Savea omitted from All Blacks squad

Date published: August 7 2017

Powerful wing Julian Savea has been omitted from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's 33-man squad for their upcoming Rugby Championship campaign.

Savea, who has scored 46 tries in 54 Tests for the world champions, has not been at his best in 2017 and he was left out of the All Blacks' matchday squad for their two opening Tests during the recent series against the British and Irish Lions.

The 26-year-old was also dropped from the Hurricanes' run-on side when they faced the Lions in their Super Rugby semi-final two weeks ago.

The All Blacks start the campaign with the Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia in Sydney on August 19.

Hansen has recalled another Hurricane wing, Nehe Milner-Skudder, as well as Chiefs prop Nepo Laulala. Both players return to the squad after an extended period on the sidelines due to injury.

Hooker Dane Coles also returns to the squad after missing the Lions series due to concussion while Crusaders flanker Matt Todd, like Savea, has also been left out.

Uncapped Chiefs prop Atu Moli has been included as an "apprentice player". The 22-year-old is not part of the official squad but will train with the All Blacks.

Fly-half Aaron Cruden, centre Malakai Fekitoa and tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina were not considered for selection after signing overseas contracts.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who joins Top 14 club La Rochelle later in the year, has been retained as one of three scrum-halves along with Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.

Hansen said there would be "new strategies" to handle the travelling aspect of the Rugby Championship and he revealed that some senior players will be rested for the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires on September 30.

"We've learnt since the introduction of Argentina that there is a massive travelling component to the championship, which comes at a cost at the end of the year," he said.

"So we'll be looking to implement some new strategies to try and overcome that."

All Blacks squad:

Forwards: Kieran Read (c), Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Jerome Kaino, Vaea Fifita, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Joe Moody, Wyatt Crockett, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris

Backs: Ben Smith, Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Ngani Laumape, Beauden Barrett, Lima Sopoaga, Damian McKenzie, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow