Taine Randell will lead a new look All Blacks rugby squad in next month’s three-test tour of Europe.
Taine Randell will lead a new look All Blacks rugby squad in next month’s three-test tour of Europe. With this year’s captain Reuben Thorne unavailable through injury, Randall returns to lead a squad that includes 12 uncapped players, including 10 brand new All Blacks for a tour, that comprises tests against England (Nov 9), France (Nov 16) and Wales (Nov 23). Of the 14 forwards in the squad, nine have not played a test. Mitchell relies on the backline for experience with Wellington trio, centre Tana Umaga, fullback Christian Cullen and winger Jonah Lomu, joined by Canterbury fly-half Andrew Mehrtens on the flight to the northern hemisphere.
Coach John Mitchell has opted to rest several members of this year’s Tri-Nations-winning squad, mainly from Canterbury whil;e those not available through in jury include, Cantabrians Greg Feek, Corey Flynn, Mark Hammett, Dave Hewett, Chris Jack, Leon MacDonald, Justin Marshall, Aaron Mauger, Norm Maxwell, Richard McCaw, Caleb Ralph, Scott Robertson, Greg Somerville and Reuben Thorne as well as Otago’s Tony Brown, Byron Kelleher, Simon Maling, Tom Willis and Anton Oliver, Wellington’s Jerry Collins and Auckland’s Ron Cribb.
In all there are 16 changes from the 26-man squad Mitchell named in May for the early-season tests against Italy, Ireland and Fiji, followed by the Tri-Nations clashes against Australia and South Africa.
Backs: Christian Cullen, Ben Blair, Doug Howlett, Jonah Lomu, Tana Umaga (vice-captain), Mark Robinson, Regan King, Keith Lowen, Carlos Spencer, Andrew Mehrtens, Steve Devine, Danny Lee.
Forwards: Taine Randell (captain), Rodney So’oialo, Marty Holah, Daniel Braid, Sam Broomhall, Bradley Mika, Keith Robinson, Ali Williams, Kees Meeuws, Carl Hayman, Joe McDonnell, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore.