Messam out of Wallabies clash
Wellington - Blindside flank Liam Messam on Thursday withdrew from the All Blacks team to face Australia this weekend due to a hamstring strain, forcing coach Steve Hansen to draft in inexperienced Steven Luatua.
Messam pulled up sore at training, preventing him from featuring in the Rugby Championship opener against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.
"Liam Messam has been ruled out of Bledisloe Test after hamstring strain at training. Replaced in starting XV by Steven Luatua," the All Blacks' official Twitter feed said.
Luatua, 22, was not in Hansen's 23-man squad to travel to Sydney and has only one Test cap, in the final match of the three-game series against France in June .
He is likely to face a torrid time against a Wallabies outfit fired-up by the appointment of new coach Ewen McKenzie and determined to end a decade of All Black dominance in trans-Tasman rugby.
15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper,
12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben
Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rod
Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper
16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Scott Fardy, 20 Liam
Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Tevita Kuridrani
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a
Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw
(captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks,
2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 even Mealamu, 17 Ben
Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera
Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty