New Zealand have named Piri Weepu in their squad that will travel to Argentina and South Africa in their Rugby Championship run-in.
New Zealand have named veteran Piri Weepu in their squad that will travel to Argentina and South Africa in their away leg of the Rugby Championship.
The key feature of the most recent squad is a late injury to scrum-half TJ Perenara, which has resulted in Weepu's call-up as a replacement.
Fly-half Tom Taylor has been confirmed as the injury replacement for Dan Carter, while All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who is recovering from a knee injury, will also travel with the squad.
“TJ has suffered a stress fracture in his lower left leg and is expected to be out of rugby for at least six weeks and, therefore, will miss the rest of The Rugby Championship. It's obviously a huge disappointment for him and us because, even though he hasn't had any game time yet for the All Blacks, he has been developing well within the squad,” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
“We have selected Piri as a replacement for two reasons: one, given the environments we are going into, it would be unfair to bring in a novice halfback; and secondly, we have also seen advances in his game in the areas we asked him to improve in.
“With Richie, we believe that the best chance of having him available to play against South Africa is by having him travel with the squad and getting 'hands-on' treatment from the All Blacks medical staff.”
A decision on whether or not McCaw is available to play against South Africa will be made later in the week in Argentina. If he's not available, then Matt Todd will join the squad in South Africa.
The All Blacks depart Auckland for Argentina on Saturday 21 September, and play Argentina at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, on Saturday 28 September and South Africa the following weekend at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, on Saturday 5 October.
New Zealand squad:
Hookers: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu
Props: Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock
Locks: Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Samuel Whitelock
Loose forwards: Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read
Half-backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu
Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Tom Taylor
Centres: Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith
Outside backs: Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.