Uncapped Pulu named in ABs squad

Date published: October 10 2014

The All Blacks have added uncapped scrum-half Augustine Pulu to their squad for next week’s Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia.

The All Blacks have added uncapped Counties scrum-half Augustine Pulu to their squad for next weekend’s Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia as a replacement for Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

The 24-year-old received the call-up following confirmation earlier this week that Kerr-Barlow will be out for up to nine months after tearing a knee ligament in New Zealand’s 27-25 loss to South Africa last Saturday.

Utility back Ben Smith has been rested ahead of the All Blacks trip to the United States and Europe next month.

Coach Steve Hansen is excited about the prospect of working with Pulu.

“The selectors have been watching Augustine for a while, he is an exciting young player and we think the next obvious choice at half-back,” said Hansen.

“We’d like to congratulate him on his selection and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

Pulu, who plays Super Rugby for the Hamilton-based Chiefs, is likely to be third choice behind TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith for the scrum-half role in the Test against Australia in Brisbane on October 18.

The Test is the third and final fixture of the Bledisloe Cup series, although New Zealand have already retained the trophy after drawing the first match 12-12 then smashing the Wallabies 51-20 in the second.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read.

Backs: TJ Perenara, Augustine Pulu, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea.