New faces in All Blacks squad

Waikato pair Sosene Anesi and Sitiveni Sivivatu are two of five new faces named in the New Zealand squad to face Fiji next week as the All Blacks continue their build-up to the Test series against the British & Irish Lions. [more]

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Waikato pair Sosene Anesi and Sitiveni Sivivatu are two of five new faces named in the New Zealand squad to face Fiji next week as the All Blacks continue their build-up to the Test series against the British & Irish Lions.

Joining the Waikato duo, who shone in Friday’s All Blacks trial, are 22-year-old lock James Ryan from the Otago, Auckland hooker Derren Witcombe and Canterbury prop Campbell Johnstone, who also performed well in the trial for the Probables.

As expected scrum-half Justin Marshall returns after being rested from last season’s end of year tour to Europe along with five of his Canterbury team-mates – Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Chris Jack, Aaron Mauger, Greg Somerville – who also did not play in yesterday’s trial after playing in the Super 12 final last weekend for the Crusaders.

One Canterbury name missing in the 23-man squad however was veteran fly-half Andrew Mehrtens, while Auckland’s Joe Rokocoko is with the New Zealand Sevens squad in London.

Fly-half Nick Evans, who played for the losing Probables team in the trial, also missed out.

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All Blacks coach Graham Henry has named 23 players to provide additional cover in the backs for incumbent full-back Mils Muliaina, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

While not included in the squad, flanker Sione Lauaki will train with the team in the coming week, and injured hooker Anton Oliver will continue his recovery from a calf tear in the All Blacks camp.

Not considered because of their involvement with the New Zealand Maori squad to play the Lions on Saturday were Jono Gibbes, Carl Hayman, Marty Holah and Corey Flynn.

New Zealand squad to face Fiji: Sosene Anesi, Dan Carter, Jerry Collins, Doug Howlett, Chris Jack, Byron Kelleher, Richie McCaw, Justin Marshall, Aaron Mauger, Keven Mealamu, Mils Muliaina, Ma’a Nonu, James Ryan, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Conrad Smith, Greg Somerville, Rodney So’oialo, Campbell Johnstone, Mose Tuiali’i, Tana Umaga (Captain), Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock, Derren Witcombe.

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