Henry sticks with experience, Hoeata only new cap
All Blacks coach Graham Henry signalled his intentions to stick with the tried and trusted for his World...
All Blacks coach Graham Henry signalled his intentions to stick with the tried and trusted for his World Cup squad after he named an expanded 34-man Tri-Nations squad with just one new cap in Otago Highlanders lock Jarrad Hoeata Sunday.
Much of the squad, which will be captained by Richie McCaw, was dominated by players who have formed the nucleus of Henry's side since the 2007 World Cup with Ali Williams also brought back after two years out with repeat Achilles' tendon injuries.
Flyhalf Colin Slade was also included in the squad as a backup to Daniel Carter despite barely playing at all during the Super rugby season after he broke his jaw twice.
The 27-year-old Hoeata, who has played for New Zealand Maori, impressed in Super rugby with his explosive intensity in contact and the tackle, aerial ability and work around the field.
"He has gone down there (to the Highlanders) and been abrasive and been effective in the lineout and at scrum time and that's what you want from your locks," assistant coach Steve Hansen told Sky Sport's Rugby Channel. "You want them to have a presence around the park."
Hoeata, who can also play blindside flanker, had been named as a specialist lock in the squad, but his versatility to play both positions could allow the All Blacks to take a specialist openside flanker into the World Cup as backup to Richie McCaw, Hansen said.
Henry was forced to name an extra four players -- utility back Ben Smith, regular wingers Sitiveni Sivivatu and Cory Jane and prop Wyatt Crockett as injury cover in the squad for Hosea Gear, Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava and Tony Woodcock.
The All Blacks coach, however, said that all of injured players were expected to play during the Tri-Nations, with the All Blacks playing Fiji on July 22 before they meet the Springboks in Wellington on July 30.
Auckland Blues lock Anthony Boric was not considered because of a foot injury and could still force his way back into World Cup contention if he recovers in time.
All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith said despite Slade's lack of playing time, he had been included because he had improved his off-field strategic thinking and contribution to the team's leadership group.
"He has an all around game that we like (but) ... at the Highlanders we wanted Colin to be in the leadership group working on strategy and being able to contribute off the field," Smith said.
"He obviously didn't get on the field that often but the feedback we have got from the Highlanders was impressive and we have seen a lot of things we wanted to see from him without actually playing.
"But like everyone else he has been given the opportunity and he needs to produce on the field and to play well."