All Blacks call up uncapped Harris

Date published: September 17 2014

Uncapped hooker Nathan Harris has been called up by Steve Hansen and should make his All Black debut against South Africa.

Uncapped hooker Nathan Harris has been called up by Steve Hansen and should make his All Black debut against South Africa next month.

Harris will join the New Zealand squad for their remaining two games in the Rugby Championship, and is expected to earn a spot on the bench for the second of those matches in Johannesburg when first choice hooker Dane Coles returns home for the birth of his child.

The Bay of Plenty hooker has been part of the All Blacks wider training squad this season but has yet to feature in a matchday squad.

He is not the only change to the New Zealand squad, with the return of injured quartet Liam Messam, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty.

The Crusaders centre has been selected only for the second game against the Springboks as he gets back up to speed from a broken cheekbone.

That means Malakai Fekitoa is almost certain to start when Argentina host New Zealand in La Plata, replacing Ma'a Nonu who was ruled out of the rest of the year with a broken arm.

Ben Smith stepped in at inside centre for the second half in Wellington, but it seems that Fekitoa has the inside track to make his third Test start.

Messam, Kaino and Whitelock are all fit again after injury although Hansen has not yet indicated whether they would feature in Argentina, while fly-half Dan Carter has been left to Canterbury to try to regain match fitness, meaning he will not feature for the All Blacks before the third Bledisloe Cup match.

“[The trio are] heading back a little bit earlier than we expected, but that's a bonus and we'll see what state they are in when we get to Argentina,” he said.

“And whether they start or come off the bench, we'll work our way through that.”

New Zealand play Argentina in La Plata on September 27 before travelling to Johannesburg to face the Springboks a week later on October 4.

New Zealand touring squad: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.