The All Blacks could be forced to turn to Jordie Barrett to solve their midfield injury crisis, according to defence coach Scott McLeod.
With Jack Goodhue (knee) and Anton Lienert-Brown (elbow) already missing for the All Blacks' tests against Fiji and Tonga, Ian Foster's side have been hit further by the loss of Braydon Ennor, who has been forced to undergo emergency surgery to remove his appendix.
Those absences, coupled with the departure of Ngani Laumape to French club Stade Francais, leave the All Blacks with only three specialist midfielders in their squad for the July tests - David Havili, Rieko Ioane and the uncapped Quinn Tupaea.
Despite the loss of Ennor, the All Blacks haven't called any replacement into their ranks in the lead up to facing Tonga on July 3 at Mt Smart Stadium.
"In terms of bringing somebody in, I think it's just within the squad at the moment," McLeod says.
"There's been no indication of anyone coming in, so we'll just work within the team and see how we go."
But, should the worst-case scenario play out, then the All Blacks could be forced to turn to the youngest Barrett brother, who's versatility has already seen him deployed at fullback, wing and first-five at test level.
"There's a number of options that can be played in the midfield," McLeod says.
"He [Barrett] played a lot of his junior rugby there, under-20s. He's talked about being an option there as well.
"If we get thin, that's something we could look at."
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