All Blacks: Post-Kaino era puts spotlight on Shannon Frizell

Shannon Frizell
Highlanders loose forward Shannon Frizell Photo credit: Photosport

The post-Jerome Kaino era has officially begun for the All Blacks, with the 81-test veteran of two World Cup victories not required for next month's series against France.

This week, the national side has welcomed new faces into camp, but it's not all about the names - it's their skill that's turning heads.

The new forwards are dynamic, ball runners much like second-rowers in rugby league.

Shannon Frizell is doing his best to blend into the All Blacks environment, but the 24-year-old is in there because of his standout performances for the Highlanders.

Frizell's only started three times in his debut Super Rugby season, so his call up to the big time came as a bit of a shock.

"I wasn't expecting to be here," says Frizell. "Someone say I get picked to represent New Zealand - I didn't believe it.

"I gave back the phone thinking it wasn't for me… leave."

Standing at 1.95m and 108kg Frizell is big, but he's got the ball-playing ability of a back

"He's a bit of a freak," says All Blacks fullback and Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith.

It appears this is now the prototype for the new All Blacks forward, with Frizell a similar figure to Vaea Fifita, who burst onto the international scene last year.

And then at lock there's barnstorming lock Brodie Retallick ...

Frizell's attacking prowess runs in the family - he's the younger brother of Aussie rugby league star Tyson Frizell.

"Obviously he's got some awesome skills and just a lot of natural ability, and we've seen that first hand," says Smith.

Now that Frizell's made it through his first All Blacks camp, it's time to translate that skill from the training paddock to the international stage.