All Blacks: All you need to know about the 2018 end-of-year tour rookies

  • 15/10/2018
New All Black Dalton Papali'i in action for Auckland.
New All Black Dalton Papali'i in action for Auckland. Photo credit: Photosport

Eight new All Blacks have been named for the national side's northern tour to Japan and Europe, beginning against Australia in Yokohama on October 27.

Here are brief bios of the newbies:

Dalton Papali'i: Opportunity came knocking for Papali'i in 2018, as the Blues were hit by a severe injury crisis and he was given a call up.

The 21-year-old, former U20 national representative has played outstanding rugby for Auckland in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup competition, topping the tackle count.

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Auckland-raised Papalii captained the St Kentigern College First XV and led the 2015 New Zealand Secondary Schools side to a convincing win over their Aussie counterparts.

George Bridge: The impressive 23-year-old outside back has thrived in the successful environment of the Crusaders. Born in Gisborne,

Bridge moved to Christchurch six years ago to play club rugby, earning selected in the U20 national team and then Canterbury for the Mitre 10 Cup.

He had an outstanding Super Rugby debut during the Crusaders' successful 2017 campaign, named their Rookie of the Year.

He continued his form into 2018, finishing second-equal on the try-scoring list with 15 in the Crusaders' title defence.

Brett Cameron: The 21-year-old Canterbury first-five came of age in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup, giving an assured semi-final performance in just his third provincial outing for the red-and-blacks, as Canterbury marched to the Mitre 10 Cup title.

Canterbury first-five Brett Cameron.
Canterbury first-five Brett Cameron. Photo credit: Photosport

Cameron first appeared on the national radar in 2014, when he was plucked from Wanganui’s small Cullinane College and named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools training squad.

The all-round sportsman was already well known in Wanganui, having played age-grade rugby.

After school, Cameron headed south to Lincoln University and into the Canterbury provincial team, and played one match for the Crusaders this year.

Gareth Evans: Born and bred in Hawke's Bay, the 27-year-old loose forward shifted south to Otago University to study and made the Otago provincial side in 2011, aged just 20, going on to play three years for the province.

Gareth Evans in action for the Hurricanes.
Gareth Evans in action for the Hurricanes. Photo credit: Photosport

He was drafted into the Highlanders for the 2014 season, making 14 appearances in his debut year, before helping the side to their maiden Super Rugby title in 2015 and victory over the touring British & Irish Lions in 2017.

The younger brother of 2009 All Black Bryn Evans, Gareth transferred to the Hurricanes in 2018 and quickly established himself as the first-choice number eight.

Bryn Hall: The dynamic halfback's highly competitive nature and high-energy rugby makes him an asset in any team he plays for.

Twenty-six-year-old Auckland-born Hall captained his St Peter's College First XV, was co-captain of New Zealand U20 in 2012 and North Harbour provincial captain in 2015.

He spent four years with the Blues, before transferring to the Crusaders in 2017 and a championship-winning season.

all blacks forwards

 

He also earned selection in the Māori All Blacks during the 2017 New Zealand Lions Series. 

Tyrel Lomax: Lomax grew up playing rugby league in Australia, before making the switch to rugby union.

The 22-year-old prop played his first year of Super Rugby for the Melbourne Rebels in 2017, before returning to New Zealand.

He played for the Tasman Mako in that year's Mitre 10 Cup and after a solid debut season, he was selected as one of 10 new caps in the Māori All Blacks for their tour to Canada and France.

Lomax joined the Highlanders in 2018, making 15 appearances.

He played for Australian Schoolboys in 2014 and the Australian U20 side the following year. His father is former Kiwis rugby league prop John Lomax.

Reuben O’Neill: The 23-year-old Taranaki prop has overcome injury and a diabetes diagnosis early in his career to take his rugby to the next level.

O'Neill was selected in the 2012 New Zealand Secondary Schools side and then the Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup side in 2015, after successfully returning to rugby from a back injury.

all blacks to japan

He was a member of the Taranaki side that upset Canterbury for the Ranfurly Shield in 2017, alongside All Blacks teammate Angus Ta’avao.

O'Neill has continued to shore up the scrum so far this year, and his strength and power in the front row has caught the attention of the All Blacks selectors.

Matt Proctor: A standout player for both the Hurricanes and the Wellington Lions provincial side, Proctor made his Super Rugby debut in 2013 and was a part of the Hurricanes side that secured their first Super Rugby title in 2016.

Wellington's Matt Proctor.
Wellington's Matt Proctor. Photo credit: Photosport

His Super Rugby season was cut short by injury this year, but he returned to captain Wellington's 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

Proctor represented the Māori All Blacks in 10 appearances, and his representative career also includes New Zealand Secondary Schools and New Zealand U20.

He is not the only Hurricanes player in the family - younger brother Billy signing a five-year deal with the franchise this year.

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