Wellington - The All Blacks on Friday drafted promising scrumhalf Augustine Pulu into the squad for next week's Test against Australia to replace the injured Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
The 24-year-old received the call-up following confirmation earlier this week that Kerr-Barlow will be out for up to nine months after tearing a knee ligament in New Zealand's 27-25 loss to South Africa last Saturday.
With Ben Smith also unavailable as he takes a break ahead of the All Blacks trip to the United States and Europe next month, coach Steve Hansen needed cover in the No 9 position.
"The selectors have been watching Augustine for a while, he is an exciting young player and we think the next obvious choice at halfback," Hansen said.
"We'd like to congratulate him on his selection and we're looking forward to working with him."
Pulu, who plays his Super Rugby with the Chiefs, is likely to be third choice behind TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith for the scrumhalf role in the Test against Australia in Brisbane on October 18.
The Test is the third and final fixture of the Bledisloe Cup series, although New Zealand have already retained the trophy after drawing the first match 12-12 then smashing the Wallabies 51-20 in the second.
Meanwhile, flyhalf Aaron Cruden is also back in the squad after missing the Rugby Championship games against Argentina and South Africa.
The Chiefs playmaker missed the team's flight to South America after a drunken night out and was subsequently axed from the touring party.
New Zealand squad:
Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read
Backs: TJ Perenara, Augustine Pulu, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea