WELLINGTON – The All Blacks named uncapped flanker Dalton Papalii on Monday in a 32-man squad for a Test against Australia in Japan and their tour involving matches against England, Ireland and Italy.
Papalii, who turned 21 last week, the only newcomer in the squad, gets his chance after Sam Cane fractured a vertebra in the All Blacks' win over South Africa earlier this month.
The young openside signed for Auckland this year and has enjoyed a strong domestic season, leading the competition tackle count with his team top of the ladder.
“He has played outstanding rugby this year and deserves his opportunity,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.
The squad also included the return of a number of senior players, including hooker Dane Coles, lock Brodie Retallick, loose forward Liam Squire and prop Joe Moody.
The All Blacks will face Australia in Yokohama on October 27, England at Twickenham on November 10, Ireland in Dublin on November 17 and Italy in Rome on November 24.
Hansen also named a 19-man squad to gather ahead of the Test against Japan in Tokyo on November 3, a week after the match against the Wallabies.
“Having the extra group come to Japan will allow us to send the bulk of our main squad to London early to acclimatise,” he said.
The squad for the Japan Test includes seven uncapped players and Hansen said it was an opportunity to build depth and knowledge of Japan ahead of next year's World Cup.
“We'll also be using the Japanese leg of our Tour to road test a few things ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup, as we will be using the same hotels and training facilities while we are there,” he said.
The New Zealand squad for Australia, England, Ireland and Italy Tests is:
Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Vaea Fifita, Dalton Papalii, Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd.
TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith.
Additional squad for the Japan Test:
Asafo Aumua, Liam Coltman, Tyrel Lomax, Reuben O'Neill, Tim Perry, Angus Ta'avao, Luke Romano, Jackson Hemopo, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Luke Whitelock.
Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall, Brett Cameron, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, George Bridge, David Havili, Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)