All Blacks name formidable 33-man squad for Rugby World Cup

All Blacks name formidable 33-man squad for Rugby World Cup

The All Blacks have named a strong 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in France, where the side will be hunting for a fourth title.

There are few surprises in the squad as Sam Cane continues as captain for the tournament in France. The biggest omission comes in the loose forwards where Samipeni Finau was expected to make the cut. Instead head coach Ian Foster opted for an extra outside back in Caleb Clarke.

Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali'i, Luke Jacobson and Shannon Frizzell all join Cane as back-row selections whilst in the second-row Brodie Retallick's injury may not be as bad as feared after being named as one of four locks. Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett and Tupou Vaa'i complete a competitive group in the second-row.

The All Blacks have opted to take six props which includes rewarding the rise of Tamaiti Williams who is named alongside Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Fletcher Newell and Ethan de Groot. Whilst Codie Taylor, Dane Coles and Samisoni Taukei'aho make up a strong hooker trio.

In the backline, Clarke is joined by several superstars including Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga'anuku and Mark Telea. Emoni Narawa is rewarded for his big year in 2023.

David Havili is named in the squad despite being sidelined with an injury of late. Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane and the experienced Anton Lienert-Brown complete the midfield options.

Last weekend's hero Richie Mo'unga is named alongside Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett as fly-half options with veteran Aaron Smith, Finlay Christie and Cam Roigard as scrum-half replacements.

The All Blacks play their next Test against the Springboks at Twickenham on August 25 before opening the World Cup with a mouth-watering clash against France.

Foster is looking forward to the tournament and feels the squad is a good balance between youth and experience.

"It's a great privilege to both select and be selected for an All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad," said head coach Ian Foster.

"We congratulate those 33 players selected. This group has grown in belief and is highly motivated to represent our country with pride in France, as we seek to be the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup four times.

"This year's Rugby World Cup promises to be the most competitive yet and the pool draw means we have to ready right from the outset. We have worked hard through the first part of our season and have made some strong progress through the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe series. There is more growth to come and more is needed.

"This is a vastly experienced team but with over half the players going to their first RWC, it has a strong balance of youth and future planning.

"The challenge is to continue our growth through the game in London vs South Africa, into our camp in Germany before arriving in Lyon with a clear focus on performance in each of our pool games."

All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad

Hookers: Codie Taylor, Dane Coles, Samisoni Taukei'aho

Front-row: Ethan de Groot, Fletcher Newell, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Tamaiti Williams, Tyrel Lomax

Second-row: Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Tupou Vaa'i

Back-row: Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali'i, Luke Jacobson, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizzell

Scrum-halves: Aaron Smith, Finlay Christie, Cam Roigard

Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga

Centres: Jordie Barrett, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown:

Outside backs: Caleb Clarke, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Will Jordan, Emoni Narawa, Mark Telea

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