Sevu Reece named in New Zealand squad for Rugby Championship
Last Updated: 02/07/19 9:12am
New Zealand have called up four uncapped players in an extended 39-man squad for the Rugby Championship.
Head coach Steve Hansen named outside backs Braydon Ennor and Sevu Reece, fly-half Josh Ioane and loose forward Luke Jacobson as he looks to finalise his World Cup selections over the next six weeks.
Hooker Asafo Aumua and prop Atu Moli, who have both played one non-Test match, are also included.
There is no place however for Ma'a Nonu or London Irish-bound Waisake Naholo, while Liam Squire ruled himself out of contention as he does not feel ready for Test rugby following an injury-interrupted season.
"It's a heck of a brave decision and good decision for him to make," said Hansen.
Scrum-half Brad Weber, who won his sole cap against Samoa in 2015, was recalled after his strong performances in Super Rugby kept Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi on the bench at the Chiefs.
"It's really exciting bringing the team together and we're all looking forward to starting the work towards this year's goals," said Hansen.
"We're going to try and do something that's never been done before and that's to win three Rugby World Cups in a row.
"However, that's not a given. We're going to have to be hungry for success and were going to have to work incredibly hard and smart to achieve this."
New Zealand open the Rugby Championship against Argentina in Buenos Aires on July 20, live on Sky Sports, with this year's tournament shortened to three matches each instead of the usual six due to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Few, if any, players from the Crusaders, who face the Jaguares in the Super Rugby final in Christchurch on Saturday, are expected to travel to face the Pumas.
The All Blacks will then play South Africa in Wellington on July 27 and Australia on August 10 in Perth.
They face the Wallabies in a Bledisloe Cup clash in Auckland on August 17 and end their preparations with a match against Tonga in Hamilton on September 7.
Hansen has said he would use the Rugby Championship to whittle down his playing squad to the 31 he will take to Japan.
They open their quest for a third successive World Cup title against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21.
New Zealand Rugby Championship squad
Outside backs: Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor
Centres: Sonny Bill Williams, Jack Goodhue, Anton Leinert-Brown, Ngani Laumape
Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, Josh Ioane
Scrum-halves: Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber
Props: Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tuungafasi, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao
Hookers: Codie Taylor, Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua, Liam Coltman
Locks: Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu
Back rows: Keiran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Shannon Frizell, Matt Todd, Jackson Hemopo, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papalii