Slade named in All Blacks squad

Colin Slade comes into the All Blacks squad, replacing Dan Carter. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Colin Slade comes into the All Blacks squad, replacing Dan Carter. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Uncapped Canterbury first five-eighth Colin Slade has been included in the All Blacks squad named today for the final Tri-Nations test against Australia in Sydney.

There are no surprises in the 26-man squad unveiled by coach Graham Henry, with the only question mark in the leadup surrounding who would be included as the backup first five-eighth to Aaron Cruden.

That role falls to Slade, 22, ahead of two other likely contenders - Canterbury teammate Stephen Brett and North Harbour's Luke McAlister.

The versatile Slade was drafted into the All Blacks squad as injury cover last year and has been a regular starter for the Crusaders in a variety of positions over the past two seasons.

His form for Canterbury in recent rounds of the national provincial championship appear to have won him the nod and he is likely to be named on the reserve bench for the test.

Cruden is set to make his first test start in the test on September 11, replacing Daniel Carter, who is recuperating from ankle surgery.

Henry has stayed true to the core of his team who are unbeaten this year, including five-from-five Tri-Nations wins to seal that competition a month before its completion.

Australia have won one from four Tri-Nations tests and face South Africa in Bloemfontein this weekend before returning home for the finale.

The All Blacks gather in Auckland on Sunday and cross the Tasman that day.

All Blacks squad:

Forwards: John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Brad Thorn, Victor Vito, Samuel Whitelock and Tony Woodcock.

Backs: Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Josevata Rokocoko, Colin Slade, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley and Piri Weepu.

- NZPA

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