Carter returns for All Blacks

A rejuvenated Dan Carter is one of three additions to New Zealand's squad for the Rugby Championship.

Carter, who took an extended break at the end of last season, was recalled along with Charles Piutau and Sam Cane who missed the June tour by England because of injury.

It is expected Carter will immediately resume his customary flyhalf duties ahead of Aaron Cruden, although he has been used at inside centre since his return to the Crusaders side.

Piutau's inclusion in the 31-man squad will strengthen the All Blacks' already powerful back-three options where he will contest the wing and fullback positions with Cory Jane, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith and Julian Savea.

Like Carter, he also has experience in the midfield where the All Blacks frontline starters are the veterans Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu along with rising star Malakai Fekitoa.

Cane gets the nod as back up for openside flanker and captain Richie McCaw after recovering from a fractured knee sustained in early June.

The All Blacks squad is dominated by the best and worst of the New Zealand Super Rugby franchises with eight players from the Crusaders, who play the Waratahs in Saturday's final, and eight from the Blues who finished last in the New Zealand conference. There are seven from the Hurricanes, five from the Chiefs and three from the Highlanders.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards – Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Keven Mealamu (Blues), Tony Woodcock (Blues), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Dominic Bird (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders, capttain), Kieran Read (Crusaders), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Steven Luatua (Blues).

Backs: Aaron Smith (Highlanders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), Dan Carter (Crusaders), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Ma'a Nonu (Blues), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), Israel Dagg (Crusaders), Ben Smith (Highlanders), Julian Savea (Hurricanes), Cory Jane (Hurricanes), Charles Piutau (Blues).

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt