Counties Manukau halfback Augustine Pulu has been called into the All Blacks squad for the Brisbane Test against Australia. 24-year-old Pulu comes in as injury replacement for his Chiefs teammate halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow who suffered a serious knee injury in the Test against the Springboks in Johannesburg on the weekend. All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said, “The selectors have been watching Augustine for awhile, he is an exciting young player and we think the next obvious choice at halfback. We would like to congratulate him on his selection and we are looking forward to working with him.”
Born in Auckland on 4 January 1990, Augustine Pulu is a powerful and energetic player who is a constant threat, with the ability to challenge consistently and create space for others. An old boy of Auckland’s Wesley College and member of the Karaka rugby club, Pulu, who stands 1.80 metres and weighs 89 kilograms, has been in outstanding form for his Counties Manukau team this year. He made his provincial debut in 2010 and last year, as Player of the Season for his province, was instrumental in helping Counties Manukau team lift the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in the Union’s history.
He made his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs in 2012. Ben Smith, as announced earlier, will take a break after carrying a heavy workload this year and reassemble with the All Blacks for the end of year tour. The All Blacks squad assembles in Brisbane next Monday to prepare for the Test against Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 18 October.
The squad to travel to Brisbane is as follows:
Hookers: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris and Keven Mealamu.
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks and Joe Moody.
Locks: Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Patrick Tuipulotu and Sam Whitelock.
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam and Kieran Read.
Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Augustine Pulu and Aaron Smith.
First five-eighths: Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade.
Midfielders: Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith and Malakai Fekitoa.
Outside backs: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau and Julian Savea.