New Zealand make changes ahead of tour


Jeff Wilson and Christian Cullen have been omitted from John Mitchell's first New Zealand squad.

The 30-man party for the tour to Ireland, Scotland and Argentina includes 10 new caps as Mitchell, appointed as All Blacks head coach last month, maintained his promise to ring the changes.

Hooker Anton Oliver retains the captaincy but Mitchell has plumped largely for players who impressed during the recent National Provincial Championship.

Waikato half-back David Hill and wing Roger Randle, Otago lock Simon Maling and Canterbury trio Brad Thorn - a recent convert from rugby league - and brothers Nathan and Aaron Mauger are all included for the first time.

Scott Robertson wins a recall to number eight after a year out of favour and will be joined by the powerful Paul Miller.

New Zealand squad for tour to Ireland, Scotland and Argentina:

Backs:L MacDonald (Canterbury), B Blair (Canterbury), J Lomu (Wellington), D Howlett (Auckland), C Ralph (Canterbury), R Randle (Waikato), T Umaga (Wellington), N Mauger (Canterbury), A Mauger (Canterbury), P Alatini (Otago), A Mehrtens (Canterbury), D Hill (Waikato), B Kelleher (Otago), J Marshall (Canterbury).

Forwards:S Robertson (Canterbury), P Miller (Otago), M Holah (Waikato), R McCaw (Canterbury), R Thorne (Canterbury), J Collins (Wellington), N Maxwell (Canterbury), C Jack (Canterbury), S Maling (Otago), B Thorn (Canterbury), G Somerville (Canterbury), K Meeuws (Otago), G Feek (Canterbury), D Hewett (Canterbury), A Oliver (Otago, captain), T Willis (Otago).