Regional | All Blacks

Perenara returns to All Blacks squad for 2021 Rugby Championship

With their perfect Steinlager Series behind them, the All Blacks now look to the Rugby Championship.

Head coach Ian Foster has now named his 36-strong squad, and  TJ Perenara has returned to the black jersey as halfback.

The 29-year-old, of Te Arawa and Ngāti Rangitihi descent, will rejoin the All Blacks after returning from playing rugby in Japan. Perenara is following a progressive return to club and NPC rugby.

Perenara is named alongside fellow halfbacks Brad Weber (Ngāti Porou) and Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu).

Samuel Whitelock is named as captain again for the squad, as Sam Cane continues to recover from chest surgery.

“The Steinlager Series gave us a great opportunity to build some depth and experience," coach Ian Foster says. "It also enabled us to re-establish some returning players, both from overseas or from injury. The Bledisloe Cup plus the Rugby Championship are pinnacle challenges for us and remain our top priorities.

🚨 SQUAD NAMING | Our squad for the 2021 Rugby Championship 🔥 *George Bower will remain with the squad as injury cover...

Posted by All Blacks on Sunday, July 18, 2021

'Hugely competitive'

"There is real excitement in the group for these opportunities in front of us."

The All Blacks will be in a two-day camp in Christchurch before they kick off the Bledisloe Cup test series against the Wallabies at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday, August 7. The second test follows in Peth on Saturday, August 21, while the third will be back home in Wellington on Saturday, August 28.

“Our players are looking forward to spending some time at home before what is shaping up to be a hugely competitive Rugby Championship. The Bledisloe Cup Series is a great way for us to kick off this part of the season,” Foster said.

The Rugby Championship then begins as the New Zealand team goes up against Argentina, Australia and South Africa, starting with Argentina on September 11 at Eden Park.