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All Blacks World Cup squad named

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/08/2015

Waisake Naholo is one of the Highlander's new faces. © Getty Images Waisake Naholo is one of the Highlander's new faces. One-Test winger Waisake Naholo has been dramatically named in the 31-man All Blacks squad to defend their Rugby World Cup title in England.

Naholo has overcome a leg fracture suffered midway through his Test debut against Argentina six weeks ago to win a surprise place in the most hotly-contested position in New Zealand rugby.

The 24-year-old was expected to be sidelined for several months but after a course of natural herbal treatment in his native Fiji, he has been cleared by the All Blacks' medical staff.

His seemingly miraculous recovery is the feelgood story in the selection of a vastly experienced squad comprising 14 players who were part of the 2011 triumph.

Sigatoka-born Naholo joins Ben Smith, Julian Savea and rookie winger Nehe Milner-Skudder as the squad's four specialist outside backs.

I Israel Dagg in the Rugby Championship against Argentina in La Plata. © Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo Israel Dagg in the Rugby Championship against Argentina in La Plata. t leaves no room for veterans Israel Dagg and Cory Jane, who were both first-choice selections in 2011, and the in-form Charles Piutau.

The selectors have plumped for the outright pace and elusiveness of Naholo, who scored a Highlanders-record 13 tries on their way to this year's Super Rugby title.

One influential Highlander to miss out is first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga, who has suffered from New Zealand's playmaking riches.

Veteran Dan Carter and the more versatile Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade have headed off Sopoaga, who shone in his only Test, the defeat of South Africa in Johannesburg in July.

Speculation only two specialist halfbacks would be named proved wrong, with Tawera Kerr-Barlow securing a third berth despite have spent most of the last year recuperating from a serious knee injury.

The makeup of the 14 backs is otherwise predictable, along with most of the 17-strong forward contingent.

Just three specialist locks are included, leaving room to include both Victor Vito and Liam Messam among the loose forwards.

Prop Charlie Faumuina did enough in 40 minutes of NPC action for Auckland on Saturday - his first game for 14 weeks following minor neck surgery - to win selection ahead of Nepo Laulala.

Codie Taylor is the third hooker and one of 16 players who haven't experienced a World Cup.

Captain Richie McCaw, hooker Keven Mealamu and Carter will all make their New Zealand-record fourth tournament appearance.

It will be the third for another centurion, prop Tony Woodcock, along with midfield backs Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu.

The 31-man All Blacks squad named on Sunday for the Rugby World Cup:-

Backs: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (captain), Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor.


1987, in New Zealand, champions

Backs: John Gallagher, Kieran Crowley, John Kirwan, Craig Green, Terry Wright, Joe Stanley, Bernie McCahill, Warwick Taylor, Grant Fox, Frano Botica, David Kirk (capt), Bruce Deans.

Forwards: Wayne Shelford, Zinzan Brooke, Michael Jones, Mark Brooke-Cowden, Alan Whetton, Andy Earl, Gary Whetton, Murray Pierce, Albert Anderson, John Drake, Richard Loe, Steve McDowell, Sean Fitzpatrick.

1991, in England, third place

Backs: Kieran Crowley, John Timu, Shayne Philpott, John Kirwan, Terry Wright, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Craig Innes, Bernie McCahill, Walter Little, Grant Fox, Jon Preston, Graeme Bachop, Jason Hewett.

Forwards: Zinzan Brooke, Michael Jones, Mark Carter, Paul Henderson, Alan Whetton, Andy Earl, Ian Jones, Gary Whetton (capt), Richard Loe, Graham Purvis, Steve McDowell, Sean Fitzpatrick.

1995, in South Africa, runners up

Backs: Glen Osborne, Jeff Wilson, Eric Rush, Jonah Lomu, Marc Ellis, Frank Bunce, Alama Ieremia, Walter Little, Andrew Mehrtens, Simon Culhane, Graeme Bachop, Ant Strachan.

Forwards: Zinzan Brooke, Josh Kronfeld, Paul Henderson, Kevin Schuler, Mike Brewer, Jamie Joseph, Blair Larsen, Ian Jones, Robin Brooke, Olo Brown, Richard Loe, Craig Dowd, Sean Fitzpatrick, Norm Hewitt.

1999, in Wales, fourth place

Backs: Glen Osborne, Jeff Wilson, Tana Umaga, Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen, Pita Alatini, Alama Ieremia, Daryl Gibson, Andrew Merhtens, Carlos Spencer, Tony Brown, Justin Marshall, Byron Kelleher, Rhys Duggan.

Forwards: Taine Randell (capt), Josh Kronfeld, Scott Robertson, Andrew Blowers, Dylan Mika, Reuben Thorne, Ian Jones, Norm Maxwell, Royce Willis, Robin Brooke, Carl Hoeft, Kees Meeuws, Craig Dowd, Greg Feek, Anton Oliver, Mark Hammett.

2003, in Australia, third place

Backs: Ben Blair, Mils Muliaina, Leon MacDonald, Doug Howlett, Caleb Ralph, Joe Rokooko, Tana Umaga, Ma'a Nonu, Aaron Mauger, Dan Carter, Carlos Spencer, Justin Marshall, Byron Kelleher, Steve Devine.

Forwards: Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw, Marty Holah, Daniel Braid, Jerry Collins, Reuben Thorne (capt), Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Kees Meeuws, Carl Hoeft, Dave Hewett, Keven Mealamu, Mark Hammett, Corey Flynn.

2007, in France, quarter-finalists

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Leon MacDonald, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Joe Rokocoko, Doug Howlett, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister, Aaron Mauger, Dan Carter, Nick Evans, Byron Kelleher, Brendon Leonard, Andy Ellis.

Forwards: Rodney So'oialo, Sione Lauaki, Reuben Thorne, Richie McCaw (capt), Chris Masoe, Jerry Collins, Ali Williams, Keith Robinson, Chris Jack, Carl Hayman, Greg Somerville, Neemia Tialata, Tony Woodcock, Anton Oliver, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore.

2011, in New Zealand, champions

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Zac Guildford, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, Dan Carter, Colin Slade, Piri Weepu, Andy Ellis, Jimmy Cowan.

Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson, Anthony Boric, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Owen Franks, John Afoa, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn.

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