New Zealand Head Coach, Steve Hansen, has today announced his initial 35-man training squad that will fight it out for a spot in the side as they entertain Stuart Lancaster’s England over a three-Test series in June.
Hookers Nathan Harris (Chiefs) and Liam Coltman (Highlanders) will join second row Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), half back TJ Perenara (Hurricanes) and centre Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders) as the uncapped players in the training squads, which will take place in Christchurch between May 18-20th and in Wellington between May 25-27th.
Other names returning to the squad are Crusaders fly half Colin Slade, Hurricanes Victor Vito and Jerome Kaino of the Blues - who returns to the All Blacks for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
Crusaders second-row Luke Romano and Blues winger Charles Piatau miss out through a broken ankle and knee ligament damage respectively.
The 31-man final squad will be announced June 1st, with Tests in Auckland on the 7th, Dunedin on the 14th and the final test in Hamilton on the 21st.
Stuart Lancaster will name his England squad to face the reigning World Cup holders on the 15th May.
New Zealand training squad:
Forwards - Keven Mealamu, Nathan Harris, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Patrick Tuipulotu, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Whitelock.
Backs - Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.