All Blacks name 2015 Rugby World Cup squad

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named his All Black squad that contest
the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

The All Blacks squad will be captained by Richie McCaw features 17 forwards
and 14 backs.

There was no space in the squad for Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau and Lima Sapoaga but Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo were included.

The breakdown of the squad is as follows : three hookers, five props, three
locks, six loose forwards, three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders
and four outside backs. Seventeen players will be playing in their first Rugby
World Cup tournament.

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 squad has an average age of 28.

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.”

New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards:

Hookers
Dane Coles (Wellington, 30 Tests)
Keven Mealamu (Auckland, 126 Tests)
Codie Taylor (Canterbury, three Tests)

Props
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)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (Bay of Plenty, 41 Tests)
Luke Romano (Canterbury, 20 Tests)
Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, 66 Tests)

Loose forwards
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)

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