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Robertson reveals new All Black captain and five uncapped players

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: All Black head coach Scott Robertson has revealed his squad for the upcoming mid-year Tests.

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Scott Barrett has been named the new All Black captain, with a 32-strong squad including five uncapped players announced on Monday.

The squad selected by Robertson and his four assistant coaches Scott Hansen, Jason Holland, Leon MacDonald and Jason Ryan, will play two Tests against England in Dunedin and Auckland, and one against Fiji in San Diego.

The following players were not considered due to injury: Sam Cane, Will Jordan, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Cam Roigard.

Barrett, 30, will become the 81st man to captain the All Blacks in a Test should he add to the 69 Test caps he has earned since his debut against Ireland in 2016, and will be assisted by two vice-captains in Ardie Savea and Jordie Barrett.

“When you think of the leaders who have gone before you, it’s quite humbling to be asked to captain the All Blacks, so it’s not something I took lightly,” said Barrett.

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“It’s a big responsibility, but I have two great leaders beside me in Ardie and Jordie, and I know we’ll have the full backing of the coaches.

Robertson said his long-standing relationship with Scott Barrett was a factor in his choice of captain.

“There are some great leaders in our group, but having that existing connection to Scott was important.

“He’s tactically astute, he leads from the front, and he’s got the respect of the players and coaches. Leadership is a shared responsibility and Ardie, Jordie and our wider leadership group will be crucial to how we come together and connect ahead of the first Test against England.

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“As a coaching group, we are excited about the squad we’ve selected. We know it’s a group that can play the style of rugby we want the All Blacks to play in 2024.”

Robertson also congratulated the five uncapped players in the squad – hooker George Bell, prop Pasilio Tosi, scrumhalf Cortez Ratima, centre Billy Proctor and loose forward Wallace Sititi, who at 21 years old is the youngest player in the squad.

“It’s a proud moment for them and their families. They’ve earned their places through performance and consistency and it’s an exciting time in their careers.

“As coaches, we will get them ready so they can take their opportunity when it comes.”

The All Blacks squad will gather in Wellington for the first time on Wednesday, June 26

Blues lock Sam Darry, Hurricanes outside back Ruben Love and the Crusaders pair of prop George Bower and midfielder David Havili will also assemble with the squad as cover.

All Black squad:

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Codie Taylor, George Bell, Ethan De Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Fletcher Newell, Pasilio Tosi, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett (captain), Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ethan Blackadder, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea, Wallace Sititi.

Backs: Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara, Cortez Ratima, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Billy Proctor, Caleb Clarke, Emoni Narawa, Stephen Perofeta, Sevu Reece, Mark Tele’a.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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