All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has included Blues No 8 Akira Ioane in an extended 41-man training squad.
Ioane, who has been a standout player for the Blues this season, is the only uncapped player in the squad that will gather in Wellington next week.
There is no place for Ioane’s franchise teammate Ma’a Nonu, who has made an excellent return to New Zealand after playing in France.
Also included is Chiefs flank Sam Cane, who has not played since fracturing his neck against the Springbok in October last year. However, he has been cleared for contact training.
Hansen will confirm his final squad for the World Cup after the Rugby Championship.
All Blacks squad:
Forwards – Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Angus Ta’avao, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Jackson Hemopo, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Shannon Frizell, Akira Ioane, Kieran Read, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock
Backs – TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith
Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz