New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has recalled Scott Barrett in the squad for the final round of the Rugby Championship clash against Australia to be played in Perth on 10th August.
The decision follows after the 25-year-old has recovered from a broken finger that has kept him out of the opening two rounds. He will replace Brodie Retallick in the squad after the latter suffered a dislocated shoulder during the 16-16 draw against South Africa in Wellington.
Meanwhile, five players including Shannon Frizell, Asafo Aumua, Josh Ioane, Dalton Papali'i and Karl Tu'inukuafe are omitted from the squad raising doubts over their participation in the World Cup later this year.
“It’s not that he’s (Tu’inukuafe) done anything wrong,” said Hansen.
“It’s just that we have said we want mobile ball playing props that can also do their core roles, and we have been (watching) Atu Moli for quite some time.
“Apart from when he got that nasty injury that kept him out, which was Karl’s opportunity. We are still pretty keen on Atu.”
The upcoming game will also be the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup contest which will conclude with the second game on 17th August and Hansen knows the importance of the Perth encounter.
“The Bledisloe Cup is the second most important trophy for us, after the Rugby World Cup, and we’re really looking forward to the next two Tests coming up,” Hansen added. “Two weeks together will give us solid preparation towards growing our game understanding and getting our execution honed, so that’s exciting.
“The last time the All Blacks played in Perth was way back in 1992 (against a Western Australia side) but this will be an historic first Test for us in the city, so we’re also looking forward to catching up with our fans over there.”
New Zealand squad:
Forwards: Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Angus Ta’avao, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Jackson Hemopo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Luke Jacobson, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Matt Todd
Backs: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Braydon Ennor, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Sevu Reece, Ben Smith