/ Rugby

New Zealand name 35-man training squad

Updated: Monday, 12 May 2014 11:49 | Comments

Patrick Tuipulotu of the Blues is tackled by Bjorn Basson of the Bulls during a Super Rugby match
Patrick Tuipulotu of the Blues is tackled by Bjorn Basson of the Bulls during a Super Rugby match

Five uncapped players were included in a 35-man New Zealand squad for two training camps in preparation for the three-Test series against England in June, which was announced on Monday.
              
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has given lock Patrick Tuipulotu, centre Malakai Fekitoa as well as hookers Nathan Harris and Liam Coltman the chance to impress in three-day training camps in Christchurch and Wellington later this month.
              
Wellington Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara is also uncapped but the 22-year-old half-back has experience of the All Blacks environment after being included in the squads for the Rugby Championship and November tours last year.
              
Tuipulotu's call-up came after second row Luke Romano was ruled out of the rest of the Super Rugby season when he  suffered a lower leg injury for the Canterbury Crusaders at the weekend.
              
At 1.98m and 121 kgs, the hulking 21-year-old Tuipulotu has proved more than a handful for Super Rugby defences in some impressive outings for the Auckland Blues this season.
              
Tongan-born centre Fekitoa, who turned 22 on Saturday, is an equally powerful threat and has scored five tries in his first 10 outings for the Otago Highlanders this season.
              
The inclusion of Waikato Chiefs rake Harris and Highlander Coltman, both former New Zealand under-20 representatives, are indications of Hansen's commitment to giving promising young talents an early taste of the national set-up.

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"With players coming from five different Super Rugby teams, it's important that we get aligned on our game plans and skill sets," Hansen said in a media release.
              
"The challenge the English bring means we will need to be at our very best as quickly as possible.
              
"The camps also give the All Blacks management time to meet and learn in greater details about some of the younger players who have been named."
              
Harris, 21, was promoted into the senior squad at the Chiefs this year after a serious injury to Hika Elliot and gets his call-up after just two Super Rugby starts.
              
The abrasive Coltman, meanwhile, has earned a reputation as a fierce competitor and one of the best tacklers in the game in his time at the Highlanders.
              
Impressive form in Super Rugby has also earned recalls for more seasoned loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito as well as flyhalf Colin Slade.
              
Hansen will name his final 31-man squad for the England series on 1 June, a week ahead of the first test against the tourists in Auckland on 7 June.
              
New Zealand training squad:
              
Forwards - Keven Mealamu, Nathan Harris, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Patrick Tuipulotu, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Whitelock.
              
Backs - Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith.
            

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