Ben Smith bolts into Black

Otago fullback Ben Smith has been named in the All Black squad to tour Japan and Europe next month.

Smith (23), who played wing for the Highlanders but has been a revelation at fullback for a struggling Otago team, joins team-mates Adam Thomson and Tom Donnelly in the 33-man squad.

Other new caps are Hawkes Bay winger Zac Guildford, Wellington midfield back Tamati Ellison and Bay of Plenty first five-eighth Mike Delany, a former Highlanders draft player.

The All Blacks squad also features the return of Canterbury hooker Corey Flynn, who fractured his arm on last year's Grand Slam tour, his Canterbury team-mate, halfback Andy Ellis, who suffered a rib injury on the same tour, and North Harbour lock Anthony Boric, who returned to rugby this year after a toe injury.

Players not considered for selection due to injury include: Piri Weepu (ankle); Isaia Toeava (pelvis), Lelia Masaga (shoulder), Keven Mealamu (chest), Bryn Evans (back), Richard Kahui (shoulder) and Ali Williams (Achilles).

"I would like to congratulate all those players picked, especially the new caps," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said. "The selectors were impressed by the high standard of play in the Air New Zealand Cup and that is reflected in the selection of players who have been stand-outs in the competition."

Henry said the All Blacks had two objectives for the tour.

"We want to play quality rugby that we are proud of The tour is also the opportunity for players to put their hand up when it comes to selection for the All Blacks for the future.

The All Blacks squad will assemble in Auckland for a training camp this week before flying out to Tokyo next Sunday 25 October. A public training and autograph session to raise funds for the Tsunami Relief Fund will be held at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere, on Wednesday at 11.00am.

All Blacks squad
John Afoa Auckland (20 Test caps)
Anthony Boric North Harbour (10)
Dan Carter Canterbury (62)
Jimmy Cowan Southland (28)
Wyatt Crockett Canterbury (1)
Mike Delany Bay of Plenty *
Stephen Donald Waikato (16)
Tom Donnelly Otago (1)
Jason Eaton Taranaki (13)
Andy Ellis Canterbury (11)
Tamati Ellison Wellington*
Corey Flynn Canterbury (5)
Owen Franks Canterbury (6)
Zac Guildford Hawke's Bay *
Andrew Hore Taranaki (43)
Cory Jane Wellington (8)
Jerome Kaino Auckland (22)
Tanerau Latimer Bay of Plenty (3)
Brendon Leonard Waikato (12)
Luke McAlister North Harbour (28)
Richie McCaw Canterbury (76) - captain
Liam Messam Waikato (2)
Mils Muliaina Waikato (77)
Ma'a Nonu Wellington (42)
Kieran Read Canterbury (12)
Sitiveni Sivivatu Waikato (39)
Rodney So'oialo Wellington (60)
Ben Smith Otago *
Conrad Smith Wellington (29)
Adam Thomson Otago (12)
Brad Thorn Canterbury (33)
Neemia Tialata Wellington (37)
Tony Woodcock North Harbour (58)

* denotes new cap

 

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