Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

All Blacks name their Investec Rugby Championship team

By Regan Paranihi

33 players have been named on the official All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship team for 2018, as well as two substitute players for injury cover.

All Black coach Steve Hansen says selecting the team was not easy for him and the other selectors due to the large scale of talent across the border.

"The selectors found this an incredibly difficult squad to select, and whilst we congratulate those who've been named in the Investec Rugby Championship team, we also commiserate with those who've missed out.”

He says having a wide range of talent keeps the competition natural.

“One of the positives of having such a talented pool to select from is that it creates natural competition, not only for spots in the Rugby Championship squad but also the matchday 23. That competition should remove any feelings of complacency within our playing group."

Hansen hopes to recapture the Bledisloe Cup from the Kangaroos.

“After the Rugby World Cup, this is the most important trophy we play for.  We lost to Australia the last time we played them, so no doubt they'll have a lot of self-confidence and are worthy of starting as favorites."

Hansen said the squad was looking forward to the support from fans around the world, but particularly the fans at home for the domestic tests in Auckland, Wellington and the first-ever test in Nelson.

The 33-strong squad is as follows:

Forwards:

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Codie Taylor

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Tim Perry

Karl Tu’inukuafe

Ofa Tuungafasi

Scott Barrett

Brodie Retallick

Samuel Whitelock

Same Cane

Shannon Frizell

Jackson Hemopo

Kieran Read

Ardie Savea

Liam Squire

Luke Whitelock

Backs:

TJ Perenara

Aaron Smith

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi

Beauden Barrett

Damian McKenzie

Richie Mo’unga

Ryan Crotty

Jack Goodhue

Anton Lienert-Brown

Sonny Bill Williams

Jordie Barrett

Rieko Ioane

Nehe Milner-Skudder

Waisake Naholo

Ben Smith

 

Injury cover:

Liam Coltman

Ngani Laumape