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Four Fijians make All Blacks squad

Four Fijian rugby players were named in the 38-man All Blacks squad for the Steinlager Series against Ireland next month.

Pita Gus Sowakula, George Bower, Hoskins Sotutu and Sevuloni Reece are in the All Blacks squad for the three-match test series.

Head coach Ian Foster and his panel of selectors picked six uncapped players in the squad also.

Fijian Sowakula, Chiefs prop Aidan Ross, Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava, Blues fullback Stephen Perofeta and former NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as well as Leicester Fainga’anuku are the new caps in the squad.

Pita Gus Sowakula with his family in Nadi. The Fijian is set to make his debut for the All Blacks. Picture Petero Manufolau Twitter

Chiefs loose forward Sowakula had beaten the likes of Luke Jacobson to secure selection in a crowded back row alongside captain Sam Cane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane and his fellow Fijian comrade Sotutu.

Sowakula’s versatility to cover at blindside and No 8 got him the nod.

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Chiefs prop Aidan Ross was drafted to cover for Joe Moody, who incurred a season-ending knee injury as one of seven prop selections.

Enterprising Blues fullback Stephen Perofeta has been named as one of three first five-eights alongside Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was the only newcomer to the midfield stocks.

Sam Cane speaking to media in New Zealand after being named captain. Picture: All Blacks

Crusaders in-form wing Leicester Fainga’anuku was selected out wide.

Jack Goodhue returns to the squad following his long injury layoff to provide experience to the midfield group.

The All Blacks squad for July tests

FORWARDS:
Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross, George Bower, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tuungafasi, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Josh Lord, Tupou Vaa’i, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane and Hoskins Sotutu.

BACKS:
Folau Fakatava, Aaron Smith, Finlay Christie, Stephen Perofeta, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Quinn Tupaea, Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Caleb Clarke and Sevuloni Reece.

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