Bus in the Garage

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Julian Savea would need a big game coming off the bench against the Lions in the semi-final. The risk was that he needed it to make sure that he was in the squad for the Rugby Championship (‘Parking the Bus’ post – July 29th).

Obviously he didn’t do enough as he has been left out of the 33 man squad by Steve Hansen.

The ‘Bus’ has scored 46 tries in just 54 tests, is only 26 and is second in try scoring to Doug Howlett. Everyone had expected him to be the first All Black to 50 tries.


All Blacks squad

Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith

Replacement player: Damian McKenzie

Damian McKenzie has been named as a replacement player for vice-captain Ben Smith, who will start his six-month sabbatical after the second Bledisloe Test on August 26 in Dunedin.

As they have done previously, the All Blacks have also named an apprentice for the campaign, with 22-year-old Chiefs and former New Zealand under-20s prop Atu Moli called into the squad for their home Tests.

SBW is in, having been cleared to play after his ban, but open side Matt Todd is unlucky to miss out

Savea, New Zealand’s equal second highest tryscorer of all time with 46, was left out of the All Blacks’ side for the opening two Tests against the British and Irish Lions in June, before starting the third Test on the left wing.

Hansen has said that it is possible that Savea will wear the black shirt again, but the Bus will have stiff competition.


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