Crusaders Tamaiti Williams and Dallas McLeod have topped off their stellar ’23 DHL Super Rugby Pacific campaign with All Blacks selection.
They join 8 other current Crusaders in the 36-man group, announced on Sunday 18 June by Dame Patsy Reddy, together with All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster.
They are: Fletcher Newell, Will Jordan, Codie Taylor, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Richie Mo'unga, Braydon Ennor
Williams and McLeod are two of six uncapped players to be named in the squad.
Crusader #249 Tamaiti Williams has played 37 games in the red and black since his debut against the Blues in Round 9 of the ’21 Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. Impressive versatility and form at both sides of the front row, coupled with injuries to several starters for the Crusaders, meant the ’23 season has been his breakout year, starting in 14 of his 15 appearances.
Crusader #242 Dallas McLeod has impressed for years for the Crusaders, coming to the fore in the ’23 season in both the centre and on the wing. He’s started in 18 of his 29 appearances for the franchise and scored 15 points. Dangerous at speed with ball in hand, McLeod has been breaking defensive lines all season.
Williams and McLeod join four other uncapped players who join the All Blacks squad – Cam Roigard, Emoni Narawa, Samipeni Finau, and Shaun Stevenson.
Ian Foster, All Blacks Head Coach, said the new group had impressed throughout the DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.
“This is a very special day for them and their families, who I’m sure will be extremely prpoud of their acheivements,” Foster said.
“We have a new group of exciting players who will be keen to make a difference in the All Black jersey.”
The upcoming Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship would be “vital preparation” for the Rugby World Cup later in the year.
“We are very excited about the group we have selected,” Foster said.
“The Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship...is a key opportunity to get our game ready so we can enter the World Cup with confidence.”