Six new faces in first All Blacks squad of 2022

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster has picked six debutants and omitted a veteran in his first All Blacks squad of the year.

The squad will play Ireland in a three-test series in New Zealand next month.

Sam Cane retains the captaincy of the side.

Rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is named for the first time along with fellow backs Folau Fakatava, Stephen Perofeta and Leicester Fainga'anuku

In the forwards Aidan Ross and Pita Gus Sowakula are the newcomers.

Halfback Fakatava comes into the squad as the 78-game veteran TJ Perenara misses out.

Aaron Smith and Finlay Christie are the other halfbacks selected.

Tuivasa-Sheck has been selected as a midfielder alongside Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Rieko Ioane and Quinn Tupaea.

Cane joins Ardie Savea, Sowakula, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii and Hoskins Sotutu in the loose forwards.

Luke Jacobsen has been ommitted.

Perofeta is the third first five behind Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.

In selecting the squad Foster said the first up challenge of the Steinlager Series with the Irish starting at a sold out Eden Park on 2 July was huge.

"This will be the biggest home series since the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour for the All Blacks. There are massive expectations all round and it will be immensely competitive."

Foster along with fellow selectors Grant Fox and John Plumtree said this was an extremely difficult squad to select.

"We want to congratulate the six new caps in what will be a very special day for them and their families who I'm sure will be extremely proud of their achievements. We have a new group of exciting players who will be keen to make a difference in the All Black jersey.

"We would also like to congratulate Sam Cane on resuming his role as All Black captain after injuries kept him sidelined for much of last year.

"It's also great to see Jack Goodhue back after his knee injury in 2020.

"You can often judge the strength of the All Blacks by the quality of the men who have missed out."

Foster said there will be a training camp in Tauranga this week for the non Super Rugby Pacific finalists with the full squad getting together first in Auckland and then in Northland from 20-24 June.