All Blacks selectors Ian Foster, Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt have named the All Blacks squad for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
The squad was announced by former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in Napier this afternoon in front almost 2000 locals who were impacted by cyclone Gabrielle, as well as first responders.
The squad features 18 forwards and 15 backs with the following positional breakdown: three hookers, six props, four locks, five loose forwards, three halfbacks, three first five-eighths, four midfielders and five outside backs.
The All Blacks will be captained by Sam Cane. Lock Samuel Whitelock will be going to his fourth tournament. Six players will be going to their third tournament, nine players will be going to their second Tournament, while 17 are going to their first.
With a combined 1493 Test caps, this is the All Blacks’ most experienced Rugby World Cup squad in history. Whitelock is the most capped player with 145 Test caps, while halfback Cam Roigard is the newest All Black with one Test cap. The side has an average age of 27.
“It’s a great privilege to both select and be selected for an All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad,” said head coach Ian Foster.
“We congratulate those 33 players selected. This group has grown in belief and is highly motivated to represent our country with pride in France, as we seek to be the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup four times.
“This year’s Rugby World Cup promises to be the most competitive yet and the pool draw means we have to ready right from the outset. We have worked hard through the first part of our season and have made some strong progress through the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe series. There is more growth to come and more is needed.
“This is a vastly experienced team but with over half the players going to their first RWC, it has a strong balance of youth and future planning.
“The challenge is to continue our growth through the game in London vs South Africa, into our camp in Germany before arriving in Lyon with a clear focus on performance in each of our pool games."
The All Blacks will stage their pre-Rugby World Cup preparations in Napier over a three-day camp. The region was hit hard by cyclone Gabrielle and the entire squad will be out in the community helping to rescue the damaged Tangoio Marae while also hosting a public training session.
The squad features provincial representation from 13 of New Zealand's Bunnings Warehouse NPC provinces and all New Zealand's five DHL Super Rugby clubs are represented.
“The support we have had for our games to date has been fantastic and we are greatly appreciative of it. By naming this team in Napier and spending three days there in the community we simply want to acknowledge the tremendous adversity the communities of the East Coast have endured recently. We have felt helpless from afar and hope this small symbol of our support will assist in some small way,” added Foster.
The All Blacks will kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against host France in Paris (Friday 8 September), then play Namibia in Toulouse (Friday 15 September), Italy in Lyon (Friday 29 September), and their final Pool match against Uruguay in Lyon (Thursday 5 October).
The 33-strong squad is as follows (with age, Super Rugby team, province and Test caps):
Dane Coles (36, Hurricanes / Wellington, 86)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 24)
Codie Taylor (32, Crusaders / Canterbury, 79)
Ethan de Groot (25, Highlanders / Southland, 16)
Tyrel Lomax (27, Hurricanes / Tasman, 26)
Nepo Laulala (31, Blues / Counties Manukau, 49)
Fletcher Newell (23, Crusaders / Canterbury, 7)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (31, Blues / Northland, 53)
Tamaiti Williams (22, Crusaders / Canterbury, 2)
Scott Barrett (29, Crusaders / Taranaki, 61)
Brodie Retallick (32, Chiefs / Hawke's Bay, 103)
Tupou Vaa’i (23, Chiefs / Taranaki, 21)
Samuel Whitelock (34, Crusaders / Canterbury, 145)
Sam Cane (31, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 89) – Captain
Shannon Frizell (29, Highlanders / Tasman, 28)
Luke Jacobson (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 14)
Dalton Papali’i (25, Blues / Counties Manukau, 25)
Ardie Savea (29, Hurricanes / Wellington, 74)
Finlay Christie (27, Blues / Tasman, 17)
Cam Roigard (22, Hurricanes / Counties Manukau, 1)
Aaron Smith (34, Highlanders / Manawatū, 118)
Beauden Barrett (32, Blues / Taranaki, 115)
Damian McKenzie (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 42)
Richie Mo'unga (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 48)
Jordie Barrett (26, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 51)
David Havili (28, Crusaders / Tasman, 25)
Rieko Ioane (26, Blues / Auckland, 62)
Anton Lienert-Brown (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 62)
Caleb Clarke (24, Blues / Auckland, 18)
Leicester Fainga’anuku (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 3)
Will Jordan (25, Crusaders / Tasman, 24)
Emoni Narawa (24, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 1)
Mark Telea (26, Blues / North Harbour, 4)