x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Uncapped Coles and Kerr-Barlow named in New Zealand's European tour squad

Debutants Tawaera Kerr-Barlow and Dane Coles have been included in the world champions' touring party for the games against England, Wales, Italy and Scotland.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has named two uncapped players in his squad for the world champions' autumn European tour.

Scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow and hooker Dane Coles have both made Hansen's 32-man group for a schedule that features Test matches against Scotland, Italy, Wales and England.

Lock Ali Williams, meanwhile, is recalled after recovering from knee surgery, but players not considered for selection include Anthony Boric (neck), Colin Slade (leg) and Richard Kahui (shoulder).

The squad, comprising 18 forwards and 14 backs, boasts a combined cap total of 1,103 and will be led by World Cup captain Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks kick off their tour against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday week and they are due to arrive in Edinburgh this weekend.

"I would like to congratulate Tawera and Dane on their selection," Hansen said.

"They are young and exciting players and have shown this year that they look more than capable of stepping up to Test match rugby.

"Tours to the northern hemisphere always bring unique challenges, and this tour will be no different.

"For many of the newer players in the All Blacks it will be the first time they have experienced Test matches in the United Kingdom and Europe, and they are always big occasions.

"Overall, the team has been very happy with what we have achieved so far this year, but nothing has changed. We are always looking to put in performances we are proud of, and we are always looking to improve."

New Zealand, unbeaten winners of the southern hemisphere's inaugural Rugby Championship this year, also tackle Italy in Rome on November 17 before facing Wales seven days later and then England at Twickenham on December 1.

The New Zealand squad
Backs: I Dagg, H Gear, C Jane, B Smith, J Savea, T Ellison, M Nonu, C Smith, B Barrett, D Carter, A Cruden, T Kerr-Barlow, A Smith, P Weepu.
Forwards: W Crockett, C Faumuina, B Franks, O Franks, T Woodcock, D Coles, A Hore, K Mealamu, B Retallick, L Romano, S Whitelock, A Williams, S Cane, R McCaw (capt), L Messam, K Read, A Thomson, V Vito.