Brodie Retallick ABs’ World Cup debutants

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The All Blacks’ 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

More than half of the All Blacks chosen to defend the Rugby World Cup in Japan will be heading to their first World Cup tournament. 

Of the 31 players named at Eden Park on Wednesday, 19 have never played at a World Cup before.

There were two major surprises with the omissions of tighthead prop Owen Franks, a winner in 2011 and 2015, and Liam Squire, who remains on standby should any loose forwards go down injured.

Brodie Retallick The All Blacks named their World Cup squad on Wednesday.

PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks named their World Cup squad on Wednesday.

The two bolters are prop Atu Moli and loose forward Luke Jacobson but also among those steeling for their first World Cup are 44-test midfielder Ryan Crotty and 20-test loose forward Matt Todd. Both made their test debuts in 2013.

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Another of the relative newcomers is tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao. He was aiming to crack test rugby with the Wallabies when he joined the Waratahs in 2016, but he would return to New Zealand and emerge as an All Black after a rapid rise last year. 

Some booked their tickets to Japan with standout displays when the All Blacks crushed Australia 36-0 to retain the Bledisloe Cup almost two weeks ago.

Here are profiles for all 19 All Blacks set for World Cup debuts when the tournament begins in Japan. The All Blacks start their campaign against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21 and they host Tonga in their final warm-up game in Hamilton on September 7.

The remaining 12 All Blacks were all World Cup winners in 2015: Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Joe Moody, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Codie Taylor, Sam Whitelock, Sonny Bill Williams.

Brodie Retallick FORWARDS

Liam Coltman

Brodie Retallick Liam Coltman is the third hooker and has played less than 80 minutes of test rugny.

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Liam Coltman is the third hooker and has played less than 80 minutes of test rugny.

Age:26
Born:New Plymouth 
Position: Hooker
Super Rugby:Highlanders 
Province:Otago 
Test debut:2016 
Caps: Five

The third choice hooker behind incumbents Dane Coles and Codie Taylor is unlikely to feature much in Japan. He has played less than 80 minutes of test rugby in his five appearances off the bench but got the nod ahead of Asafo Aumua and Nathan Harris.

Nepo Laulala

Brodie Retallick Nepo Laulala is selected as a tighthead prop after Owen Franks missed out.

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Nepo Laulala is selected as a tighthead prop after Owen Franks missed out.

​Age:27
Born:Moto’otua, Samoa
Position:Prop
Super Rugby: Chiefs
Province: Counties Manukau 
Test debut: 2015 
Caps: 19

The tighthead could start the World Cup opener after a strong display when the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup. He has become a regular in the squad in recent years after successfully overcoming a horror knee injury suffered in 2016.

Atu Moli

Brodie Retallick Prop Atu Moli was one of the bolters in the squad.

Hannah Peters

Prop Atu Moli was one of the bolters in the squad.

Age: 24
Born:Gisborne
Position: Prop
Super Rugby: Chiefs
Province: Tasman
Test debut: 2019
Caps:2

Capable at tighthead and loosehead and highly rated, his return this season after a nightmare leg injury suffered last year was seamless and he made his test debut in Argentina last month. He captained New Zealand’s under-20s to a world title in 2015.

Angus Ta’avao

Brodie Retallick Angus Ta'avao's first crack at test rugby was initially hoped to be with the Wallabies.

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Angus Ta’avao’s first crack at test rugby was initially hoped to be with the Wallabies.

Age: 29
Born: Auckland
Position: Prop
Super Rugby: Chiefs
Province: Taranaki
Test debut: 2018
Caps: 7

Developed into one of the country’s best tightheads after not having a full-time contract at the start of last year’s Super Rugby. He has played in all four tests this year and the former Waratahs prop, who returned to New Zealand in 2017 with Taranaki, could well have been a Wallaby had he stayed in Australia.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Brodie Retallick Ofa Tu'ungafasi can play either side of the front row and has featured regularly since his test debut in 2016.

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Ofa Tu’ungafasi can play either side of the front row and has featured regularly since his test debut in 2016.

Age: 27
Born: Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Position: Prop
Super Rugby: Blues
Province: Auckland
Test debut: 2016
Caps:29

Adept on both sides of the front row and a regular since his debut against Wales, he has played most of his test rugby off the bench but for four starts (three at loosehead and one at tighthead). Alongside Sonny Bill William’s mother, he converted to Islam after March’s Christchurch terror attack.

Scott Barrett 

Brodie Retallick Scott Barrett will be available for the World Cup after his red card in Perth.

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Scott Barrett will be available for the World Cup after his red card in Perth.

Age: 25
Born: New Plymouth
Position: Lock
Super Rugby: Crusaders
Province: Taranaki
Test debut: 2016
Caps: 30

One of three Barrett brothers in the squad, he will be free to play in Japan after becoming the fourth All Black to be sent off in the Perth pummelling against the Wallabies in the first Bledisloe test. He scored on his test debut in the historic loss to Ireland in Chicago and has played almost every test since.

Patrick Tuipulotu

Brodie Retallick Patrick Tuipulotu had one of his better tests when the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup.

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Patrick Tuipulotu had one of his better tests when the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup.

Age: 26
Born:Christchurch
Position: Lock
Super Rugby: Blues
Province: Auckland
Test debut: 2014
Caps: 24

Played arguably his best game for the All Blacks when they retained the Bledisloe Cup and booked his ticket to Japan. His test debut was more than five years ago and while not always living up to his potential, he could play a vital role in Brodie Retallick’s absence. 

Luke Jacobson

Brodie Retallick Luke Jacobson was the surprise selection after only making his test debut last month.

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Luke Jacobson was the surprise selection after only making his test debut last month.

Age: 22
Born: Te Awamutu
Position: Loose forward
Super Rugby: Chiefs
Province: Waikato
Test debut: 2019
Caps: 1

The surprise selection after Liam Squire’s omission, he is highly thought of and makes the squad with only 23 minutes of test rugby under his belt after his debut in Argentina last month. Confident his concussion issues are behind him, he can play across the back row and was the last captain to lead New Zealand’s under-20s to a world title in 2017.

Ardie Savea

Brodie Retallick Ardie Savea has been one of the world's best No 7s in the last year.

PHOTOSPORT

Ardie Savea has been one of the world’s best No 7s in the last year.

Age: 25
Born:Wellington
Position: Loose forward
Super Rugby: Hurricanes
Province:Wellington
Test debut: 2016
Caps:38

He was sensational in Super Rugby and has come on leaps and bounds in the test arena since last year. After Sam Cane’s neck injury last October, he had an opportunity for a longer streak of starts for the All Blacks and has become one of the world’s best and most dynamic loose

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