Uncapped trio named in All Blacks training squad
Uncapped trio Richard Buckman, Tom Franklin and Atu Moli will report for a New Zealand training camp ahead of the Rugby Championship this week.
Steve Hansen will run the rule over Highlanders utility back Buckman and lock Franklin, as well as Chiefs prop Moli as the All Blacks head coach prepares to name his Rugby Championship squad next Monday.
Defending champions New Zealand begin their 2017 campaign against Australia in Sydney on August 19.
Buckman will get the chance to catch the eye ahead of his team-mate Malakai Fekitoa, who recently agreed to join Toulon at the end of this year.
Hansen revealed that Damian McKenzie, linked with a move to Leicester Tigers, will be looked at as a potential half-back option.
Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai was also included, two years after winning his only cap for the world champions.
Hansen said it made sense to look at some new faces, particularly with the Crusaders contingent in South Africa for the Super Rugby final against the Lions this weekend.
"Rather than waste the opportunity we've seized it with both hands and brought people in that we want to find a little more about, other people that we think aren't far from getting in the squad," he said.
New Zealand training squad for two-day camp:
Hookers: Dane Coles and Nathan Harris.
Props: Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Locks: Dominic Bird, Tom Franklin, Brodie Retallick and Patrick Tuipulotu.
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Akira Ioane, Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea and Liam Squire.
Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith.
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie and Lima Sopoaga.
Midfielders: Richard Buckman, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai and Sonny Bill Williams.
Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea and Ben Smith.