All Blacks missing stars for Bledisloe III

Thu, 26/08/2021, 05:16 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
All Blacks secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year with a dominant display at Eden Park in Bledisloe Two

All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock is amongst a host of stars set to stay in NZ miss the third Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies.

Whitelock will remain in NZ as he awaits the birth of his child, with hooker Codie Taylor the leading contender to take on the role.

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He is joined in the maternity ward by first-choice halves Richie Mo'unga and Aaron Smith, who won't travel to Australia on Thursday for their own imminent baby arrivals.

This leaves the returning Beauden Barrett as the lone flyhalf in the squad, expected to step up into the starting side in Mo'unga's absence.

His Super Rugby teammate Finlay Christie has been added to their 35-man squad after a strong showing for the Trans-Tasman champions.

Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho has also been retained after he was a late call-up in the first Test due to an injury to Dane Coles, who will stay in New Zealand as he undergoes treatment.

However, Ian Foster has been boosted by the re-call of Joe Moody (foot) and Ofa Tu’ungafasi (knee), with the pair likely pushing for a return later in the Rugby Championship.

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"We'll be playing ten Tests in 12 weeks in both the southern and northern hemispheres, and with Covid-19 travel and quarantine restrictions, this will be a tour like no other for us in the professional era," Foster said in a statement.

"We can't wait to get underway and once again represent our country on the world stage." 

ALL BLACKS SQUAD FOR BLEDISLOE III AND THE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

Forwards

Hookers: Asafo Aumua, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Codie Taylor.

Props: George Bower, Ethan de Groot, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Angus Ta’avao, Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi.

Locks: Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu and Tupou Vaa’i.

Loose forwards: Ethan Blackadder, Akira Ioane, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea and Hoskins Sotutu.

Backs

Halfbacks: Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara and Brad Weber.

First five–eighths/flyhalf: Beauden Barrett.

Midfielders:Braydon Ennor, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown and Quinn Tupaea.

Outside backs:Jordie Barrett, George Bridge, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie and Sevu Reece.

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