The All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad is: (with province and Test caps)
Dane Coles (Wellington, 30 Tests)
Keven Mealamu (Auckland, 126 Tests)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, three Tests)
Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, 40 Tests)
Charlie Faumuina (Auckland, 27 Tests)
Ben Franks (Hawke’s Bay, 43 Tests)
Owen Franks (Canterbury, 72 Tests)
Tony Woodcock (North Harbour, 115 Tests)
Brodie Retallick (Bay of Plenty, 41 Tests)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 20 Tests)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 66 Tests)
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, 24 Tests)
Jerome Kaino (Auckland, 60 Tests)
Richie McCaw, captain (Canterbury, 142 Tests)
Liam Messam (Waikato, 42 Tests)
Kieran Read (Canterbury, 77 Tests)
Victor Vito (Wellington, 28 Tests)
Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Waikato, 15 Tests)
TJ Perenara (Wellington, 15 Tests)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, 41 Tests)
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, 30 Tests)
Daniel Carter (Canterbury, 106 Tests)
Colin Slade (Canterbury, 20 Tests)
Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland, 11 Tests)
Ma’a Nonu (Wellington, 97 Tests)
Conrad Smith (Wellington, 88 Tests)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau, 26 Tests)
Nehe Milner-Skudder (Manawatu, two Tests)
Waisake Naholo (Taranaki, one Test)
Julian Savea (Wellington, 35 Tests)
Ben Smith (Otago, 41 Tests)
The squad, captained by Richie McCaw, features 17 forwards and 14 backs with the following positional breakdown: three hookers, five props, three locks, six loose forwards, three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders and four outside backs. It will be a particularly exciting time for 17 of the All Blacks squad, who will be going to their first Rugby World Cup tournament.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The selectors would like to congratulate all those players selected for the Rugby World Cup squad. It’s a huge honour to represent your country on the international stage. It’s the pinnacle for any New Zealand rugby player and we know the players and their families will be immensely proud of what they have achieved, as are we.
“Conversely, we know that there are some players who are disappointed. We are a tight-knit family and it’s always difficult when players miss out. Those players did everything asked of them and the selections are more a reflection of the player depth that we have, and the mix of players required to effectively manage a 31-strong squad at what is a unique Tournament with a unique set of replacement player rules.
“I’m sure it won’t be the last time a lot of the players who have missed out play for the All Blacks. As we have seen in previous Rugby World Cups, anything can happen with injuries, and we want those players to be ready to step in if needed.
“To the fans I would like to say: our attitude going into this Rugby World Cup is not a case of expecting it, but one of making it happen. The Cup isn’t ours. We are not defenders; like everyone else, we are contenders. We have to earn the right to win it through world-class performances.
“In doing so, we have to do something that no-one has ever done before. But that is a hugely exciting challenge and one I believe the team will rise to. With this in mind, we believe we have selected players with the right mix of experience, x-factor, determination and mental strength. This is an exciting and talented group of players who are looking to do something that hasn’t been done before, and make New Zealanders proud.”
The squad features provincial representation from 11 of New Zealand’s ITM Cup provinces and all New Zealand’s five Investec Super Rugby clubs are represented. With 1, 484 caps spread amongst the 31-man squad, it’s a hugely experienced side, balanced with a number of newer All Blacks, with nine players having played fewer than 25 Tests. The side has an average age of 28.
The All Blacks will have a three-day camp in Wellington this week before the entire squad files around the country on Thursday 3 September for the hugely popular All Blacks to the Nation event, with the players being hosted by communities in Long Bay and Papakura in Auckland, New Plymouth, Greytown, Whakatane, Gisborne, Westport, Stoke, Dunedin and Mataura.
The squad will then reassemble in Auckland for a three-day camp on Monday 7 September before flying out to London on Thursday 10 September. Fans will get a final chance to farewell the team at a public training event at Waitakere’s Trusts Stadium the day before, Wednesday 9 September. Keep an eye on allblacks.com for further details.
Rugby World Cup 2015 – All Blacks Tests
1. Argentina (4.45PM, Sunday 20 September, Wembley Stadium, London)
2. Namibia (8.00PM, Thursday 24 September, Olympic Stadium, London)
3. Georgia (8.00PM, Friday 2 October, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)