Lauaki and Ellis named in All Blacks' RWC squad
NZPA
July 22, 2007

Bustling No 8 Sione Lauaki and halfback Andrew Ellis have been included in the All Blacks squad named today to contest the sixth rugby World Cup in France.

Flanker Richie McCaw will captain the squad which comprises 15 forwards and 14 backs, with one additional player to be named before the International Rugby Board deadline on August 14.

That position will be filled by veteran Canterbury prop Greg Somerville if he can prove his fitness after a long period recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.

The squad features two players who will attend their third World Cup -- halfback Byron Kelleher and flanker Reuben Thorne.

However, the biggest talking points are the return of Lauaki and Ellis, who take the places of lock Troy Flavell and halfback Piri Weepu from the team who won the Tri-Nations with last night's 26-12 victory over Australia at Eden Park.

If selected, 55-test veteran Somerville will take the place of one-test Wellington prop John Schwalger.

Somerville's selection would mean exactly half of the players were involved in the 2003 tournament where New Zealand were eliminated by Australia in the semifinal.

Lauaki has played seven tests, the last nearly two years ago against Scotland in Edinburgh when the All Blacks won the Grand Slam.

Injury and selection preference has kept him out since, despite some powerful form at domestic level.

He was unavailable for the Tri-Nations after undergoing an operation on both his knees but played for the Junior All Blacks in the latter part of the Pacific Nations Cup tournament last month.

Ellis played on last November's tour to Europe and comes in for Weepu, who coach Graham Henry said was out of form.

The Canterbury No 9 played himself into contention with some strong showings for the Junior All Blacks.

The squad otherwise contains no surprises, with coach Graham Henry naming a settled, experienced group of players.

New Zealand are seeking to end a 20-year World Cup drought since winning the inaugural tournament in 1987.

They have bowed out in either the final or semifinal stage since.

Squad: Backs: Mils Muliaina, Leon MacDonald, Doug Howlett, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister, Aaron Mauger, Daniel Carter, Nick Evans, Byron Kelleher, Brendon Leonard, Andrew Ellis. Forwards : Rodney So'oialo, Chris Masoe, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerry Collins, Sione Lauaki, Reuben Thorne, Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Keith Robinson, Carl Hayman, Neemia Tialata, Tony Woodcock, Anton Oliver, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore. One to be named

Facts for the 29 All Blacks players named today to contest the 2007 rugby World Cup. One player is to be named:

Fullbacks:

Mils Muliaina (Waikato)

Age 26. Tests 52. Height 1.84m. Weight 92kg.

Leon MacDonald (Canterbury)

Age 29. Tests 47. Height 1.81m. Weight 96kg.

Wingers:

Doug Howlett (Auckland)

Age 28. Tests 59. Height 1.85m. Weight 89kg.

Joe Rokocoko (Auckland)

Age 24. Tests 45. Height 1.89m. Weight 98kg.

Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato)

Age 25. Tests 17. Height 1.85m. Weight 97kg.

Midfield:

Conrad Smith (Wellington)

Age 25. Tests 9. Height 1.86m. Weight 95kg.

Isaia Toeava (Auckland)

Age 21. Tests 10. Height 1.81m. Weight 96kg.

Luke McAlister (North Harbour)

Age 23. Tests 18. Height 1.80m. Weight 95kg.

Aaron Mauger (Canterbury)

Age 26. Tests 42. Height 1.83m. Weight 92kg.

First five-eighth:

Daniel Carter (Canterbury)

Age 25. Tests 41. Height 1.78m. Weight 91kg.

Nick Evans (Otago)

Age 26. Tests 12. Height 1.78m. Weight 84kg.

Halfback:

Byron Kelleher (Waikato)

Age 30. Tests 54. Height 1.75m. Weight 94kg.

Brendon Leonard (Waikato)

Age 22. Tests 4. Height 1.82m. Weight 91kg.

Andrew Ellis (Canterbury)

Age 23. Tests 2. Height 1.81m. Weight 92kg.

Loose forwards:

Rodney So'oialo (Wellington)

Age 27. Tests 37. Height 1.90m. Weight 107kg.

Chris Masoe (Wellington)

Age 28. Tests 15. Height 1.83m. Weight 106kg.

Richie McCaw (Canterbury, captain)

Age 26. Tests 55. Height 1.87m. Weight 106kg.

Jerry Collins (Wellington)

Age 26. Tests 44. Height 1.90m. Weight 109kg.

Sione Lauaki (Waikato)

Age 26. Tests 7. Height 1.94m. Weight 115kg.

Reuben Thorne (Canterbury)

Age 32. Tests 48. Height 1.92m. Weight 107kg.

Locks:

Ali Williams (Auckland)

Age 26. Tests 42. Height 2.02m. Weight 112kg.

Chris Jack (Tasman)

Age 28. Tests 62. Height 2.02m. Weight 115kg.

Keith Robinson (Waikato)

Age 30. Tests 10. Height 1.98m. W eight 115kg.

Props:

Carl Hayman (Otago)

Age 27. Tests 41. Height 1.93m. Weight 120kg.

Neemia Tialata (Wellington)

Age 25. Tests 17. Height 1.87m. Weight 127kg.

Tony Woodcock (North Harbour)

Age 26. Tests 33. Height 1.84m. Weight 118kg.

One to be named

Hookers:

Anton Oliver (Otago)

Age 31. Tests 55. Height 1.84m. Weight 111kg.

Keven Mealamu (Auckland)

Age 28. Tests 47. Height 1.81m. Weight 106kg.

Andrew Hore (Taranaki)

Age 28. Tests 21. Height 1.83m. Weight 110kg.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.