All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named the first All Blacks training squad of 2014.
The squad is predictable with injuries forcing Luke Romano and Charles Piutau out. There are four hookers named with Nathan Harris and Liam Coltman making it. Other rookies include Malakai Fekitoa and Patrick Tuipulotu. It is interesting to see that there is no room for Tom Taylor, Matt Todd or Ben Tameifuna, while Victor Vito and Colin Slade get recalls.
I thought they may have gone for another openside flanker like Matt Todd or Ardie Savea, while inform halfback Andy Ellis misses the cut, mainly based on his style of play and age.
The All Blacks Training Squad 2014
- The players attending the wider training camps are as follows:
Hookers: Keven Mealamu (Blues), Nathan Harris (Chiefs), Dane Coles (Hurricanes) and Liam Coltman (Highlanders).
Props: Charlie Faumuina and Tony Woodcock (Blues), Ben Franks (Hurricanes) and Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks (Crusaders).
Locks: Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Jeremy Thrush * (Hurricanes) and Dominic Bird and Sam Whitelock (Crusaders).
Loose forwards: Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua (Blues), Sam Cane and Liam Messam (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes) and Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Luke Whitelock * (Crusaders).
Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) and Aaron Smith (Highlanders).
First five-eighths: Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) and Colin Slade (Crusaders).
Midfielders: Ma’a Nonu (Blues), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders) and Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders).
Outside backs: Cory Jane and Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Israel Dagg (Crusaders) and Ben Smith (Highlanders).
Who was lucky to make it and unlucky to miss the All Blacks training squad 2014?