All Blacks squad 2012 annouced: Piri Weepu in, no room for Andy Ellis
Sunday 3 Jun 2012 10:07 a.m.
Blues halfback Piri Weepu, fighting his way back to fitness and form after last year's Rugby World Cup, has made the 30-strong All Blacks squad for the three-Test series against Ireland.
The squad features seven new caps, including three players from the well-performing Chiefs forward pack: Hawke's Bay prop Ben Tameifuna, Bay of Plenty loose forward Sam Cane and Bay of Plenty lock Brodie Retallick.
Crusaders and Canterbury lock Luke Romano is also a new cap in the forwards.
The new caps in the backs are talented Manawatu and Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, and the exciting Hurricanes duo of Taranaki's Beauden Barrett and Wellington's Julian Savea.
All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford, Ben Smith, Julian Savea, Tamati Ellison, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Sam Cane, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Adam Thomson, Victor Vito, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Ben Tameifuna, Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu.
Hika Elliott comes into the squad as injury cover for Mealamu, who is recovering from a calf injury.
The first Test is in Auckland on June 9.