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All Blacks name wider training group

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Openside flankers Tanerau Latimer (pictured) and Scott Waldrom have been named in a 25-man All Blacks training squad, suggesting the upcoming end of year rugby tour to Hong Kong and Britain may include specialist back-up to captain Richie McCaw.


Latimer and Waldrom are among six loose forwards named today by the All Blacks selectors for the four-day camp starting in Auckland tomorrow.


The 35-man tour party for tests against Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England — plus a midweek fixture against Heineken Cup champions Munster — will be named next Sunday.


Contenders from Canterbury and Wellington, who contest the Air New Zealand Cup final in Wellington on Saturday, have not been included.


Other than the apparent rise of Latimer and Waldrom, Taranaki lock Jason Eaton, a member of the Grand Slam-winning team of 2005, returns to the All Blacks frame after long-term injury problems.


Players nursing existing niggles have also been named for the camp includes a match against a New Zealand Barbarians selection in Auckland on Wednesday.


Loose forward Liam Messam, who nursed a hamstring strain during the latter stages of Waikato’s Air NZ Cup campaign, is the most obvious example.


He appears to be closing on All Blacks selection, as is Southland loosehead prop Jamie Mackintosh.


Tasman loosehead Ben Franks, briefly brought into the squad as cover when England toured here in June, is also named in the squad to bolster the propping stocks depleted by Greg Somerville’s imminent departure for Gloucester.


Daniel Carter’s back-up at first five-eighth, Stephen Donald, has also been invited despite suffering rib cartilage against Taranaki on October 2.


First-choice lock Ali Williams has also been managing an ankle injury sustained early in New Zealand’s Philips Tri Nations campaign, a setback that has prevented him playing since the Bledisloe Cup was retained in Brisbane on September 13.


Wing Joe Rokocoko’s anticipated recall after an injury-plagued season gained traction with his inclusion.


All Blacks training group: John Afoa (Auckland), Anthony Boric (North Harbour), Jimmy Cowan (Southland), Stephen Donald (Waikato), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Ben Franks (Tasman), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Richard Kahui (Waikato), Jerome Kaino (Auckland), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), Sione Lauaki (Waikato), Jamie Mackintosh (Southland), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Liam Messam (Waikato), Mils Muliaina (Waikato), Josevata Rokocoko (Auckland), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Adam Thomson (Otago), Brad Thorn (Tasman), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Anthony Tuitavake (North Harbour), Scott Waldrom (Taranaki), Ali Williams (Auckland), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour), Rudi Wulf (North Harbour).

 

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