Former Warriors and Kiwis superstar Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has continued his quick rise up the ranks of NZ rugby after being names in the first All Blacks squad of 2022.
The Blues midfielder has been steadily growing in confidence the longer the Super Rugby season goes on, transitioning well considering his limited pro rugby experience.
RTS joins a total of 6 debutants in the squad including Aidan Ross, Pita Gus Sowakula, Folau Fakatava, Stephen Perofeta, and Leicester Fainga’anuku.
In selecting the squad All Blacks Head Coach and selector Ian Foster said the first up challenge of the Steinlager Series with the Irish starting at a sold out Eden Park on 2 July was huge.
“This will be the biggest home series since the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour for the All Blacks. There are massive expectations all round and it will be immensely competitive.”
Foster along with fellow selectors Grant Fox and John Plumtree said this was an extremely difficult squad to select.
“We want to congratulate the six new caps in what will be a very special day for them and their families who I’m sure will be extremely proud of their achievements. We have a new group of exciting players who will be keen to make a difference in the All Black jersey.
“We would also like to congratulate Sam Cane on resuming his role as All Black captain after injuries kept him sidelined for much of last year.
“It’s also great to see Jack Goodhue back after his knee injury in 2020.
“We also know there’s disappointment for those players not selected and we feel for them at this time.
“You can often judge the strength of the All Blacks by the quality of the men who have missed out.”
Foster said there will be a training camp in Tauranga this week for the non DHL Super Rugby Pacific finalists with the full squad getting together first in Auckland and then in Northland from 20-24 June.
The full squad is as follows:
* denotes new cap
Dane Coles (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Codie Taylor (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (Chiefs, Waikato)
Aidan Ross* (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
George Bower (Crusaders, Otago)
Nepo Laulala (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Ofa Tuungafasi (Blues, Northland)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (Blues, North Harbour)
Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs, Auckland)
Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Brodie Retallick (Chiefs, Hawkes Bay)
Scott Barrett (Crusaders, Taranaki)
Josh Lord (Chiefs, Taranaki)
Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs, Taranaki)
Pita Gus Sowakula* (Chiefs, Taranaki)
Sam Cane – Captain (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
Dalton Papalii (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Akira Ioane (Blues, Auckland)
Hoskins Sotutu (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Folau Fakatava* (Highlanders, Hawkes Bay)
Aaron Smith (Highlanders, Manawatu)
Finlay Christie (Blues, Tasman)
Stephen Perofeta* (Blues, Taranaki)
Beauden Barrett (Blues, Taranaki)
Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck* (Blues, Auckland)
Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs, Waikato)
Jack Goodhue (Crusaders, Northland)
Rieko Ioane (Blues, Auckland)
David Havili (Crusaders, Tasman)