7 new caps in All Blacks squad

 New Zealand's Scott Waldrom, right, is tackled by Australia's Sean Hardman, back, and Richard Brown during the Pacific Nations Cup match in Sydney, o...

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New Zealand's Scott Waldrom, right, is tackled by Australia's Sean Hardman, back, and Richard Brown during the Pacific Nations Cup match in Sydney, o...

Two uncapped understudies to captain Richie McCaw were among seven new caps named Sunday in a 35-man New Zealand rugby squad to play tests against Australia and Britain's four home unions.
Flankers Liam Messam and Scott Waldrom have been chosen to provide backup for McCaw in the All Blacks team which will play five tests and a midweek match against the Irish club Munster between Nov. 1 and Nov. 29.
The squad leaves New Zealand on Monday for Hong Kong where it will play the Wallabies in a sold-out Bledisloe Cup test on Saturday, the first test between the teams at a neutral venue outside a World Cup.
The All Blacks then travel to Britain for tests against Scotland on Nov. 8, Ireland on Nov. 15, Wales on Nov. 22 and England on Nov. 29.
A Nov. 18 match against Munster will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the club's 12-0 win over the 1978 All Blacks, the first New Zealand team to complete a "grand slam" of wins over the four home unions.
The other new caps in the New Zealand squad are props Ben Franks and Jamie Mackintosh, Canterbury loose forward Kieran Read, Wellington winger Hosea Gear and fullback Cory Jane.
"We believe it's a very talented team," said coach Graham Henry who guided the All Blacks to their second grand slam of test wins in Britain in 2005.
"We feel we have got the right balance with a nucleus of experienced All Blacks as well as seven new caps who have shown their class in the Super 14 and the Air New Zealand Cup for what will be the most demanding test match tour schedule faced by an All Blacks team in the professional era."
Read, from McCaw's Canterbury province, finally won an All Blacks callup after missing selection, when regarded as a certainty, at the start of last season.
Gear was the leading try-scorer in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship which concluded Saturday with Canterbury's 7-6 win over Wellington. Jane and Gear were members of an effective Wellington backline whose form has been additionally recognized with the selections of Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu and Piri Weepu.
Jane's selection comes in the absence of veteran fullback Leon MacDonald, who was unavailable for medical reasons after suffering a severe concussion last season. Halfback Brendon Leonard was the only other leading player not considered because of injury.
Lock Jason Eaton, winger Joe Rokocoko, hooker Corey Flynn and lock Ross Filipo won recalls to the All Blacks squad after varying absences. Flynn last played for New Zealand in 2004, while Rokocoko and Eaton lost their places last year after injuries. Filipo returns after playing his most recent test in June, 2007.
New Zealand squad: Backs: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Hosea Gear, Anthony Tuitavake, Richard Kahui, Conrad Smith, Isaia Toeava, Ma'a Nonu, Daniel Carter, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis. Forwards: Rodney So'oialo, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Scott Waldrom, Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Jason Eaton, Ross Filipo, Tony Woodcock, John Afoa, Neemia Tialata, Jamie Mackintosh, Ben Franks, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Corey Flynn.

Updated : 2021-03-05 00:14 GMT+08:00