WELLINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Luke Whitelock has emulated older brothers Sam and George by becoming an All Black after the Canterbury loose forward was selected on Sunday for New Zealand's northern hemisphere tour in November.
Winger Frank Halai, prop Joe Moody and lock Dominic Bird have also been named in the side after having extended training squad roles with the team this year.
Uncapped scrumhalf TJ Perenara and lock Luke Romano have also returned to the squad after they were both ruled out earlier this year with injuries.
Wellington loose forward Ardie Savea, the younger brother of winger Julian, has been included as an 'apprentice' player for the tour to get a taste of the All Blacks environment, coach Steve Hansen said.
"We are continuing the scheme we started with the younger hookers who came into camp earlier this year, and, like them, the aim of the initiative is to give him exposure to all aspects of the All Blacks environment," Hansen said in a statement.
The All Blacks have already said they will split the squad for the first week to give younger players an opportunity to prove their worth in the buildup to their first non-World Cup test against Japan on Nov. 2.
Nine senior players, expected to include captain Richie McCaw and injured flyhalf Daniel Carter, will fly directly to Paris to prepare for the match against France on Nov. 9 with the rest of the squad joining them after the Tokyo clash.
"The aim of the tour is to further develop our game structures, our skills sets and our individual players," Hansen said.
"We will be looking to use the tour to take ourselves beyond where we are at the moment."
After going through their test season unbeaten so far, the third match on the schedule against England will hold special significance for Hansen and the team.
Last December, a fired-up England side destroyed the All Blacks 38-21 in their final match of the season at Twickenham.
Hansen said the defeat, while leaving a bitter taste in ther mouths, would only serve as motivation for the world champions, who are now on another 10-match winning streak.
The final game of the tour is against Ireland in Dublin on Nov. 16. New Zealand will then host England next June in a three-match series.
New Zealand squad:
Forwards - Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Joe Moody, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Luke Whitelock
Backs - Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Dan Carter, Tom Taylor, Ma'a Nonu, Ryan Crotty, Francis Saili, Israel Dagg, Frank Halai, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
- Sports & Recreation
- Luke Whitelock
- Luke Romano
- Steve Hansen
- All Black
- Dominic Bird