All Blacks drop five players for Wallabies tests

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 31 July 2019, 10:18AM
The All Blacks perform the haka before the test against the Springboks. Photo / Getty
The All Blacks perform the haka before the test against the Springboks. Photo / Getty

The All Blacks have named a 34-man squad for the two Bledisloe Cup test matches in Perth and Auckland has been announced.

Five players have been omitted: Shannon Frizell, Dalton Papalii, Josh Ioane, Asafo Aumua and Karl Tu'inukuafe.

It will hurt their chances of making the 31-man Rugby World Cup squad to be named next month.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "Bledisloe Cup Tests are always massive Tests. We know that the Wallabies will be confident after their win over Argentina and desperate to win this first match, so we're looking forward to getting to Perth and getting into our Test preparation.

"The Bledisloe Cup is the second most important trophy for us, after the Rugby World Cup, and we're really looking forward to the next two Tests coming up. Two weeks together will give us solid preparation towards growing our game understanding and getting our execution honed, so that's exciting.

"The last time the All Blacks played in Perth was way back in 1992 (against a Western Australia side) but this will be an historic first Test for us in the city, so we're also looking forward to catching up with our fans over there."

Hansen further added that first five-eighth Ioane had also been invited to assemble with the squad to continue his development.

Meanwhile, Nepo Laulala and Sonny Bill Williams will both play for Counties Manukau in a pre-Mitre 10 Cup season game on Saturday. Laulala will then join the squad in Perth, while Williams will stay and play Counties Manukau's Mitre 10 Cup season opener on Saturday August 10, before joining the squad in Auckland for the second Bledisloe Cup Test week.

The squad is as follows:

Hookers: Dane Coles, Liam Coltman and Codie Taylor.
Props: Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao and Ofa Tuungafasi.
Locks: Scott Barrett, Jackson Hemopo, Patrick Tuipulotu and Samuel Whitelock.
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea and Matt Todd.

Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber.
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.
Midfielders: Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams.
Utility backs: Braydon Ennor and Jordie Barrett.
Outside backs: George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece and Ben Smith.

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