wainuiomata alongside twin brother and fellow professional player Thomas.  Both played for New Zealand Schools and Under 20 before Peter made his Wellington debut in 2016 (with Thomas debuting a year later) and the Hurricanes in 2018, becoming the first-choice centre this year.  His elevation to higher honours was signalled when he was selected for the Steinlager North v South match.

The All Blacks will play two Bledisloe Cup / Tri Nations matches against Australia at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on Saturday October 31 (7.50PM NZT) and Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on November 7 (9.45PM NZT), before the first game against Argentina at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, on Saturday 14 November (7.10PM NZT).  The All Blacks will then have a bye weekend before the second Test against Argentina at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, on Saturday 28 November (9.45PM NZT).

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