New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has named six new faces in the 36-man squad for the home series against Ireland to be played in July.
Folau Fakatava, Stephen Perofeta, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Aidan Ross and Pita Gus Sowakula are in contention for their first cap during the three-game Test series that will be played on 2nd, 9th and 16th July in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington respectively.
TJ Perenara, who has featured in 78 Tests for New Zealand has been a notable omission with uncapped Fakatava set to provide back up to Aaron Smith with Finlay Christie also among the halfback options in the squad. Jack Goodhue also makes a comeback after recovering from a knee injury that he sustained in 2020.
There was also no place for Brad Weber, while Asafo Aumua, Ethan de Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Shannon Frizell, Luke Jacobson, George Bridge and Braydon Ennor also miss out after being part of the squad last year.
Foster also confirmed that Sam Cane, who had a rough last year with injuries will be leading the side.
“This will be the biggest home series since the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour for the All Blacks," said Foster.
"There are massive expectations all round and it will be immensely competitive.”
New Zealand squad:
Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Scott Barrett, George Bower, Sam Cane (capt), Finlay Christie, Caleb Clarke, Dane Coles, Jack Goodhue, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Folau Fakatava, David Havili, Akira Ioane, Reiko Ioane, Will Jordan, Nepo IRLLaulala, Josh Lord, Richie Mo'unga, Dalton Papalii, Stephen Perofeta, Sevu Reece, Brodie Retallick, Aidan Ross, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Hoskins Sotutu, Pita Gus Sowakula, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Codie Taylor, Angus Ta'avao, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Quinn Tupaea, Ofa Tuungafasi, Sam Whitelock, Tupo Vaa'i.