All Blacks

Strong Fijian side excited to take on the All Blacks

The All Blacks will host Fiji in Dunedin on Saturday 10 July - the same location where they last fought in 2011.

Utility back Nemani Nadolo said these opportunities to play against the best do not come often for Pacific teams and that it will be a special moment for all the Fijian players.

"We're under no illusion that this is going to be an easy game. It's going to test us both mentality and physically," he said.

"Our coaching staff are doing their best to prepare us and we, ourselves, are doing as much as we can to be ready for this game."

Tupaea to start as one of four All Black debutants

Quinn Tupaea will start at second five-eighth, with prop George Bower, loose forward Ethan Blackadder and halfback Finlay Christie set to make their Test debuts from the bench.

Tupaea fills a void left by the injuries to a number of mid-fielders including Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Braydon Ennor, while Ngani Laumape has decided to play in France.

Will Genia keen to play in New Zealand, picks Beauden Barrett in All Blacks No 10 debate

Halfback Genia, a former Australian captain with 110 tests for the Wallabies in a career that has taken him around the world, now plays club rugby in Japan on the back of a successful stint in France.

He’s no stranger to New Zealand shores with frequent Bledisloe Cup and Super Rugby battles and admits he has a soft spot for Kiwi playing fields.

“I’ve always wanted to maybe come over and play in New Zealand for a year or so. That’d be the dream, when I’ve finished,” Genia, 32, told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

Dan Carter becomes first 'leader in practice' at University of Oxford entrepreneurship centre

On Monday, in a post on LinkedIn, Carter said he was honoured to have been appointed a “leader in practice” at the Oxford Foundry, the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Oxford.

“I’ve been given the opportunity to help our future leaders to gain skills in leadership under pressure, developing a mindset of growth, and building strong, collaborative and resilient teams,” Carter said.

Carter said he started his professional rugby career at the age of 20, while his peers were heading off to university.

All Blacks set challenges for 2021

"We want to get our performance at a consistent level that we can really challenge and be the number one team in the world."

 

The first step towards reclaiming a title they have not held for almost two years has been taken.

Named in Auckland on Monday night, the first All Blacks squad of 2021 includes 36 names.

A big but necessary number, according to Foster.

"We've got four tests in a row in September, we could have up to five in a row in November and we've just come off a big Super Rugby competition.

'Composed' Quinn Tupaea impresses with his big move into No 12

Make no mistake, the All Blacks understand they have some work to do in their midfield space in general, and the No 12 position in particular as they open a challenging campaign likely to grow to 15 tests with their July series against Tonga (July 3) and Fiji (July 10 and 17).

David Havili's could be welcomed in from cold when squad named

Havili, who hasn’t represented his country since starting at fullback against a French XV in Lyon in mid-November 2017, has emerged as a leading contender to glue the All Blacks’ midfield together for the three tests against Tonga and Fiji next month.

When All Blacks coach Ian Foster names up to 36 players in his first squad of the year on Monday night he will explain how he intends to fill gaping holes in the middle of his backline.

All Blacks lose another star to injury ahead of July test series against Tonga and Fiji

According to a report from the New Zealand Herald, the All Blacks will be without their most experienced midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown after he underwent minor elbow surgery on Friday.

The Herald reports the 26-year-old’s elbow has been locking up in recent weeks, with scans revealing bone fragment concerns that required minor keyhole surgery.

The successful surgery is expected to leave Lienert-Brown sidelined for New Zealand’s July 3 test against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland and the July 10 test against Fiji at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Hoskins Sotutu returns as one of three All Blacks tweaks to Blues forward pack

There are just three changes to the starting lineup, all in the forward pack.

Hoskins Sotutu, who debuted in the All Blacks last season, has been elevated back into the starting team at number 8 in place of fellow NZ representative Akira Ioane who drops to the bench.

Sotutu has missed just one game for the Blues this year and was also benched for last weekend’s clash with the Reds. Ioane, meanwhile, has featured in every single game for the Auckland franchise in 2021, either in the starting lineup or from the reserves.

Former All Black captain Buck Shelford knighted

From today, the former All Black captain known as Buck, upgrades to Sir Wayne "Buck" Shelford.

And this time it is official.

Shelford's knighthood for services to rugby and the community in the Queen's Birthday Honours was not a surprise to his wife, Jo, who had played a part in helping those people in Māoridom who had nominated him.

"I put this letter [from Government House] in front of her and she just looked at me and laughed," Shelford said of his own discovery that he was among the four New Zealanders to be knighted today.