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Fekitoa, Tuipulotu among 5 new faces in All Blacks squad to prepare for England tests

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu have been included among five uncapped players in an extended All Blacks training squad to prepare for a three-test series against England in June.

Hookers Liam Coltman of the Highlanders and Nathan Harris of the Chiefs and Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara are the other uncapped members of the 36-man squad which will be trimmed to 31 players after training camps in Christchurch from Sunday and Wellington from May 25.

Flanker Jerome Kaino, who returned to New Zealand rugby this year after spending two seasons in Japan, has quickly been recalled along with fellow backrower Victor Vito, who had recently fallen out of favour with the All Blacks selectors.

The 22-year-old Fekitoa and 21-year-old Tuipulotu have been stars of the current Super Rugby season.

Fekitoa joined the Dunedin-based Highlanders this year after being rejected by the Auckland-based Blues and has shone as a powerful and elusive ball-runner.

Tuipulotu, a star of the New Zealand under-20 team, is a strong lineout forward and physical ball-carrier.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said the two training camps would be an important part of the All Blacks' preparation for next month's England series.

"With players coming from five different Super Rugby teams, it's important that we get aligned on our game plans and skillsets," Hansen said. "The challenge the English bring means we will need to be at our very best as quickly as possible."

Kaino was a key member of the All Blacks team that won the 2011 Rugby World Cup, playing more minutes at the tournament than any other player. He left for Japan immediately after the Cup but rejoined the Blues this season and declared his determination to win back his All Blacks No. 6 jersey.

The selection of two young hookers marks the continuation of the selectors' hunt for long-term successors to veterans Andrew Hore, who retired at the end of last season, and Keven Mealamu, who may be nearing the end of his international career.

Colin Slade, who has been in outstanding form at flyhalf for the Crusaders, has been selected along with regulars Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett who will contest the No. 10 jersey for the tests against England. Star flyhalf Dan Carter has been on sabbatical and is unavailable for the mid-year tests.

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All Blacks squad: Hookers: Keven Mealamu, Nathan Harris, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman. Props: Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks. Locks: Patrick Tuipulotu, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock. Loose forwards: Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Whitelock. Scrumhalves: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith. Flyhalves: Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade. Midfielders: Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa. Outside backs: Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith.

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