The All Blacks team has been named to play Tonga in the historic opening match of the Steinlager Series at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, on Saturday 3 July.
Four uncapped All Blacks have been named in the matchday 23.
Quinn Tupaea will start at second five-eighth, with prop George Bower, loose forward Ethan Blackadder and halfback Finlay Christie set to make their Test debuts from the bench.
New All Blacks
Born: 10 May 1999
Position: Midfield back
Height, weight: 186cm, 97kg
Quinn Tupaea announced his arrival on the provincial scene for Waikato in 2018 after starring at Hamilton Boys’ High School and as New Zealand Schools captain. A powerful runner and skilful with ball in hand, he started in 11 of his 12 appearances that season and was named Waikato Emerging Player of the Year. He took his outstanding form in his debut season with the Chiefs in 2020 and was named Chiefs Rookie of the Year. The club has signed him through to 2023. Tupaea also played for the Māori All Blacks against Moana Pasifika last year.
Born: 28 May 1992
Height, weight: 183cm, 115kg
Born in Lower Hutt, prop George Bower can cover both tighthead and loosehead and began his rugby playing for the Avalon club and worked his way through the ranks, playing for the Wellington Under 20 team in 2011 before moving to Dunedin to train as a teacher. He played for Otago B and one game for the top team in 2014 as an injury replacement but it wasn’t until 2018 that he managed to get more regular games. Things moved quickly for the hard-working prop and he was then signed by the Crusaders, helping the team to two Super titles. He was first called into the All Blacks as injury cover in 2020.
Born: 22 March 1995
Position: Loose forward
Height, weight: 190cm, 111kg
The son of former All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder, Ethan hails from North Canterbury originally but attended Nelson College. Blackadder was called into the Tasman provincial team in 2016 after a stellar club season. He became a regular starter for Tasman in 2017 as they made their way to the Premiership Final and in 2019, Blackadder helped the side secure its first provincial title. With the ability to play both lock and in the loose forwards, the versatile player made his Crusaders debut in 2018 and has 20 appearances for the Super side.
Born: 19 September 1994
Height, weight: 177cm, 82kg
Born in Scotland, Christie moved to New Zealand aged seven and attended St Kentigern’s College in Auckland before heading to Canterbury to study. He made his provincial debut for Tasman in 2016 and his eye-catching form saw him offered a Chiefs contract in 2017. He played one season for the Chiefs before becoming a key player in Tasman’s run to the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final in 2017. He played for the Hurricanes in 2018-2019 and then moved home to the Blues for the 2020 season. Christie is also a former New Zealand gymnastics representative.
The 2021 Steinlager Series
All Blacks vs Tonga, Saturday 3 July, plus Māori All Blacks vs Manu Samoa Mt Smart Stadium, AUCKLAND
All Blacks vs Fiji, Saturday 10 July, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN
All Blacks vs Fiji, Saturday 17 July, plus Tonga vs Samoa MG Stadium Waikato, HAMILTON
The Starting Lineups
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