Former Baby Manu Josh Ioane gets All Blacks call-up

Former Samoa Under-20 first five Josh Ioane is one of four new faces in the All Blacks squad of 39 for the first two games of the Rugby Championship.

The 23-year-old Highlander is one of three pivots in the squad, along with Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.

After playing for the Baby Manu in 2015, the Auckland-born Ioane made his provincial debut for Otago in 2017, and won his first Highlanders cap a year later.

He has starred for the Dunedin-based Super Rugby side this season, earning 14 starts (10 in a row) in what was a breakout campaign.

The other new All Blacks are Braydon Ennor, Luke Jacobson and Sevu Reece, who pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in 2018 but was discharged without conviction.

Atu Moli and Asafo Aumua are both uncapped but have been named All Blacks previously.

Ma'a Nonu missed out on a spot in a crowded midfield, while former Samoa Under-20 players Melani Nanai and Jordan Taufua were both unselected.

The pair are both heading to English clubs (Worcester and Leicester respectively) after the Rugby World Cup.

Neither player has had their international eligibility captured yet and thus could still represent the Manu Samoa at the tournament in September, however it is understood Nanai will play for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup whilst on injury standby for the All Blacks, according to reporting from Geoff Berkeley of the Worcester News.

All Blacks squad:

Forwards:

Hookers
Asafo Aumua (22, Hurricanes / Wellington, uncapped)
Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 60)
Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 4)
Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 41)

Props
Owen Franks (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 106)
Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 17)
Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 37)
Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, uncapped)
Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 3)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (26, Blues / North Harbour, 13)
Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Locks
Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 75)
Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 21)
Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 108)

Utility Forward
Jackson Hemopo (25, Highlanders / Manawatu,3)

Loose Forwards
Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 60)
Vaea Fifita (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 9)
Shannon Frizell (25, Highlanders / Tasman, 4)
Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, new cap)
Dalton Papalii (21, Blues / Auckland, 2)
Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 118) — Captain
Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 35)
Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 17)

Backs:

Halfbacks
TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 55)
Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 82)
Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 1)

First five–eighths
Beauden Barrett (28, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 73)
Josh Ioane (23, Highlanders / Otago, new cap)
Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 9)

Midfielders
Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 7)
Ngani Laumape (26, Hurricanes / Manawatu, 10)
Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 33)
Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 51)

Utility Backs

Braydon Ennor (21, Crusaders / Canterbury, new cap)
Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 9)

Outside backs
George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 1)
Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 24)
Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, new cap)
Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 76)

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