Wellington - New Zealand suffered a trio of injury blows on Tuesday with
confirmation that lock Luke Romano will miss the rest of the Rugby
Championship, while flyhalves Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett are out
of Saturday's Test against Australia.
All three players suffered
their injuries during the 47-29 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney
last weekend and while Romano's adductor tear is the most serious
injury, Cruden's might hit the All Blacks the hardest.
starting in place of the injured Dan Carter, put in a man of the match
performance in Sydney before leaving the pitch with what scans revealed
was cruciate ligament damage to his right knee, which will sideline him
for two to six weeks.
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Barrett came off the bench to replace Cruden
but ended up straining a calf, although he should be fit for New
Zealand's third match of the championship against Argentina in Hamilton
on September 7.
The uncapped Tom Taylor and 10-Test back Colin Slade were added to the squad on Monday and will vie for the number 10 jersey.
would be the sentimental choice, once New Zealand's second-choice
flyhalf after Carter but having suffered a raft of injuries since he was
sidelined during the 2011 World Cup.
Hansen was cagey about who would be handed the coveted playmaker's role, however.
"You'll have to wait till Thursday for that," he told New Zealand media on Tuesday, referring to the team's announcement.
"They've fitted in lovely ... It was pretty seamless," he said of his backup flyhalves.
got a lot to take in but Tuesdays for us are always about clarity,
anyway ... It's more practising the things that we want to put in place
so we can have a really high intensity training run on Thursday
The absence of the 15-cap lock Romano will be no small
loss for the team either as they look to defend the title they won with
six wins out of six last year.
Loose forwards Luke Whitelock and
Brad Shields were called into the squad as cover for him and injured
flank Liam Messam on Monday.
"It's obviously hugely
disappointing for Luke but he is a strong character and is already
planning his rehab with our medical staff," Hansen said.
hopefully will have Beauden ready to prepare for the Argentina Test,
while Aaron will start his knee rehabilitation later this week, which
will give us a better indication of when he will be back playing."
for the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday would extend their hold on
the Bledisloe Cup - the trophy contested every season between Australia
and New Zealand - to an 11th year.