Rugby: All Blacks welcome back captain Sam Cane, rookie lock Josh Lord called up for northern tour

The All Blacks will welcome back captain Sam Cane, among a host of returning players for their upcoming northern hemisphere tour, with Taranaki lock Josh Lord receiving his first call-up.

Cane, 29, hasn't featured for the All Blacks in 2021, after suffering a ruptured pectoral (chest) muscle playing for the Chiefs during Super Rugby.

But the captain will join the rest of the squad in the United States, where his team face the Eagles at Washington DC, before travelling to Europe for tests against Italy, Wales, Ireland and France.

As expected, Sam Whitelock also rejoins the squad, after remaining in New Zealand for the birth of his third child. Hooker Dane Coles will return from injury, after missing the Australia-based Rugby Championship.

Coach Ian Foster confirmed that both Whitelock and Coles will play provincial rugby for Canterbury and Wellington respectively, this weekend.

Loose forward Shannon Frizell will also make the trip, after facing assault charges, which were dropped, when he completed diversion.

Halfback Aaron Smith will not, at this stage, make the trip.

But the All Blacks will also lose locks Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu, who will both return to New Zealand for family reasons, and Lord, 20, has been rewarded for his form with Taranaki in the NPC and the Chiefs in Super Rugby. 

"He's a good young player, [with] a lot of promise," Foster says of Lord.

"We're impressed with him whenever we've gone and seen him in training at Super level. We saw this as an opportunity to grow a young player for the future.

"He's got the physical attributes that we think are right going forward. This is a chance to get him on this tour and start working with him.

"What we saw in Super Rugby last year, he's carried some of that form on through NPC with Taranaki, he's got a lot of good qualities about him.

"I guess it's an eye to the future this selection, but it is one that does excite us."

He joins Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Tupou Vaa'i as the All Blacks second-row options.

On Tuesday, the team will relocate from Queensland's Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, and will have a week off, before beginning preparation for their US visit. 

All Blacks squad

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ethan de Groot, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Angus Ta'avao, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Josh Lord, Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa'i, Sam Whitelock, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Akira Ioane, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu

Backs: Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, Braydon Ennor, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Quinn Tupaea, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece

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