(Adds detail, quotes)
Aug 5 (Reuters) - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has named
uncapped prop Charlie Faumuina in a 28-man squad for this
month's inaugural Rugby Championship against South Africa,
Australia and Argentina.
The 25-year-old Faumuina missed the test series against
Ireland in June through injury but was singled out for praise by
Hansen for his patience and determination.
"He had to wait a while to get over his calf injury before
he could be selected officially by the All Blacks so it will be
exciting for him and his family," said the coach.
"He's an outstanding front rower and we look forward to
seeing him play at the next level."
Hansen said the world champion All Blacks would need to
improve in the Rugby Championship despite bullying Ireland in a
3-0 series whitewash.
"We are all looking forward to the new championship and the
various challenges that it will bring," he said. "But we also
know we will need to step up from where we were in the recent
"We now have the opportunity to take our game to the next
level. The three best teams in the world will be playing each
other and with Argentina joining in for the first time it's
going to be hugely exciting."
Outside back Cory Jane, who missed the Ireland series with
an ankle injury, returns and loose forward Liam Messam has also
A replacement for the injured Conrad Smith will be confirmed
next week with 17-test All Black Sonny Bill Williams the likely
The competition starts on Aug. 18.
Backs: Israel Dagg, Hosea Gear, Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Julian
Savea, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Tamati Ellison, Aaron Cruden,
Daniel Carter, Piri Weepu, Aaron Smith.
Forwards: Kieran Read, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (captain),
Liam Messam, Adam Thomson, Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano,
Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina*,
Wyatt Crockett, Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu.
* denotes uncapped player
(Writing by Alastair Himmer; editing by Tony Jimenez)