New Zealand include five debutants in Rugby Championship squad

Sam Cane returns as New Zealand captain
Sam Cane returns as New Zealand captain

Australia head coach Ian Foster has included five debutants in the 36-man squad named for the Rugby Championship.

While Brad Weber, Folau Fakatava, Hoskins Sotutu and Akira Ioane miss out on the selection, Chiefs duo Emoni Narawa and Samipeni Finau, Hurricanes halfback Cam Roigard along with Crusaders pair Tamaiti Williams and Dallas McLeod have made it to the squad in a bid to win their maiden cap.

"We are very excited about the group we have selected," Foster said.

"The Rugby Championship is a vital piece in our preparation for the World Cup later in the year. It's a key opportunity to get our game ready so we can enter the global tournament with confidence."

Chiefs winger Shaun Stevenson will provide cover to the injured Mark Talea while Sam Cane will return to captain the side.

"Sam has proven himself as a great leader of our team despite having had a disrupted couple of seasons leading into this one," said Foster. "We have total belief that he is the right man to lead us."

New Zealand squad:

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Oli Jager, Tevita Mafileo, Xavier Numia, Aidan Ross, Asafo Aumua, Ricky Riccitelli, Tyrone Thompson, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Quinten Strange, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Billy Harmon, Akira Ioane, Christian Lio-Willie, Pita Gus Sowakula, Cameron Suafoa

Backs: Folau Fakatava, Brad Weber, Brett Cameron, Stephen Perofeta, Jack Goodhue, Alex Nankivell, Billy Proctor, Bailyn Sullivan, Sam Gilbert, AJ Lam, Ruben Love, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Jona Nareki