Rugby: Ardie Savea in doubt for All Blacks' Aussie Tri-Nations bid

  • 20/10/2020

The All Blacks may miss the services of No.8 Ardie Savea and prop Nepo Laulala for the third Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney next week.

The pair are going on paternity leave and won't cross the Tasman with the squad on Sunday - they're expected to join their teammates in the "following week or two".

The All Blacks face Australia on October 31 at ANZ Stadium, then at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on November 7.

If the two are unable to join the squad in Sydney - where the trans-Tasman COVID-19 bubble exists - they'd be questionable for the Brisbane test, where they'd be forced to quarantine, as well as the first match against Argentina in Sydney on November 14.

Queensland is not part of the trans-Tasman bubble agreement.

Prop Joe Moody is still undergoing HIA (head injury assessment) protocols and is also questionable for the Sydney test.

Crusaders prop George Bower and Hurricanes flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi have been added to the travelling 36-man squad as cover.

Over the past two seasons, 23-year-old Kirifi has been a stand-out for both Wellington and the Hurricanes, while Wellington-native Bower can cover at both tight and loosehead prop.

The squad also features the inclusion of lock Mitchell Dunshea, and midfielders Ngani Laumape and Peter Umaga-Jensen, who have already assembled with the team.

Meanwhile, three players have been released to play Mitre 10 Cup rugby this weekend. 

Dunshea and loose forward Cullen Grace will be available for Canterbury's game against Bay of Plenty in Tauranga, with loose forward Akira Ioane available for Auckland's match against North Harbour in Auckland.

All Blacks squad


Hookers: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles and Codie Taylor.
Props: George Bower, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Karl Tu'inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi.
Locks: Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'i and Samuel Whitelock.
Loose Forwards: Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea and Hoskins Sotutu.


Halfbacks: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith and Brad Weber.
First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.
Midfielders: Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown and Peter Umaga-Jensen.
Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie and Sevu Reece

Join us on October 31 for live updates of the third All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test