Rugby Championship

Whitelock, Kaino set to return

2014-09-16 07:29
Jerome Kaino (Getty)

Wellington - Four injured All Blacks headed by Jerome Kaino and Sam Whitelock are set to return for their last two Rugby Championship matches away to Argentina and South Africa.

Liam Messam and Ryan Crotty also came out of the infirmary to be in the 30-man squad named on Tuesday, while there is one newcomer in hooker Nathan Harris.

With Ma'a Nonu out for the rest of the year, after breaking an arm in the 14-10 win over South Africa last weekend, Malakai Fekitoa is likely to start at inside centre against Argentina.

Crotty, who coach Steve Hansen had indicated was the likely first choice to replace Nonu, is still recovering from a cheek fracture and will not join the squad until the Springboks Test on October 4.

Fekitoa has limited experience in the No12 jersey, but Hansen has ruled out starting Ben Smith in the role even though he covered for Nonu last weekend.

The squad contains only three specialist locks - Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Jeremy Thrush - with the injured Patrick Tuipolutu and Dominic Bird to return to the game by first playing provincial rugby in New Zealand.

Harris gets his chance to play his first All Blacks Test with incumbent starting hooker Dane Coles to return home after the Argentina Test for the birth of his child.

If the All Blacks beat Argentina it will give them the Championship title for the third successive year.

All Blacks squad


Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read

Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith

The All Blacks play Argentina in La Plata on September 27 and South Africa in Johannesburg on October 4.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  jerome kaino  |  sam whitelock  |  rugby

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