Beauden Barrett returns to New Zealand squad for European tour

Beauden Barrett has recovered from concussion
Beauden Barrett has recovered from concussion

Incumbent All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett has been named in New Zealand's squad for the upcoming European tour.

The 26-year-old missed out the third and final Test of the recently concluded Bledisloe Cup contest in Brisbane due to a concussion-related issue and was replaced by Lima Sopoaga. However, having declared fit, Barrett now returns to New Zealand's November Test squad as they face Barbarians, France, Scotland and Wales.

The 37-man squad also consists of four uncapped players that include the likes of Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, Tasman prop Tim Perry, North Harbour wing Matt Duffie and Northland midfielder Jack Goodue.

Steve Hansen has also recalled Jerome Kaino and Seta Tamanivalu into the squad while Julian Savea misses out on the selection once again.

Skipper Kieran Read, hooker Dane Coles, prop Wyatt Crockett, lock Sam Whitelock and centres Sonny Bill Williams and Anton Lienert-Brown will be joining the squad a day before the All Blacks' game against Barbarians at Twickenham on 4th November.

"This tour, with the Barbarians game and the second French game, gives us the opportunity to play someone like Asafo Aumua," said Hansen.

"Rather than being an apprentice, he gets to play - he's pretty special, so we'll see where he goes. We'll just do what we do with every new All Black - make sure he's ready to go.

"How much time he gets will depend on how ready he is. He seems a pretty mature young man, he's been playing well, and now he gets an opportunity to spend time and learn from three good hookers.

"He dominates when he carries, and everything he does, he does really, really well and stands out. That's not normal for a 20-year-old, so when you see that it's not too hard to reward it."

Players not considered due to either injury or family reasons include Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ben Smith.

Apart from the squad announced five additional players - Otago flanker Dillon Hunt, Waikato prop Atu Molu, Canterbury halves Mitchell Drummond and Richie Mo'unga and two-test lock Dominic Bird will turn out for the Barbarians against All Blacks before rejoining the New Zealand squad ahead of their game against France.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes), Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Nathan Harris (Chiefs), Codie Taylor (Crusaders), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Kane Hames (Chiefs), Nepo Laulala (Chiefs), Tim Perry (Crusaders), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Blues), Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Kieran Read (captain, Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Liam Squire (Highlanders), Matt Todd (Crusaders)

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs), Sonny Bill Williams (Blues), David Havili (Crusaders), Matt Duffie (Blues), Rieko Ioane (Blues), Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), Seta Tamanivalu (Crusaders)