June 13, 2022
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Sowakula named in All Blacks squad

Fiji-born and Chiefs loose forward Pita Gus Sowakula has been named in the All Blacks 36-man squad for next month's Steinlager Series against Ireland.
 
The 27-year-old Namatakula native from Nadroga is one of the six debutants.
 
Rugby League convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Aidan Ross, Folau Fakatava, Blues star Stephen Perofeta and Crusaders outside back Leicester Fainga’anuku are the other newcomers.
 
Sowakula, a former Fiji baskeball international and Fiji 7s extended squad member moved to New Zealand in 2017 and made his debut for the Taranaki provincial team in 2017 at the age of 22.
 
He spent a season at the Mitre 10 Cup side, before earning a short-term place in the Chiefs 2018 Super Rugby squad.

Sowakula was signed as an injury cover for Dominic Bird, Mitchell Brown and Fin Hoeata.

Other players with links to Fiji in the squad are winger Sevu Reece, prop George Bower and Number 8 Hoskins Sotutu.
 
Meanwhile, All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said he and selectors Grant Fox and John Plumtree had "extreme difficulty" selecting the squad.
 
Foster noted the squad also featured the return of some key players from lengthy injuries with the likes of Sam Cane as captain and Jack Goodhue.
 
Some players not considered for selection due to injuries are Joe Moody, Anton Lienert-Brown, and Ethan Blackadder while Patrick Tuipulotu and Damian McKenzie were unavailable for selection.
 
All Blacks squad for July Test Series vs Ireland
 
Props: Aidan Ross, George Bower, Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tuungafasi, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao.
 
Hookers: Codie Taylor, Dane Coles, Samisoni Taukei’aho.
 
Locks: Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Josh Lord, Tupou Vaa'i.
 
Loose Forwards: Ardie Savea, Sam Cane [c], Akira Ioane, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Pita Gus Sowakula.
 
Halfbacks: Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava, Finlay Christie.
 
First-fives: Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo’unga, Stephen Perofeta.
 
Midfielders: Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Havili.
 
Outside Backs: Sevu Reece, Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Caleb Clarke, Leicester Fainga'anuku.
 
By Romeka Romena  


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