Five new faces in All Blacks squad

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has selected five new caps in his initial 41-strong squad announced in Auckland on Sunday.

Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor is joined by Hurricanes duo lock James Broadhurst and fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder and Highlanders pair five-eighth Lima Sopoaga and winger Waisake Naholo.

Hansen will draw from the squad for five Tests: Samoa on July 8, the shortened Rugby Championship and an additional Test against Australia.

Then 31 will be named on August 30 for the World Cup in England later this year.

Hansen has largely kept faith with the all-conquering group who have lost just two of 49 Tests since the start of the victorious 2011 World Cup.

Crusaders and Canterbury prop Nepo Laulala has been named as an injury replacement for Charlie Faumuina, who has a neck injury, but is expected to return to rugby near the end of the Rugby Championship.

Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis, who has played 26 Tests for the All Blacks, has also been named as a replacement player for Tawera Kerr-Barlow until he is ready to return to international duty from injury.

Players not considered due to injury were halfback Augustine Pulu, five-eighth Aaron Cruden, hooker Nathan Harris, loose forward Stephen Luatua and lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

The squad is made up of 22 forwards and 19 backs, and will again be captained by Richie McCaw.

Backs: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Charles Piutau, Cory Jane, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (capt), Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Matt Todd, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Luke Romano, James Broadhurst, Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Hika Elliot.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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