Sport | All Blacks

All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad named

Head coach Ian Foster has named both youth and experience in his 33-strong Rugby World Cup squad seeking to win back the Webb Ellis Trophy in France beginning next month.

Making the announcement at Taradale in Napier, where the All Blacks are based for the week, Foster said it was important to bring something special to a region hit hard by severe weather in 2023.

“I know it doesn’t do much for the hardship and the challenges that you have had and the challenges that you have going forward. But please take it as a token that you are very much in our thoughts and prayers.”

The All Blacks have had an impressive start to the 2023 season, dispatching three southern hemisphere rivals, including defending world champions South Africa, with apparent ease.

Importantly, key players including Ardie Savea, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Richie Mo’uga and Jordie Barrett have been in good form, while the likes of Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizzell and Mark Telea have all but cemented their places in the top 23. Rookies, including giant prop Tamaiti Williams, halfback Cam Roigard and winger Emoni Narawa have impressed the selectors enough to go to their first Rugby World Cup.

“It’s a great privilege to both select and be selected for an All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad, Foster said.

The tournament will mark the end of the international careers of some of the greatest players to wear the black jersey, including Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Dane Coles (Ngāti Porou), while more than half will be appearing at their first world cup.

Foster says the team has grown in belief and is highly motivated to become the first country to win four world cups.

“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 Lyons, with a clear focus on performance in each of our pool games.”

The All Blacks will have an open training in Hawke’s Bay later this week and participate in community events while in the region, including at Tangoio marae, which was hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle in February.

The squad is below:

Meanwhile, Te Aitanga a Māhaki and Rongowhakaata halfback, Ereatara Enari has been named in the Manu Samoa team that will compete in Pool D against England, Japan, Argentina and Chile. Enari played four seasons with the Crusaders before signing with Moana Pasifika, representing his Samoan whakapapa back to the villages of Vaiala and Nofoali’i.

Public Interest Journalism