Ireland tour of New Zealand
Seven new faces in All Blacks squad
ESPN Staff
June 3, 2012
Steve Hansen is unveiled as All Blacks head coach, All Blacks media session, Wellington, New Zealand, December 16, 2011
Steve Hansen has chosen seven uncapped players in his squad for the Test series against Ireland © Getty Images
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All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has named seven new faces in his squad for the Three-test series against Ireland.

Richie McCaw will captain a squad that features four new faces in the forwards and three in the backs.

In the pack back-rower Sam Cane, second rows Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick and prop Ben Tameifuna all join the squad for the first time. In the backs scrum-half Aaron Smith, fly-half Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea are rewarded for impressive performances in Super Rugby this year.

"It's always a proud moment for any rugby player to be named in the All Blacks, but the first time is particularly special," Hansen said. "We have selected a really balanced squad of experienced players who have played with distinction over a number of Tests, and a group of young players with huge potential. The two wider training group camps we held over the last two weeks really helped us establish the selection of the squad and lay the groundwork ahead of the first Test. There's been a real energy, professionalism and excitement coming from all the players involved."

The squad contains a host of players who helped New Zealand win the World Cup last year. Keiran Read, Sam Whitelock and Keven Mealamu return to the pack, while in the backs Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg all started the final.

New Zealand play Ireland in Auckland on June 9, Canterbury on June 16 and Hamilton on June 23.

Squad: Forwards: Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Ben Tameifuna, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams, Sam Cane, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito

Backs: Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Daniel Carter, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Tamati Ellison, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Ben Smith, Julian Savea

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