New Zealand have named seven uncapped players in their squad for the 2020 Rugby Championship.
New coach Ian Foster, assistant John Plumtree and former All Black Grant Fox have selected a 35-man group.
The newcomers are Alex Hodgman, Tupou Vaa’i, Quinten Strange, Cullen Grace, Hoskins Sotutu, Caleb Clarke and Will Jordan.
However, it remains to be seen when, where or indeed if the tournament will go ahead as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact on sport across the globe.
Argentina have confirmed six positive COVID-19 tests recently, casting significant doubt over the viability of the tournament.
Nonetheless, Foster was pleased to be able to announce his squad for whatever challenges may lie ahead this year.
Introducing four of your new All Blacks:
Tupou Vaa’i, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Hoskins Sotutu.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 6, 2020
“We’re hugely excited at the calibre of the players selected for this All Blacks squad of 2020,” he said.
“It’s been a great process working through the selections and I’ve really enjoyed working with Plums [Plumtree] as part of the new selectors group.
“Plums, Foxy and I have been as excited as everyone at the rugby we have seen in what has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone.
“The result is that we can now announce a team that is rich in experience and a little battle-hardened after the Rugby World Cup, but forward looking with the inclusion of a number of new players.
“We’re delighted with the balance of the group and we look forward to whatever the challenges of 2020 throw at us.”
Foster took charge after Steve Hansen stood down following New Zealand’s 2019 World Cup campaign, when was ended by England at the semi-final stage.
All Blacks squad:
Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Quinten Strange, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa’i, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane (capt), Shannon Frizell, Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu.
Backs: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece.
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