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Sunday, 22 October, 2000, 18:42 GMT
All Blacks opt for hard men
Ieremia has left the All Blacks to play rugby in Japan
Ieremia has left the All Blacks to play rugby in Japan
New Zealand have opted for a no-nonsense approach in naming their squad to tour Japan, France and Italy in November.

Coach Wayne Smith chose only one new cap, Wellington inside centre Jason O'Halloran, in the 26-man squad of what he called "hard nuts".

He has dropped prop Carl Hoeft and the Otago fly-half Tony Brown.

O'Halloran, consistently overlooked despite a number oif seasons of good form, celebrated with his team-mates after beating Canterbury 34-29 to win the national provincial championship first division final on Saturday.

Carl Hoeft has been dumped by Smith
Carl Hoeft has been dumped by Smith
"We've gone for hard attitudes," Smith said in a television interview. "We've picked some hard nuts," he said.

Smith did not identify a successor to Josh Kronfeld as openside flanker or the new centre to replace Japan-bound Alama Ieremia.

All Black win Tana Umaga has played at centre during the provincial season and has been in stunning form while Canterbury flanker Scott Robertson is likely to fill Kronfeld's boots.

New Zealand has been blessed with a succession of excellent openside flankers with Kronfeld following on from Michael Jones.

Unsure

"Then we had Kronfeld. Somebody is going to pick up the mantle. You may know who that is but we're not sure," he said.

Wellington number eight Filo Tiatia has been out of action for the last five weeks with a broken arm but has been included to give Smith more power options off the back of the scrum.

Waikato's Bruce Reihana, a utility back, Canterbury midfield back Daryl Gibson, Auckland flyhalf Carlos Spencer, Taranaki prop Gordon Slater and Canterbury prop Greg Feek have also been recalled to the squad.

The All Blacks play a Pacific Barbarians team in Tokyo on 3 November before two tests against France and one against Italy.


Squad: Backs - Christian Cullen, Bruce Reihana, Doug Howlett, Jonah Lomu, Tana Umaga, Pita Alatini, Jason O'Halloran, Daryl Gibson, Andrew Mehrtens, Carlos Spencer, Byron Kelleher, Justin Marshall.
Forwards - Ron Cribb, Filo Tiatia, Taine Randell, Reuben Thorne, Scott Robertson, Todd Blackadder (captain), Norm Maxwell, Troy Flavell, Gordon Slater, Greg Somerville, Craig Dowd, Greg Feek, Mark Hammett, Anton Oliver.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 |  Rugby Union
All Blacks lose Ieremia
17 Oct 00 |  Rugby Union
Injured Benazzi to miss France tests
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