Head coach Ian Foster has confirmed that scrum-half TJ Perenara will train with the All Blacks this week as they prepare to face Scotland in the Autumn Nations Series.
Perenara started for the All Blacks XV side as they thrashed Ireland ‘A’ 47-19 in Dublin on Friday.
It means that Brad Weber, who was on the bench against Wales and played the final 14 minutes, drops down to the second string outfit for their game with the Barbarians.
Always the plan
“We’re bringing TJ over to us to replace Brad – there was a predetermined plan to give both a couple of weeks with us (in the All Blacks squad),” Foster told reporters.
Perenara has earned 78 caps for the national team but has been out in the cold over recent times,
He has not played Test rugby since last November, with Finlay Christie the preferred back-up to Aaron Smith during the Rugby Championship.
The 30-year-old is joined in the squad by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Braydon Ennor, who also featured for the All Blacks XV on Friday, while Leicester Fainga’anuku has moved from the first team down to the second string.
“It was a different game probably to what we expected,” Foster said regarding the clash with Ireland ‘A’.
“We expected a lot tougher, more defence-oriented game up there but it turned into quite an open game so we had to judge everyone’s performances based on that. It was good for them to get a hit-out.
“(Tuivasa-Sheck and Ennor) came back yesterday morning. They’ve returned, they’ll be with us now. So we’re just utilising that programme as a chance to, like I said at the time we released them, get another game in the midfield.
“They now come back with us and Leicester obviously missed the Japan game so it’s a chance for him to go and get some rugby this week then he’ll come back and join us.”
New Zealand face Scotland on Sunday and it takes place at the same time as the All Blacks XV’s encounter with the Barbarians.
The All Blacks then complete their season at Twickenham a week later as they go head-to-head with England on November 19.