All Blacks: Crusaders flanker Ethan Blackadder follows dad Todd into black jersey

The son of a former All Blacks captain best known for his leadership and tireless work ethic is set to follow in Dad’s footsteps, as one of four new caps in the squad to take on Tonga and Fiji. 

Since making his NPC and Super Rugby debuts, Ethan Blackadder has attracted comparisons to father Todd - now he'll do it again at the highest level.

Blackadder was at his Crusaders base in Christchurch, after finding out he's now an All Black. 

"Just heard the name get read out," he said. "It was pretty buzzy."

And there's no guessing who one of the first phone calls was from.

Todd Blackadder captained the All Blacks during the 2000 season, playing 12 tests on the way to becoming one of the most iconic captains in red-and-black country.

"He said just 'well done, I’m proud of you' and all that jazz," says Ethan. "He's done it before and it's pretty cool to do it as well."

Newly appointed captain Sam Whitelock describes him as a chip off the old block. 

"He's just gone about his work," says Whitelock, who began his Crusaders career under Todd Blackadder's coaching. 

"He hasn't asked questions or anything, just got stuck in, similar to the way his father played."

Further south in Dunedin, new All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot is still coming to terms with his selection.

"I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, but I'm feeling excited," he says. 

Blues halfback Finlay Christie celebrated his selection in style, finding out while watching the announcement at the pub.

"We just went down for dinner and a couple pints, then the guy chucked it on in the pub," he says.

"I sobered up pretty quickly after the announcement though - it was a good way to do it."

The other newbie in the squad is Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea, benefiting from a lack of No. 12s, after making the switch from 13.

"Centre's not an easy one to learn when you’re a young person," says All Blacks coach Ian Foster. "I think the move to 12, with Anton [Lienert-Brown] next to him, was a positive one for him."

Four new faces are now waiting to assemble in Auckland, before pushing their case to put on the black jersey.

Join us on July 3 for live updates of the All Blacks v Tonga test