The All Blacks have called uncapped halfback Augustine Pulu into their squad for the third Bledisloe Cup Test.
Uncapped Counties Manukau halfback Augustine Pulu has been called into the All Blacks squad for the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane.
Pulu, 24, is the third halfback in the 31-man squad to prepare to face the Wallabies in Brisbane on October 18.
He replaces Chiefs teammate Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who suffered a serious knee injury soon after coming off the reserves bench in the 27-25 loss to South Africa at Johannesburg two weeks ago.
Hansen says Pulu has done enough at Super Rugby and NPC level to show he is next in the pecking order behind squad members Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.
“The selectors have been watching Augustine for a while, he is an exciting young player and we think the next obvious choice at halfback.”
The other notable feature of a predictable squad is the return of five-eighth Aaron Cruden, who was dropped from the Rugby Championship Tests away to the Pumas and Springboks after missing the team flight following a late night out.
Cruden’s cause was helped by the ongoing injury problems for veteran playmaker Dan Carter, whose sore shin has kept him sidelined.
Ben Smith isn’t named, with Hansen previously indicating the classy outside back is in need of a rest.
The All Blacks squad assembles in Brisbane on Monday.
All Blacks squad: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Augustine Pulu, Kieran Read, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Steven Luatua, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jeremy Thrush, Wyatt Crockett, Joe Moody, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Nathan Harris.