All Blacks add new blood ahead of Bledisloe Cup clash
RUGBY UNION: Chiefs prop Atu Moli and Highlanders utility Richard Buckman are among the new faces included in the All Blacks squad for a training camp ahead of the Rugby Championship starting later this month.
Moli, 22, and Buckman, 28, are two of the four uncapped Test players in coach Steve Hansen's 34-man squad with Highlanders lock Tom Franklin and Blues loose forward Akira Ioane the others.
Franklin and Ioane have been involved in previous All Blacks training camps but Moli and Buckman have not.
Moli is a former New Zealand under-20s captain while Buckman - a cult hero nicknamed the 'Barracuda' - has been a consistent and versatile backline performer in Super Rugby since joining the Highlanders in 2014.
Buckman has been listed as a midfielder in the squad announcement which also features recalls for Chiefs props Kane Hames (one Test) and Nepo Laulala (four Tests); Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (one Test); Chiefs lock Dominic Bird (two Tests); Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu (12 Tests); Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai (one Test) and Hurricanes outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder (eight Tests).
Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie has been named as a first five-eighth following the departure of Aaron Cruden to France.
The squad will spend two days in Christchurch this week as the All Blacks prepare for the first Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies in Sydney on August 19.
No Crusaders players were named given they are competing in the Super Rugby final against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday (midnight kick-off AEST, live on Fox Sports).
Hansen will name his full Rugby Championship squad on Monday before the team assembles in Auckland on August 10.