Seven new caps in All Blacks squad

PA Sport
Steve Hansen has named seven new caps to face Ireland
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Steve Hansen has named seven new caps to face Ireland

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has drafted in seven new caps for the forthcoming Steinlager Series of three Test matches against Ireland.

Squad mainstays Richie McCaw, Conrad Smith and Dan Carter have been joined by a host of new faces and three fresh additions from a Chiefs team that are currently leading the Super Rugby league.

Prop Ben Tameifuna, lock Brodie Retallick and flanker Sam Cane are the uncapped Chiefs named in the 30-man squad. Crusaders lock Luke Romano, Highlanders half-back Aaron Smith, and Hurricanes pair Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea are the other new names.

McCaw will captain the side for the series against the Irish, which begins at Eden Park on Saturday, June 9.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen will have to do without the services of World Cup winners Cory Jane, Jerome Kaino, Isaia Tovea and Richard Kahui, who are all carrying injuries, for the series.

However, Hansen believes the uncapped players have brought much-needed enthusiasm and energy to the pre-series training camps.

He said: "We've been sitting on our hands for six months (since the World Cup win), waiting, waiting, waiting. It is great to get back on the track.

"We believe we have selected a squad that is experienced and passionate and added to that by bringing in players with raw potential and determination to succeed as All Blacks."

Hansen was flanked by selectors Grant Fox and Ian Foster for the squad announcement in Auckland. He explained the management team has three aims for the upcoming series.

He said: "We want to prepare well for each Test. Clearly, we want to win the series. We also want to introduce young All Blacks to Test rugby. We have a clear goal to recapture the World Cup in 2015."

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