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New Zealand

All Blacks lose injured trio

20th August 2013 06:33

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Aaron Cruden All Blacks fly half 2013

Knee knock: Aaron Cruden

Luke Romano is out of the rest of the Rugby Championship, whilst Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett will both miss Saturday's match.

Romano is to miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a groin injury in Sydney on Saturday, while first five-eighths Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett will also miss this weekend's return Test in Wellington.

Romano has torn his right adductor tendon and is not expected to be available until the November Internationals, while Cruden has injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and could be out for two to six weeks.

Barrett has a minor calf strain and should be available for the Argentina Test in Hamilton on 7 September.

"It's obviously hugely disappointing for Luke but he is a strong character and is already planning his rehab with our medical staff," said All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen.

"We hopefully will have Beauden ready to prepare for the Argentina Test, while Aaron will start his knee rehabilitation later this week, which will give us a better indication of when he will be back playing."

Hansen confirmed that Highlanders fly-half Colin Slade and Crusaders back Tom Taylor had been called into the squad ahead of the Bledisloe rematch with the Wallabies in Wellington, with both players competing for the fly-half spot.

"It's an exciting time for the replacement players Tom Taylor and Colin Slade and it's also a challenge now for the rest of the team to make their entry into the side as seamless as possible," added Hansen.

"Luckily Tom Taylor's been to a couple of camps, Colin's been in 10 Tests and been to a World Cup so both of them are reasonably comfortable, the game plan is not that too difficult.

"They've got to do their job, we've got to trust them and everyone else has just got to do theirs and do it really, really well.

"Bit of adversity doesn't hurt anybody, we had some last week and people stood up and were counted and that's the expectation this week.

"When we sit back and reflect, here's two athletes who weren't in our environment being bought in and will be exposed to it, and somewhere along the line I'm sure we'll get the reward for that."

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