Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
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New era: Seven uncapped All Blacks named in first squad since World Cup triumph
New Zealand will play three Tests against Wales next month.

SIX UNCAPPED PLAYERS have been named in New Zealand’s 32-man squad for their upcoming three-Test series against Wales.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, Damian McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu make up the six debutants, and the number increases to seven with Tom Franklin, who was included as one of two injury replacements.

Israel Dagg also fought his way back into the squad after the heartbreak of missing out on last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“The selectors would like to congratulate all players selected, especially the new All Blacks and those returning to the squad — they and their families can be very proud,” head coach Steve Hansen said.

“We know that there’s been a lot of interest around the selection of this first All Blacks squad of 2016, after what was a great season for us last year, and with a large group of experienced players moving on.

“Many people, including our opponents, may be thinking we’re vulnerable and are rebuilding. However, we don’t have that mindset. We, as selectors, are very confident that we have both the talent and the experience to continue enhancing the legacy of the All Blacks.”

The All Blacks begin the Test series against Wales at Eden Park on 11 June, before moving to Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 18 June and finishing it off at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 25 June.

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New Zealand squad in full: 

Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Elliot Dixon, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Charlie Ngatai, Seta Tamanivalu, Israel Dagg, Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

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