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Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
New dawn for All Blacks
Todd Blackadder
Going forth: Todd Blackadder will lead the All Blacks
A new coach, a new captain and a new start for New Zealand rugby is what Scotland will face when they tour the home of the All Blacks this summer.

New All Black coach Wayne Smith has named Todd Blackadder as captain and included six newcomers in a 26-strong squad for the international season which features two tests against Scotland.

Smith has replaced Taine Randell as captain with Blackadder and handed call-ups to utility back Leon MacDonald, winger Doug Howlett, midfield back Mark Robinson, No 8 Ron Cribb, lock Troy Flavell and prop Greg Somerville.

Notable omissions include veteran lock Robin Brooke, Carlos Spencer and Jeff Wilson, who is taking a break from rugby to reassess his future.


Robin Brooke
Dropped: Robin Brooke

The side is the first selected by Smith, who replaced John Hart after last year's World Cup, and features 11 players from the Super 12 champions the Canterbury Crusaders.

Blackadder was widely tipped to take on the captaincy role after a season of impressive performances for his Crusaders side culminating in their third successive Super 12 title, defeating the ACT Brumbies 20-19 in the final. He was not named in last year's World Cup squad.



We have gone for players who have power and put a lot of pressure on the opposition, both defensively and attacking-wise; who have vision and complementary skills

All Black coach Wayne Smith

Smith said the squad offered a number of different choices.

''There were a lot of options. We have gone for players who have power and put a lot of pressure on the opposition, both defensively and attacking-wise; who have vision and complementary skills,'' said Smith.

MacDonald has benefitted from Wilson's decision to make himself unavailable for the All Blacks' this year and his versatility. The 22-year-old can cover fullback, second-five and first-five.


Taine Randell
Retained: Taine Randell

Aucklander Howlett can cover any of the three-quarter positions, while Cambridge blue Mark Robinson starred in the problem position of centre throughout the season.

After the disappointment of not being selected by the Auckland Blues, Cribb had a barnstorming season at the back of the pack for Canterbury. His form was typified by a chip-and-chase try in the Super 12 final.


Squad highlights
Blackadder handed captaincy
Randell retained in squad
No places for Spencer, Brooke

Lock Flavell has edged out veteran Robin Brooke, whose All Blacks career may now be over, and Royce Willis after a strong season for Auckland. Flavell's abrasive style will add some much-needed firepower to the All Blacks' pack.

Somerville, despite being only 22, has impressed against more experienced props and with his mobility around the park. He was selected by Smith and fellow selectors Peter Thorbun and Tony Gilbert ahead of Gordon Slater, Greg Feek and Aucklander Paul Thomson.

The All Blacks open their season against Tonga on June 16 before meeting Scotland in Dunedin on June 24 and Auckland on July 1.

New Zealand squad:

Leon MacDonald, Christian Cullen, Tana Umaga, Doug Howlett, Jonah Lomu, Mark Robinson, Andrew Mehrtens, Tony Brown, Pita Alatini, Alama Ieremia, Byron Kelleher, Justin Marshall, Ron Cribb, Taine Randell, Scott Robinson, Josh Kronfeld, Reuben Thorne, Todd Blackadder (c), Norm Maxwell, Troy Flavell, Craig Dowd, Carl Hoeft, Kees Meeuws, Greg Somerville, Anton Oliver, Mark Hammett.

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