Before the 2018 Super Rugby campaign, it's hard to imagine Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi would become a household name.

The 23-year-old had shown some talent manning the No.9 jersey for Taranaki, but looked set for a limited role behind incumbent Brad Weber at the Chiefs after making the move from the Hurricanes for 2018.

But an injury to Weber during the season opened the door for Tahuriorangi is show what he can do at the Super Rugby level in extended minutes.

Chiefs Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.Photo /
Chiefs Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.Photo /

Now, he's an All Black.


The Chiefs and Taranaki halfback was one of three new faces included in the All Blacks squad for June's test series against France, alongside loose forwards Jordan Taufua (Crusaders) and Shannon Frizzel (Highlanders).

Averaging just 38 minutes per game in Super Rugby this season, Tahuriorangi's impact off the bench has been an important part of the Chiefs second-half plan with his strong ball running and smart decision making.

Shannon Frizell of the Highlanders looks on ahead of the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Stormers. Photo /
Shannon Frizell of the Highlanders looks on ahead of the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Stormers. Photo /

Tahuriorangi's is a similar situation to Frizzel's. The young loose forward has played the majority of the Super Rugby season as an impact off the bench guy for the Highlanders, though has been dynamic when given the start. A similar approach to his adopted brother and established NRL player Tyson Frizzel, the young Highlander is a strong ball runner and an exciting prospect.

His ability was on full display when the Highlanders met the Blues last month, scoring a hat-trick for the Southerners. The 24-year-old has come up through the Tasman system after joining the region in 2015, making his Mitre 10 cup debut a year later.

Jordan Taufua. Photo /
Jordan Taufua. Photo /

The Tasman link was strong in the new faces, with Jordan Taufua joining his Mitre 10 cup teammate in the black jersey. Taufua has been with the Crusaders since 2013, and has developed into a hard-running loose forward more than capable of breaking and making tackles, scoring tries and getting an offload or two away.

"It's always a very special time being selected for the All Blacks for the first time and the players and their families can be justifiably proud of all the hard work they have done to reach this point," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

"It was a really tough squad to select, more so because there are some very talented players who have missed out, but I'm sure they will get their opportunity in the black jersey in the near future."

Owen Franks and Nehe Milner-Skudder, who both missed the back half of last year's All Blacks season through injury, have returned to the squad - which will be captained by Sam Whitelock.


Kieran Read, Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Patrick Tuipulotu and Israel Dagg were all unavailable through injury.

All Blacks
Props: Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Tim Perry

Hookers: Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris

Locks: Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett

Loose forwards: Sam Cane (vc), Liam Squire, Jordan Taufua, Ardie Savea, Luke Whitelock, Vaea Fifita, Shannon Frizzel

Halfbacks: Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi


First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga

Midfielders: Sonny Bill Williams, Ngani Laumape, Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith (vc), Waisake Naholo, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder

Injury cover: Akira Ioane, Liam Coltman