Turbos trio in All Blacks
A trio of Manawatu Turbos have been named in the first All Blacks squad of 2018. Aaron Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ngani Laumape were all named by coach Steve Hansen on Sunday. The 32-man squad, captained by Sam Whitelock, will play three tests against France in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin in June.
Smith, 29, has been a regular in the black jersey since 2012. The Feilding High School and Feilding Yellows product has played 71 tests for the All Blacks and is on track to become the side’s most capped halfback later this year – Justin Marshall currently holds that honour with 81 tests.
Milner-Skudder wasted no time proving his form for the Hurricanes after recovering from his shoulder injury he picked up while playing for the All Blacks last year. The outside back, who is a former Queen Elizabeth College student and part of the Varsity rugby club, made his All Blacks debut in 2015 when he lit up the Rugby World Cup.
He won the World Rugby breakout player of the year that season, but has juggled a series of injuries since. The 27-year-old has scored 11 tries in 11 tests.
Laumape cracked the All Blacks for the first time during the British and Irish Lions tour in 2017. The 25-year-old has four tests to his name and picked up a try during his first start for the All Blacks in the third test against the Lions in 2017. Laumape is a product of Palmerston North Boys’ High School and the Kia Toa club.
- Age: 29
- School: Feilding High School
- Club: Feilding Yellows
- Manawatu debut: August 2, 2008 v Canterbury at Christchurch
- Manawatu games: 43
- All Blacks debut: June 9, 2012 v Ireland at Auckland
- All Blacks tests: 71
- All Black points: 67
- Age: 25
- School: Palmerston North Boys’ High School
- Club: Kia Toa
- Manawatu debut: August 19, 2016 v Northland at Whangarei
- Manawatu games: 12
- All Blacks debut: July 1, 2017 v British and Irish Lions at Wellington
- All Blacks tests: 4
- All Blacks points: 5
- Age: 27
- School: Queen Elizabeth College
- Club: Varsity
- Manawatu debut: July 16, 2011 v Hawke’s Bay at Palmerston North
- Manawatu games: 37
- All Blacks debut: August 8, 2015 v New Zealand at Sydney
- All Blacks points: 55