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Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 22:14 UK

Seven new faces in NZ tour squad

Joe Rokocoko in full flight for the All Blacks
Injury has prevented Rokocoko playing for the All Blacks so far in 2008

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has named seven uncapped players in the All Blacks squad for their tour of Europe.

Richie McCaw captains a 35-man squad which includes star fly-half Dan Carter, while prolific winger Joe Rokocoko returns after injury.

The All Blacks play Australia in Hong Kong on Saturday, followed by Tests in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.

Henry said the tour would be "the most demanding schedule faced by the All Blacks in the professional era".

There are two uncapped players among the backs - Wellington wing Hosea Gear, brother of Worcester's former All Blacks wing Rico, and his team-mate Corey Jane, who will provide cover for Mils Muliaina at full-back with Leon MacDonald left at home to recover from concussion.

The other new faces are a trio of back-row forwards - Waikato's Liam Messam, Canterbury's Kieran Read and Scott Waldrom from Taranaki - and two props, Jamie Mackintosh from Southland and Ben Franks from Tasman.

Rokocoko, who has 43 tries in 48 Tests to his name, has not played for the All Blacks in 2008 because of wrist and hamstring injuries and has only just returned to action.

Giant lock Jason Easton is also back after injury, while hooker Corey Flynn is handed another chance four years after his last cap.


New Zealand squad:
Backs: Cory Jane*, Mils Muliaina, Hosea Gear*, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Anthony Tuitavake, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Isaia Toeava, Daniel Carter, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu.
Forwards: Corey Flynn, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Ben Franks*, Jamie Mackintosh*, Neemia Tialata, Tony Woodcock, Anthony Boric, Jason Eaton, Ross Filipo, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam*, Kieran Read*, Rodney So'oialo, Adam Thomson, Scott Waldrom*.

*Denotes new cap.



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see also
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Boks pick home stars for GB tour
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 24-28 New Zealand
13 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union


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