Mighty McCaw and his All Black Squad for next week against Boks

Dan Carter has been left out of the 31-man All Blacks squad to play the Rugby Championship test against South Africa in Johannesburg on July 26.

Highlanders first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga has been preferred as the third No 10 behind Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade, as the All Blacks selectors look to assess all their playmakers before deciding on their Rugby World Cup squad.

Midfielder Sonny Bill Williams will also stay back in New Zealand.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had promised to give all players listed in his 41-man squad a run. Carter and Williams will be left in New Zealand to enable them to freshen-up for the two tests against the Wallabies.

“In deciding on the squad to travel to South Africa, the selectors based their selections on three criteria,” Hansen said.

“Firstly, we have picked experienced players who are well aware of the challenge of playing South Africa at home.

“Secondly, we want to give some other players the opportunity to see how they cope under the extreme pressure of playing South Africa; and thirdly, we took into consideration the fact that some players in the squad could do with having a break for various reasons, so they will be staying home to freshen up.”

Hansen said leaving Carter and Williams in New Zealand was not a question of form.

“Normally if we had a squad of 31, both of them would be in it and would be coming,” Hansen said.

“Sonny has got bit of a busy schedule so we will let him have some time at home and DC can have some time at home as well – along with the other guys.”

Other notable selections for the trip were the inclusion of Codie Taylor as the preferred third hooker ahead if Hika Elliot and James Broadhurst has been given the nod over fellow Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush.

Hansen said Elliot had a sore tricep and was not going for that reason. Nehe Milner-Skudder was left at home because he had sore ribs, Hansen said.

All Blacks selections at this stage were exploratory, Hansen said.

“No-one has jumped over anyone at the moment. We are just trying to find what is the right 31, we have got to get combinations. We have got to get versatility as well. Because once you replace them they are gone.

“We are just building on what we are trying to do as a team. With a squad of 41 if we do have to bring people in then we have had guys who have a taste of it and know what it is like and can fit in pretty easily.”


Hookers: Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu and Codie Taylor
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala and Tony Woodcock

Locks: James Broadhurst, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano and Samuel Whitelock

Loose forwards: Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read and Victor Vito

Halfbacks: Andy Ellis, TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith

First five–eighths: Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade and Lima Sopoaga

Midfielders: Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith

Outside backs: Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea and Ben Smith


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