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New Zealand

ABs duo 'highly unlikely' to play

19th August 2014 09:33


Ma a Nonu and Jerome Kaino All blacks training 2014

Nonu and Kaino: Battling shoulder and elbow injuries respectively

All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu and flanker Jerome Kaino are "highly unlikely" to face the Wallabies in Auckland on Saturday.

That was the word from All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster who said Nonu (shoulder) and Kaino (elbow) had scans on Monday, and while the scans were not to be released to the media yet, they were both set to miss the Bledisloe Cup Test.

"They didn't do any training today," said Foster.

Malakai Fekitoa or Ryan Crotty are set to replace Nonu while Liam Messam is likely to beat out Steven Luatua for Kaino's position on the blindside flank.

Foster also revealed that an Conrad Smith - who will start at outside centre - is excited after the recent birth of his son.

"He's a very happy man," added Foster.

"It's obviously been a special time for him. Whilst he hated leaving his team it was the right thing to do and it's been fantastic that he was with Lee-Ann for the birth.

"He's come back and he's jumping out of his skin. He was going through and learning everything today so he'll be ready to go."

Foster expects Crotty or Fekitoa to slot in smoothly into whichever midfield role is required of them.

"We won't change the way we play," he said.

"We have players preparing well, both Malakai and Ryan are preparing well at No12 and at No13, they know the job description. They've got both the mindset and skill set to deliver that.

"It's going to be a challenge for any player but we have confidence in both of them."

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