The All Blacks have made a crucial addition to their 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup 2023. This development comes after the unfortunate loss of wing Emoni Narawa due to a back injury, which forced him to withdraw from the team just before their first game against France. In response to this setback, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has made a strategic move by calling up an extra loose forward, Crusaders’ flanker Ethan Blackadder, as Narawa’s replacement.
The initial squad announcement took place in Napier on 7 August, where former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw unveiled the lineup. This event was attended by nearly 2,000 locals who had been affected by cyclone Gabrielle, as well as first responders who played a crucial role during the disaster.
The All Blacks, led by their captain Sam Cane, are gearing up for the Rugby World Cup with a mix of experienced and fresh talent. Lock Samuel Whitelock is set to participate in his fourth RWC tournament, while six players – Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Codie Taylor, Dane Coles, and Sam Cane – are making their third appearance on the global stage. Impressively, seventeen players will be representing New Zealand in their first Rugby World Cup.
Here is the updated squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup:
- Dane Coles (36, Super Rugby: Hurricanes / Province: Wellington, Caps: 86)
- Samisoni Taukei’aho (25, Chiefs / Waikato, 24)
- Codie Taylor (32, Crusaders / Canterbury, 79)
- Ethan de Groot (25, Highlanders / Southland, 16)
- Tyrel Lomax (27, Hurricanes / Tasman, 26)
- Nepo Laulala (31, Blues / Counties Manukau, 49)
- Fletcher Newell (23, Crusaders / Canterbury, 7)
- Ofa Tu’ungafasi (31, Blues / Northland, 53)
- Tamaiti Williams (22, Crusaders / Canterbury, 2)
- Scott Barrett (29, Crusaders / Taranaki, 61)
- Brodie Retallick (32, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 103)
- Tupou Vaa’i (23, Chiefs / Taranaki, 21)
- Samuel Whitelock (34, Crusaders / Canterbury, 145)
- Ethan Blackadder (28, Crusaders / Tasman, 9)
- Sam Cane (31, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 89) – Captain
- Shannon Frizell (29, Highlanders / Tasman, 28)
- Luke Jacobson (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 14)
- Dalton Papali’i (25, Blues / Counties Manukau, 25)
- Ardie Savea (29, Hurricanes / Wellington, 74)
- Finlay Christie (27, Blues / Tasman, 17)
- Cam Roigard (22, Hurricanes / Counties Manukau, 1)
- Aaron Smith (34, Highlanders / Manawatū, 118)
- Beauden Barrett (32, Blues / Taranaki, 115)
- Damian McKenzie (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 42)
- Richie Mo’unga (29, Crusaders / Canterbury, 48)
- Jordie Barrett (26, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 51)
- David Havili (28, Crusaders / Tasman, 25)
- Rieko Ioane (26, Blues / Auckland, 62)
- Anton Lienert-Brown (28, Chiefs / Waikato, 62)
Full-back / Wing:
- Caleb Clarke (24, Blues / Auckland, 18)
- Leicester Fainga’anuku (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 3)
- Will Jordan (25, Crusaders / Tasman, 24)
- Mark Telea (26, Blues / North Harbour, 4)
The All Blacks commenced their Rugby World Cup journey with a challenging match against host nation France in Paris on 8 September, which resulted in a 27-13 defeat. They have additional pool matches scheduled against Namibia in Toulouse on 15 September, Italy in Lyon on 29 September, and Uruguay in Lyon on Thursday, 5 October.
The only player replaced in the original squad of 33 is Emoni Narawa. Ethan Blackadder’s inclusion in the team adds depth and versatility to the All Blacks’ forward lineup as they aim to secure victory in the Rugby World Cup 2023.