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All Blacks name squad for Rugby Championship

Ritchie McCaw will lead a powerful All Black squad into the Rugby Championship as the New Zealand team gears up for the Rugby World Cup which will take place later this year.

Ritchie Mccaw's's team are on track to defend the World Cup in 2015

Ritchie Mccaw’s’s team are on track to defend the World Cup in 2015

The key feature of the 41 man strong squad is the selection of five new All Blacks: Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor, Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst, Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo; and Hurricanes  fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder.

The full squad is as follows: (with Super Rugby and provincial teams and Test caps. * indicates a new All Black).

Forwards:
Hookers

Dane Coles – Hurricanes / Wellington (27)
Hikawera Elliot – Chiefs / Poverty Bay (3)
Keven Mealamu – Blues / Auckland (123)
Codie Taylor – Crusaders / Canterbury *

Props
Wyatt Crockett – Crusaders / Canterbury (27)
Charlie Faumuina – Blues / Auckland (20)
Ben Franks – Hurricanes / Hawke’s Bay (31)
Owen Franks – Crusaders / Canterbury (57)
Joe Moody – Crusaders / Canterbury (8)
Tony Woodcock – Blues /North Harbour (110)

Locks
James Broadhurst – Hurricanes / Taranaki *
Brodie Retallick – Chiefs / Bay of Plenty (36)
Luke Romano – Crusaders / Canterbury (17)
Jeremy Thrush – Hurricanes / Wellington (11)
Samuel Whitelock – Crusaders / Canterbury (62)

Loose forwards
Sam Cane – Chiefs / Bay of Plenty (22)
Jerome Kaino – Blues /Auckland (56)
Richie McCaw (captain) – Crusaders / Canterbury (137)
Liam Messam – Chiefs / Waikato (40)
Kieran Read – Crusaders / Canterbury (72)
Matt Todd – Crusaders / Canterbury (2)
Victor Vito – Hurricanes / Wellington (26)

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Backs:
Scrumhalves
Tawera Kerr-Barlow – Chiefs / Waikato (15)
TJ Perenara – Hurricanes / Wellington (11)
Aaron Smith – Highlanders / Manawatu (38)

Flyhalves
Beauden Barrett – Hurricanes / Taranaki (28)
Daniel Carter – Crusaders / Canterbury (102)
Colin Slade – Crusaders /Canterbury (17)
Lima Sopoaga – Highlanders / Southland *

Midfielders
Ryan Crotty – Crusaders / Canterbury (13)
Malakai Fekitoa – Highlanders / Auckland (8)
Ma’a Nonu – Hurricanes / Wellington (94)
Conrad Smith – Hurricanes / Wellington (85)
Sonny Bill Williams – Chiefs / Counties Manukau (23)

Outside backs
Israel Dagg – Crusaders /Hawke’s Bay (46)
Cory Jane – Hurricanes / Wellington (48)
Nehe Milner-Skudder – Hurricanes / Manawatu *
Waisake Naholo – Highlanders / Taranaki *
Charles Piutau – Blues /Auckland (14)
Julian Savea – Hurricanes / Wellington (33)
Ben Smith – Highlanders / Otago (38)

Players not considered for selection due to injury were scrumhalf Augustine Pulu, flyhalf Aaron Cruden, hooker Nathan Harris, loose forward Stephen Luatua and lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

All New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams are represented with 5 Highlanders players, 13 Crusaders, 12 Hurricanes, six Chiefs and five Blues.

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