NZ name six newcomers for Wales series

Richie McCaw and New Zealand's 2015 World Cup winning squad

Richie McCaw was one of a number o players to end their international careers after the 2015 World Cup

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named six uncapped players for June’s Test series against Wales.

The All Blacks face Wales in the first of three Tests on 11 June.

Forwards Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire and Ardie Savea, prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi and backs Damian McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu have been included.

Hansen has had to make changes after a number of players ended their international careers following last year’s World Cup success.

Captain Richie McCaw, as well as Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock, retired – while Dan Carter, Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu all joined clubs in France.

Lock Sam Whitelock has been ruled out with a hamstring injury with Tom Franklin brought in as injury cover.

Scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow is also not expected to be available for the first Test as he recovers from a broken hand and TJ Perenara has been brought into the squad.

“Many people, including our opponents, may be thinking we’re vulnerable and are rebuilding,” former Wales head coach Hansen said.

“However, we don’t have that mindset. Our mindset is about re-establishing and moving to a higher level.”

After the first Test at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday, 11 June, Hansen’s side host Wales in Wellington a week later (18 June) with the final Test in Dunedin on 25 June.

New Zealand squad

Backs: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Damian McKenzie#, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Malakai Fekitoa, Seta Tamanivalu, Charlie Ngatai, Ryan Crotty, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara.

Forwards: Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Jerome Kaino, Elliot Dixon#, Liam Squire#, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Luke Romano, Tom Franklin, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris

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